Autonomy to HEIs – is it enough?

Last week I read a news item that said the PMO was asking the MHRD to give ‘autonomy’ to 20 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the country. This they hope will help the HEIs become ‘world class’. It is a very bold and forward looking decision. With most international rankings questioning the stature of our HEIs, such progressive thought is important.


One look at the entrepreneurship literature, especially corporate entrepreneurship literature suggests that ‘autonomy’ is but one among a bunch of factors that can help trigger entrepreneurial tendencies. A simple case in point in ‘corporate entrepreneurship’ within established organisations. While ‘autonomy’ is one of the factors there are others too – such as access to work discretion, rewards, organisation boundaries, and organisation climate.

Above all these an institution that wants to turn entrepreneurial requires individuals with ‘an entrepreneurial mindset’ that will allow them to take risks, bold decisions, handle exceptions, and practice ambidexterity.

Do we have entrepreneurial leaders in higher education who can do it? I think that is a big question. How do we find them? How do we empower them? Else it will be just another few thousand crores spent, not invested.

Hope our policy makers think on this!!

2 thoughts on “Autonomy to HEIs – is it enough?

  1. True but I am Happy something is happening, if entrepreneurship is focused in the same way, things will fall in place who knows we might have special ministry looking after start-up in future…….

    1. I am happy that our Government is taking steps in the right direction. My suggestion, which comes from academic research, is that policy makers should look at strategic actions in a more holistic manner. Number of factors when taken together create an entrepreneurial climate within an organisation. Addressing one factor in isolation will not create effectiveness. Hence my post was more to ensure that the initiative succeeds – which requires a more concerted action. I hope it happens. I will only be too happy!

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