Higher education in India has undergone sea changes and rapid expansion over the last six decades. This sector has seen the rise of diverse set of institutions both in the public and the private space. Obviously, the increase in the number of institutions is in keeping with the stated objectives of improving access and equal opportunities to a large young population. Given that higher education plays a very important role towards the construction of knowledge society, teaching, research and related functions are fundamental to social and economic activities. In an increasingly competitive and global era higher education institutions are today facing enormous amount of challenges.
While it is true that higher education institutions are in general complex enterprises, in case of India it is even more challenging given its scale, size and complexities. The management of these higher education institutions are quite extraordinary. This requires deep understanding, knowledge, skills and experience in leading and managing institutions. Broadly, the management of institutions focuses on a range of issues where professional expertise is desirable. To build capacities of existing higher education leaders and administrators and to draw fresh talent into the management of higher education systems, it is proposed to administer training programs for Higher Education (HE) leaders through a leadership academy, the HELA (Higher Education Leadership Academy).
Leadership development programmes will be the major activity and main focus of the HELA. However, we believe that supplementing leadership development with activities such as research on topical issues in HE, research-based policy advocacy and promotion of networking among HE leaders and actors can generate a more decisive and holistic impact on the advancement of leadership of HE institutions, as well as on the quality and performance of HE institutions and the overall advancement of HE in India. Therefore, in addition to offering leadership development programmes, the HELA will also carry out activities such as research on HE, research-based advocacy and promotion of networking among HE actors and leaders.