ABSTRACTHigher Education system faces unique challenges in India, Europe and USA. This paper examines the higher education systems in these countries. Higher education system in India has many issues of concern at present like quality of higher education together with the assessment of institutions and their accreditation, financing and management including access, equity and relevance. Europe developed the modern university system that was to be emulated throughout the world. USA developed its higher learning system borrowing successfully from European model. Currently higher education system in USA is delivering better than European higher education system.KeywordsAssessment, Equity, Higher education system, Relevance, Quality. HIGHER EDUCATION IN INDIAThe higher education system in India has developed in a significant way mainly in the post-independence period. Now it has become one of the largest system of its type in the world. The Institutions have been classified in following 3 broad categories-(1) University and University Level Institutions i.e. the Institutions which are empowered to award degree under some Act of Parliament or State Legislature.(2) Colleges/Institutions which are not empowered to provide degree in its own name and therefore are affiliated/recognized with Universities.(3) Stand-alone Institutions (not affiliated with Universities) which are not empowered to provide degree and therefore run Diploma Level Programmes.a. Technical such as Polytechnicsb. Post Graduate Diploma in Management recognized by AICTEc. Teacher Training such as District Institute of Education and Training recognized by National Council for Teacher Educationd. Nursing Institutes recognized by Indian Nursing Council/State Nursing Council ande. Institutes directly under the control of various Central Ministries. (AISHE, 2017) Table 1: Higher Education Institutions in IndiaCategory NumberUniversities 864Colleges 40026Stand Alone Institutions 11669 (AISHE, 2017)There are 864 Universities, 40026 Colleges and 11669 Stand Alone Institutions in India. Out of 864 universities, 488 are general, 114 are technical, 67 are agriculture & Allied, 52 are medical, 19 are law, 13 are Sanskrit and 9 Language Universities and rest 63 Universities are other Categories. The top 8 States in terms of highest number of colleges in India are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. Bangalore district tops in terms of number of colleges with 1025 colleges followed by Jaipur with 635 colleges. Top 50 districts have about 33.5% of Colleges. College density, i.e. the number of colleges per lakh eligible population (population in the age-group 18-23 years) varies from 7 in Bihar to 59 in Telangana as compared to All India average of 28 (AISHE, 2017).20.1% of the Colleges are having enrolment less than 100 and only 4.1% colleges have enrolment more than 3000. Total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 35.7 million with 19.0 million boys and 16.7 million girls. Girls constitute 46.8% of the total enrolment. Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher education in India is 25.2%, which is calculated for 18-23 years of age group. GER for male population is 26.0% and for females, it is 24.5%. For Scheduled Castes, it is 21.1% and for Scheduled Tribes, it is 15.4% as compared to the national GER of 25.2%. Distance enrolment constitutes about 11.45% of the total enrolment in higher education, of which 46.9% are female students. About 79.4% of the students are enrolled in Undergraduate level programme. 1,41,037 students are enrolled in Ph.D. that is less than 0.4% of the total student enrolment (AISHE, 2017).Maximum numbers of Students are enrolled in B.A. programme followed by B.Sc. and B.Com. programmes. Only 10 Programmes out of approximately 191 cover 84% of the total students enrolled in higher education. At Undergraduate level the highest number (38%) of students is enrolled in Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences courses followed by Science (16.7%), Engineering and Technology (14.7%) and Commerce (14.1%). At Ph.D. level, maximum number of students is enrolled in Science stream followed by Engineering and Technology. On the other hand at Post Graduate level maximum students are enrolled in Social Science stream and Management comes at number two. Uttar Pradesh comes at number one with the highest student enrolment followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Scheduled Casts students constitute 14.2% and Scheduled Tribes students 5.1% of the total enrolment. 34.4% students belong to Other Backward Classes. 4.9% students belong to Muslim Minority and 2.2% from other Minority Community. The total number of foreign students enrolled in higher education is 47,575. The foreign students come from 162 different countries from across the globe. The top 10 countries constitute 62% of the total foreign students enrolled (AISHE, 2017).At Ph.D. level, maximum numbers of students out-turn is in Science stream followed by Social Science. On the other hand at PG level maximum students out-turn is observed in Social Science and Management stream comes at number two. The share of Ph.D. student is highest in State Public University (33.6%) followed by Institute of National Importance (21%), Central University (14.3%) and Deemed University-Private (13.4%). Share of female students is lowest in Institution of National Importance followed by State Private Open Universities, Deemed University- Government (AISHE, 2017).The higher education system has many issues of concern at present, like • Financing and management including access• Equity and relevance• Reorientation of programmes by laying emphasis on health consciousness• Values and ethics• Quality of higher education together with the assessment of institutions and their accreditation.Resolving above issues is important for the country, as it is now engaged in the use of higher education as a powerful tool to build a knowledge-based information society of the 21st Century (Nigavekar, 2003).HIGHER EDUCATION IN EUROPEEurope invented the modern university as a higher learning institution and learning community. In European tradition, the universities essentially were set up to educate societies’ elite. The oldest European university, Bologna University, was established in 1088. Ancient European philosophers and thinkers based their intellectual inquiry on what nowadays can be described as analytical reasoning and empirical study. Later on, in the subsequent centuries of the European university tradition, the unified approach of theoretical and empirical studies inherited from the ancient world underwent a split into pure theoretical and empirically based inquires. For example, a philosophy that to ancient thinkers had empirical and practical aspects evolved into a purely theoretical inquiry. The split, caused in the past solely by the fact that empirical studies did not advance at the same pace as their theoretical counterparts, due to the state of development of scientific inquiry and lack of adequate experimental apparatus, continues by tradition to present day and is reflected in current academic curricula (Gapinski, 2010).England invented the concept of the residential university, where scholars living in a small community were to pursue higher learning. Oxford and Cambridge Universities are examples of such communities. Germany created the research university. In the German tradition subject area rather than development of the student, as in the English model, received higher focus (Heyman, 1999).The European medieval tradition promoted model of a comprehensive university, which encompassed the liberal art, law, and theology. With passing centuries and especially after the renaissance, which brought empirical studies back into the forefront of intellectual inquiry among European scholars, the universities added a variety of new programs that paralleled the development of science. Addition of Medical Schools to university organizations at modern times can be viewed as example of continuation of such a process (Gapinski, 2010).Post-Industrial Revolution era brought too often over-diversification of higher learning institutions and consequently breaking away from the model of a comprehensive university. In short, Europe developed the modern university system that was to be emulated throughout the world (Gapinski, 2010).Current status and problems facing European universities- Post-Industrial Revolution, and especially Post-World War II, the concept of the comprehensive university was somewhat lost in the over-diversification and creation of institutions of various and often narrow programmatic scopes, resulting in “awkward structural and functional muddle (Heyman, 1999). As a consequence at present there is a myriad of overspecialized higher learning institutions, very often with areas such as law, medicine, and engineering or polytechnics run as independent organizations of higher learning. All the successes of European higher learning systems prior to World War II were overshadowed by post-war troubles in education systems. Financial dependence on state, as the only source of income, imposed significant limitations to universities decision making, which affected almost all tenets of university existence varying in scope from hiring and promotion policies to academic programs content and expenditures. As result, the bureaucratic and state control of curricular and organizational matters contributed to competitive decline of European university systems and erosion of public trust in academia (Heyman, 1999; The Economist, 2005).The tradition of providing free university education to students bears partial responsibility for the under-funding of higher learning institutions. In Germany, for example, the open access to all universities for anybody with secondary degree has been constitutionally guaranteed (Heyman, 1999). The tuition free or almost free university education was a norm across continent, not an exception. Overcrowding and consequently underfunding of higher learning institutions with baby boom generation flooding the universities resulted in decreased quality of higher education. As the result of these factors Europe surrendered its lead in higher education to the United Sates that is manifested by the positions of European universities in Shanghai Jiao Tong University’ rating list of best universities worldwide (www.arwu.org). The rating takes the series of objective criteria such as the number of Nobel prizes and articles published in prestigious journals. HIGHER EDUCATION IN USAAmerica developed its higher learning system borrowing successfully from European model. Although the developments of higher education systems in America and Europe were intertwined from the time America appeared on a map, the historical traditions were quite different. In Europe, with the creation of universities in medieval times, the education system was set up to essentially educate society’s elites. The American system, on the other hand, but much later, introduced democratization of access to education on broader scale, especially with its 19th Century Land Grant College Act (Gapinski, 2010).Current status and problems facing USA universities- Currently, more than sixty percent (60%) of American high school graduates enter post secondary education, much higher than in Europe (The Economist, 2005). Non-traditional students do much better than their counterparts in Europe: the majority of undergraduates are female, one third come from racial minorities, about twenty percent (20 %) come from families with income below the poverty level. These facts dispel arguments used by Europe, that the tuition fees would effectively allow only the society well off families to educate their offspring.This is not to say that education to most come without a financial hardship. Half of student population does work half-time and eighty percent (80%) of students work to help support themselves (The Economist, 2005). The money factor to great extend encourage students to be more responsible for their own academic success.The diversification of universities funding with tuition fees, state appropriation whenever applicable, grants, private benefactors propel American universities to the highest expenditure per student with about $22,000 for year 2001 (The Economist, 2005). Furthermore America spends twice as much of its GDP on higher education than Europe does (Heyman, 1999).The higher education system is well diversified with community colleges at the bottom of the pyramid, colleges and state universities, and research universities at the top. There is a plethora of public and private institutions for students to choose from. A student can start at community college and to graduate from research-oriented university. In Europe such transferability and mobility would be almost impossible to achieve. American Universities compete for almost everything: talented professors, administrators, students, and of course grants. Thus, a competition in almost all facets of academic life of the university and funding sets American universities apart from the rest of the world. In the cited Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University rating, there are 35 American universities in the list of top 50 universities world-wide.But there are looming dark clouds over the educational horizon of American higher education. Dramatic rise of costs in the form of university tuition fees, well above inflation rates, caused by decrease in public funding may jeopardize university access for ordinary citizens. Between 1971-72 and 2002-03, annual tuition costs (in 2002 dollars) rose from $840 to $1,735 at public two year colleges and from $7,966 to $18,273 at private four-year colleges (The Economist, 2005).Emphasis on research puts undergraduate education at peril of not adequate attention. In America there is 3,200 higher-education institutions, of which only about 100 research universities, thus, maybe the critique that the academics pay too much attention to research over teaching is overplayed in a broader perspective.American universities and colleges were capable of attracting millions of young people from around the world. The U.S. has the biggest share of twenty percent (22%) of the international student market according to London based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE). In 2006 nearly 565,000 foreign students came to US shore seeking American university diploma (The Economist, 2007). In 2008 the number grew to record 671,616 (Fisher, 2009). Thus, despite higher tuition costs in US, foreign students see a better investment of their dollars here and are flocking American universities.In globalization of world market, it seems that USA universities could have done a better job addressing bilingual education. While in Europe it is almost common for high school graduate to be fluent in one if not two foreign languages, American students are only very rarely prepared to communicate effectively in foreign language. American universities are making attempts to correct this shortcoming by setting semester abroad programs and collaborate with counterparts in Europe via educational consortia.CONCLUSIONThe purpose of the paper was to compare higher learning systems in India, Europe and USA. Higher education system in India lacks in quality education, financial constraints While the higher learning system in USA borrowed concepts from proven European model of the modern university at the beginning, the American system introduced with time some vitally important factors, such as diversity of the system with regard to academic offerings, financial diversification, and a very limited role of government, which propelled American universities, especially after World War II, to the top of international ratings.REFERENCES• All India Survey on Higher Education. (2017). Govt. of India. Ministry of Human resource Development.• Gapinski A. and Rudnicka E. (1993). “Eastern Europe: Recent Changes in Education, Science, and Technology. International and Internal Aspects.” Proceedings of ASEE NE Annual Conference. Pittsburgh. PA. April 1-3. 1993. P.3A-26/30.• Gapinski, A. J. (2010). Higher Education: Europe vs. USA. 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