Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to address India's education crisis - I

You should read my previous two posts from emails in my mailbox here (1) and here (2) . If you read my replies, you will notice how little I could offer in solutions.

In his mail S says, "I wanted BITS very badly, and so we are trying to get admission through management quota". Now, S worked very hard and actually scored decently, but BITS changed its admission criteria: it now requires 80% in some other board examination.

If you think that is irrational, surely you must read about cut-off percentage of 100% for admission to a college which has no international standing of any kind! This insanity has made even crooks and liars to cry foul and allowed a clue-less minister to jump in and make matters worse by hob-nobbing in education sector more than he already does.

Really, how sad is it that we can not have as many colleges and universities as we like! And all Congress-promoted student body does is to add various road blocks to entry of foreign universities in India. Clearly, this is because the student bodies will be irrelevant and passe' in those international schools. This is despite UK and Canada ready to provide better quality education institutions. Others, such as MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech have expressed desire to start operating in India.

However, the entrenched powers in education sector (unions, babu's weary to loose their power-hold over others) do not want them to come at the cost of damage to our young students. The arguments made range from scare-crows as "given rise to chances of adoption of various unfair practices, besides commercialisation" and "adverse impacts on the national character of Indian education" to blatantly pedantic ideological, such as "these possibilities are attractive to the upper crust of the middle class who have reached positions of power from colonial times through education in prestigious foreign universities." The other "apprehension" generally shared by the intelligentsia is about the possible misuse of liberalisation by 'fly-by-night operators' who could be looking for a quick return on their investment. Now, how ridiculous is that! So many Birlas and Pais have fooled so many Indians to the tunes of billions just to provide mediocre education, where were these argumentative folks then?

There are other simple ways to allay these problems, but powers-to-be would rather divert attention and keep status-quo, while they send their own kids abroad.

We do not have good schools for undergraduates, we do not have enough of even mediocre ones. If you think IITs are world best, please note their international rankings (my alma-matter, IISc, is top-ranked Indian university at a lowly 300+).

We need more schools, better schools and NOW...

4 comments:

Akash... said...

Isn't the article more on the lines on "Few ways to address India's education crisis"? (I read the article carefully, and noted a few like "liberalization" and "allowing entry of international universities" but there were no "detailed" solutions provided).

I sort of came expecting a cut-throat analysis of the situation! :)

myopic astronomer said...

Needs time, Akash. I will write my next posts with some solutions. Remember the college/ univ proposal I spoke about? :-)

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