Saturday, September 19, 2009

More on Quality of Higher Education in India and Pakistan

A recent Chowk.com article titled "Indian Technical Recession", written by an IIT Alumnus Mr. Sharad Chandra, asks the following basic question about the quality of engineering education in India:

"So why Indian engineering education system is not capable of producing quality engineers for the country?"

Then the author goes on to answer his own question as follows:

"One of the primary answers lies in the fact that Indian education is totally focused on academic excellence. A student is never asked to analyze, understand, and deliver an engineering project. Very often faculty also has no engineering experience. Professors may have an excellent academic background going themselves through graduation, post graduation and PhD but with a minimal exposure to industrial applications. In short, they prepare their students also for an excellent academic career expecting him to learn hard core engineering on the job but very often producing bankers.

In all there is about 3 months spent in training during graduation. It is taken more as a break from courses as no industry will give any serious project for such a short period. Student spends his time as an observer rather than as a responsible engineer. There is nothing like putting a trainer on a real job under the supervision of an experienced engineer. By the time, he has finished 6months to a year working on a real project, as any European student does, he will have something to his credit to show to a future employer."



A few top-tier Indian schools, such as the elite Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), are often compared with world-class schools, but the American investors and businesses have finally learned the hard way that there is huge gap between the few tier one schools and the large number of tier two and three schools in India, and the quality of education most Indians receive at tier 2 and 3 schools is far below the norm considered acceptable in America and the developed world.

In 2005, the McKinsey Global Institute conducted a study of the emerging global labor market and concluded that a sample of twenty-eight low wage nations, including China, India and Pakistan, had about 33 million young professional in engineering, finance and accounting at their disposal, compared with only 15 million in a sample of eight higher wage nations including the US, UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada, Ireland and South Korea. But "only a fraction of potential job candidates could successfully work at a foreign company," the study found, pointing to many explanations, but mainly poor quality of education.

Some India watchers such as Fareed Zakaria, an Indian-American who often acts as a cheerleader for India in the US, have expressed doubts about the quality of education at the Indian Institutes of Technology. In his book "The Post-American World", Zakaria argues that "many of the IITs are decidedly second-rate, with mediocre equipment, indifferent teachers, and unimaginative classwork." Zakaria says the key strength of the IIT graduates is the fact that they must pass "one of the world's most ruthlessly competitive entrance exams. Three hundred thousand people take it, five thousand are admitted--an acceptance rate of 1.7% (compared with 9 to 10 percent for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton)."

As a student of Karachi's NED University of Engineering and Technology in 1970s, I had similar assessment of my alma mater (and other UETs) in Pakistan as Zakaria's characterization of the IITs in India. NED Engineering College in 1970s was "decidedly second-rate, with mediocre equipment, indifferent teachers, and unimaginative classwork". However, given the fairly strict merit-based admission process, I found myself mostly surrounded by some of the best, most competitive students who had graduated with flying colors from Karachi's intermediate colleges and ranked very high on the Board of Education examination to make it into NED College. It was indeed the creme de la creme of Karachi's youth who have later proved themselves by many accomplishment s in various industries, including some of the leading-edge high-tech companies in America. Even in the 1970s, there were a small number of students admitted on non-merit-based special quotas. NED University today, however, appears to have significantly expanded such special, non-merit-based, quotas for entrance into the institution, an action that has probably affected its elite status, its rankings and the perceived quality of its graduates, while other, newer institutions of higher learning have surpassed it. Some of the special categories now include sons and daughters of employees, children of faculty and professional engineers and architects, special nominees from various ministries and an expanded quota for candidates from rural areas and the military.

Looking at the top 500 universities in the world, one can see a few universities from China, Japan, Singapore and India and a few more from Muslim nations such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The notable institutions from South Asia include several campuses of the Indian Institutes of Technology and Pakistan's National University of Science and Technology (NUST), University of Lahore, Karachi University and Lahore's University of Engineering and Technology. The top Pakistani school on this list is National University of Science and Technology (NUST) at #376, followed by University of Lahore, University of Karachi, and UET Lahore. Many new universities are now being built in several Muslim nations in Asia and the Middle East, and they are attracting top talent from around the world. For example, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), scheduled to open on Sept. 23, is the country's attempt to create a world-class research university from scratch. It's hiring top scholars from all over the world. "Our goal is to kick-start an innovation-based economy," says Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter, the university's vice-president for economic development. "We need a couple of success stories, and we think this will lead to one (collaboration with IBM Research)."

According to Businessweek, KAUST agreed to buy an IBM supercomputer, which is an essential tool in the research projects that IBM and the Saudis are targeting for their first collaboration. Among other things, the two teams will collaborate on a study of the nearby Red Sea, which they believe will help improve oil and mineral exploration. "[The supercomputer] is a magnet for smart people, and it makes it possible for us to solve big problems," says Majid F. Al-Ghaslan, KAUST's interim chief information officer.

An MIT survey of human resource professionals at multinational corporations in India revealed that only one quarter of engineering graduates with a suitable degree could be employed irrespective of demand (Farrell et al., 2005). Another survey of employers shows that only a handful of the 1400 engineering schools in India are recognized as providing world-class education with graduates worthy of consideration for employment (Globalization of Engineering Services, 2006). These results suggest that engineering degrees from most Indian colleges do not provide signaling value in the engineering labor market. Hence, low quality (in the labor market sense) engineering schooling has come to predominate in the education market. The current situation, with an abundance of low quality engineering schooling, is considered problematic by many in the Indian polity and it could stifle growth of the Indian economy (Globalization of Engineering Services, 2006).

For the first time in the nation's history, President Musharraf's education adviser Dr. Ata ur Rahman succeeded in getting tremendous focus and major funding increases for higher education in Pakistan. According to Sciencewatch, which tracks trends and performance in basic research, citations of Pakistani publications are rising sharply in multiple fields, including computer science, engineering, mathematics, material science and plant and animal sciences. Over two dozen Pakistani scientists are actively working on the Large Hadron Collider; the grandest experiment in the history of Physics. Pakistan now ranks among the top outsourcing destinations, based on its growing talent pool of college graduates. As evident from the overall results, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of universities and highly-educated faculty and university graduates in Pakistan. There have also been some instances of abuse of incentives, opportunities and resources provided to the academics in good faith. The quality of some of the institutions of higher learning can also be enhanced significantly, with some revisions in the incentive systems.

Admission meritocracy, faculty competence and inspirational leadership in education are important, but there is no real substitute for higher spending on higher education to achieve better results. In fact, it should be seen as an investment in the future of the people rather than just another expense.

Of the top ten universities in the world published by Times of London, six are in the United States. The US continues to lead the world in scientific and technological research and development. Looking at the industries of the future such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, green technologies, the US continues to enjoy a huge lead over Europe and Asia. The reason for US supremacy in higher education is partly explained by how much it spends on it. A 2006 report from the London-based Center for European Reform, "The Future of European Universities" points out that the United States invests 2.6 percent of its GDP in higher education, compared with 1.2 percent in Europe and 1.1 percent in Japan.

Post Script: More than 160,000 Indian students are currently studying in schools in the U.S., Australia, Britain and other industrialized nations. Writing for the Time Magazine, Nandini Laxman claims that over 100,000 pack up and head to study abroad every year, spending $7 billion on tuition and housing. Most of them never return, taking both their tuition money and their talent overseas. In a recent development, India's new Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, has talked about opening up the Indian higher education market to foreign universities to set up campuses in India. If done properly, this new government initiative could provide a big boost to quality of higher education in India.

Pakistan also represents a sizable market for higher education consisting of students interested in studying at foreign universities, but it would be difficult to attract foreign universities to Pakistan because of the current security situation. Every year 10,000 foreign student visas are granted in Pakistan, including many for British universities, according to a report in Spiked. But up to 20 times as many applicants are rejected, mainly because of exaggerated concerns about security. Between 2004 and 2008, about 42,000 Pakistani students were admitted to the UK.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Spiked-Online.com

NEDUET Admissions Prospectus 2009-10

Global Shortage of Quality Labor

Nature Magazine Editorial on Pakistan's Higher Education Reform

India Invites Foreign Colleges to Set Up Indian Campuses

McKinsey Global Institute Report

Pakistan Ranks Among Top Outsourcing Destinations

Pakistan Software Houses Association

World's Top Universities Rankings

Improving Higher Education in Pakistan

Globalization of Engineering Services 2006

Center for European Reform

Reforming Higher Education in Pakistan

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Riaz

Quality is relative to the market. That is the reason that apple suffers but windows survives.

It is the question of value for money something like 20% giving 80% value and then it stops.

Further quality is a relative figure. Relative to what is being compared across.

Top universities are in usa but who is studying certainly not local as they have dropped out into drug and sex happy to do some menial jobs.

It is the expats all over the whole who are studying there.

If the quality of engineers are that so bad, why the hell all the english companies are flocking to open their centers in india.

To some extent i agree on the quality of engineers churned out by colleges owned by politicians but the attitude to work hard and excel to survive pushes even an average guy upward is my experience in the software industry

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a NY Times story on how China is luring top Chinese-American scientists from US:

BEIJING — Scientists in the United States were not overly surprised in 2008 when the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland awarded a $10 million research grant to a Princeton University molecular biologist, Shi Yigong.

Dr. Shi’s cell studies had already opened a new line of research into cancer treatment. At Princeton, his laboratory occupied an entire floor and had a $2 million annual budget.
----------------------------“He was one of our stars,” Robert H. Austin, a Princeton physics professor, said by telephone. “I thought it was completely crazy.”

China’s leaders do not. Determined to reverse the drain of top talent that accompanied its opening to the outside world over the past three decades, they are using their now ample financial resources — and a dollop of national pride — to entice scientists and scholars home.

The West, and the United States in particular, remain more attractive places for many Chinese scholars to study and do research. But the return of Dr. Shi and some other high-profile scientists is a sign that China is succeeding more quickly than many experts expected at narrowing the gap that separates it from technologically advanced nations.

China’s spending on research and development has steadily increased for a decade and now amounts to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product. The United States devotes 2.7 percent of its G.D.P. to research and development, but China’s share is far higher than that of most other developing countries.
-------------
Quantity is not quality, and despite its huge investment, China still struggles in many areas of science and technology. No Chinese-born scientist has ever been awarded a Nobel Prize for research conducted in mainland China, although several have received one for work done in the West. While climbing, China ranked only 10th in the number of patents granted in the United States in 2008.

Chinese students continue to leave in droves. Nearly 180,000 left in 2008, almost 25 percent more than in 2007, as more families were able to pay overseas tuition. For every four students who left in the past decade, only one returned, Chinese government statistics show. Those who obtained science or engineering doctorates from American universities were among the least likely to return.

Recently, though, China has begun to exert a reverse pull. In the past three years, renowned scientists like Dr. Shi have begun to trickle back. And they are returning with a mission: to shake up China’s scientific culture of cronyism and mediocrity, often cited as its biggest impediment to scientific achievement.

They are lured by their patriotism, their desire to serve as catalysts for change and their belief that the Chinese government will back them.

“I felt I owed China something,” said Dr. Shi, 42, who is described by Tsinghua students as caring and intensely driven. “In the United States, everything is more or less set up. Whatever I do here, the impact is probably tenfold, or a hundredfold.”

He and others like him left the United States with fewer regrets than some Americans might assume. While he was courted by a clutch of top American universities and rose swiftly through Princeton’s academic ranks, Dr. Shi said he believed many Asians confronted a glass ceiling in the United States.
....................

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story about the security situation affecting foreign universities plans in Pakistan:

New Delhi — Nine foreign universities that had agreed to set up engineering schools in Pakistan — with their own faculties and administrators — have now decided not to do so because they are leery of the worsening security situation and political uncertainty in the country, a daily newspaper in Pakistan reported, citing an unnamed spokesman of President Pervez Musharraf.

The foreign universities’ professors and other officials are unwilling to move to Pakistan despite very attractive remunerations offered by the Pakistan government, which plans to spend $4-billion on the nine projects with universities in Austria, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and South Korea. The foreign universities may also have changed their minds, another newspaper said, because they are finding it difficult to arrange for the many professors needed to staff the new institutions, some of which Pakistan has already begun to build.

In March Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission refuted rumors that plans to open the universities had been deferred or canceled, and said that they would start classes this year, as scheduled. “Foreign faculty has also concerns regarding the security situation in the country, but we are constantly in contact with them, they did not refuse to land in the country, and the project is on the track,” Sohail Naqvi, the commission’s executive director, was quoted as saying.

In 2002 Pakistan began an ambitious program to reform its higher-education system by setting up the commission, which has since created programs to enroll more students in Ph.D. programs in Pakistan and abroad, to hire foreign faculty members, to establish new universities throughout the country, and to collaborate with foreign partners to open engineering schools. The reforms have been controversial.

A local newspaper this month quoted an unnamed Ministry of Education official as saying that control of the commission would be handed over to the education ministry, rather than report directly to the president. —Shailaja Neelakantan

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about downgrading of 44 universities in India:

Students in India are protesting against the government's decision to strip 44 places of learning of their official university status.

The move follows a review which found the institutions were unable to provide proper educational facilities.

Nearly 200,000 students are enrolled in such establishments across India.

The government has said it will take steps to ensure the decision does not jeopardise the future of students currently studying at the universities.

Worried

The move sparked angry protests.

Students at the Savita School of Engineering in the southern city of Madras (Chennai) smashed furniture after hearing of the government decision.

Students say they are worried the order will affect their future prospects, but the authorities sought to reassure them.

"We will take care of all students who are in those 44 universities. The government's intention is to make sure not a single child will be affected," said federal Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

His ministry, which looks after education, says the decision is based on recommendations made by a special task force.

"The review committee came across several aberrations in the functioning of some of the institutions deemed to be universities," the government said in a report to the Supreme Court on Monday.

Most of the 44 universities concerned offer post-graduate and undergraduate courses.

They include three government-sponsored institutes, including the Nava Nalanda in Bihar, the National Museum Institute of the History of Art, Conservation and Museology in Delhi, and the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development in Sriperumbudur in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report about an Indian bill to open Indian education market to foreign universities:

India's government has approved a plan to allow foreign universities to set up campuses and offer degrees in India.

The proposal, which needs to be ratified by parliament, is expected to benefit thousands of Indian students who head abroad to study.

India is reforming its higher education system after concerns that it faces a shortfall of qualified graduates.

Every year thousands of English-speaking Indians head to countries such as the US and Australia to study.

Despite having top quality educational institutions, India is unable to meet the demand for a quality education, the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says.

Some analysts project that India's growing economy will face a shortfall of half a million qualified graduates over the next five years.

Federal Education Minister Kapil Sibal described the bill as "a milestone which will enhance choices, and increase competition and benchmark quality".

If parliament approves the law it could see universities such as Harvard and Oxford set up institutions in India.

It is thought leading foreign universities could be attracted by India's large number of English speakers and its burgeoning middle class.

India has allowed foreign investment in education for a number of years, but foreign institutes have not been permitted to grant degrees.

The bill had been opposed by some political parties, particularly those from the left, on the grounds that it will benefit only elite Indians with poorer students unable to afford to pay high fees.

Riaz Haq said...

The Russian Kommersant has it right when it says: "India has had little success with military equipment production, and has had problems producing Russian Su-30MKI fighter jets and T-90S tanks, English Hawk training jets and French Scorpene submarines."

And here's how blogger Vijainder Thakur sees India's loose meaning of "indigenous" Smerch and other imports:

The Russians will come here set up the plant for us and supply the critical manufacturing machinery. Indian labor and technical management will run the plant which will simply assemble the system. Critical components and the solid propellant rocket motor fuel will still come from Perm Powder Mill. However, bureaucrats in New Delhi and the nation as a whole will be happy. The Smerch system will be proudly paraded on Rajpath every republic day as an indigenous weapon system.

A decade or so down the line, Smerch will get outdated and India will negotiate a new deal with Russia for the license production of a new multiple rocket system for the Indian Army.

China will by then have developed its own follow up system besides having used the solid propellant motors to develop other weapon systems and assist its space research program.

Riaz Haq said...

In terms of education, Chinese are investing heavily and significantly increasing their rankings and numbers in world's top universities relative to the rest of the world.

Top Asian universities are University of Tokyo at 22 (down from 19 last year), followed by University of Hong Kong at 24 (up from 26), National University of Singapore at 30, and Hong Kong University of Technology at 35 (up from 39).

Outside of Hong Kong, the top Chinese university is Tsinghua at 49 (up from 56), followed by Peking University at 52 (down from 50).

There are no Indian universities in the top 100. The top Indian university is IIT Bombay at #163.

A large number of Indian students are now studying at Chinese universities.

Diplomats say that easy admission systems, affordable fees and high standards of facilities are the chief attractions for Indian students, who now number more than 6,000 all over China.

The dominant choice of Indians is medicine. Chinese language also draws many. Clearly, Indian students are enjoying it in China.

The Chinese look to the West for advanced education beyond their own borders.

http://indiaedunews.net/In-Focus/January_2008/Indian_students_flock_to_China_for_higher_studies_3236/

Riaz Haq said...

In Silicon valley recently, the US federal government has pumped in about $500 million each into two green tech startups..Solyndra pv solar and Tesla all-electric cars. Obama was here this week to promote green tech and spoke to Solyndra employees.

In addition, there is $1 billion in federal grants before offered to biotech firms under the new healthcare bill.

The reason for US supremacy is partly explained by how much of its public funds it spends on higher education. A 2006 report from the London-based Center for European Reform, "The Future of European Universities" points out that the United States invests 2.6 percent of its GDP in higher education, compared with 1.2 percent in Europe and 1.1 percent in Japan.

Riaz Haq said...

India's IT sector business is essentially driven by low-cost call centers, first-line tech support, simple repetitive code writing, and execution of pre-defined test suites. A typical Indian IT worker is increasingly being called a "cyber coolie" or sometimes a "code coolie", the former term having been coined by an astute Indian columnist Praful Bidwai back in 2003.

India has become the world’s top provider of business-process-outsourcing (BPO) call centers, with revenues nearing $50 billion a year by selling cheap back-office services. The call center revenue constitutes the bulk of India's IT exports.

Harish Trivedi of Delhi University has characterized India's call centers as "brutally exploitative" and its employees as "cyber coolies of our global age, working not on sugar plantations but on flickering screens, and lashed into submission through vigilant and punitive monitoring, each slip in accent or lapse in pretence meaning a cut in wages."

An Indian blogger Siddarth Singh says that "one cannot dispute the fact that our IT industry is at best a glorified labor provider, and our feted “IT Giants” have failed to provide even a single proprietary product which could create waves in the global IT industry (perhaps except Finacle, a banking and finance solution by Infosys, and which is used by a number of MNC banks around the globe).

Siddarth asks the question, "So, what does Indian industry actually excel at?" Then he offers the following answer: "Well, we are the leaders in the so called IT Enabled Services, or ITES. These are basically services such as BPOs, call centers, KPOs etc, which extensively use IT to provide backend and customer services to primarily overseas customers. That our ITES industry is hugely dependent on foreign clients is also not a secret anymore, with hardly any Indian company enlisting the services of such companies".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent Times of India report about Indians in Australia:

Detailed interactions with both Indian and Austrlain community, including senior officials of Victoria state and the federal government looking into the matter reveals that of the total Indian student community of 96,000 in Australia currently, an estimated 75% are pursuing vocational courses.

The Indian student enrolments in vocational education and training (VET) shot by a whopping 161% in 2006 and by 94% in 2007. In 2008, there were 52, 381 Indian students enrolled in these programmes, the highest number from any country, as per the data compiledf by the Australian Education International. Meanwhile, the growth in the number of students pursuing higher studies from India remained 5% both in 2006 and 2007. Australia has a $15 billion education export industry much of which is fuelled by Asians, many of them Indians. Students from India and China account for the largest overseas student communities here.

Among those who came here is taxi driver Mintu who hails from Ganganagar in Rajasthan and says he has done his LLB from Punjab University. ``I took up a course in Carrick institute on community welfare,'' he says, adding that both the course and the institute were ``time pass'' and only a route to apply for PR. Locals here point out that 90 per cent taxi drivers in the city are Indians. ``I earn $ 600 per week which is very good,'' Sharma says. Son of a farmer, Mintu says that there are scores of students like him, many from Hyderabad who have done their BCAs but take up courses like community welfare to get PR.

While enrolments of Indian students increased in all the states, the strongest growth was seen in Victoria and Queensland states with the most popular vocational courses being management and commerce, food hospitality and personal services and society and culture. Senior government officials here observed that these students lacked both language skills as well as their knowledge of life in cities like Melbourne and thus made them soft targets for such attacks, unlike students pursuing higher education. ``We are physically not so hefty and carry gadgets like mobiles, laptops and i-pods. Since we do not have money, we take the public transport and this was liable to be waylaid,'' Sharma explains.

Riaz Haq said...

UNDP publishes the Education Index which is measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weighting) and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio (with one-third weighting). The adult literacy rate gives an indication of the ability to read and write, while the GER gives an indication of the level of education from kindergarten to postgraduate education.

On this UNDP education index, Pakistan score 0.665 and ranks 137, ahead of India's score of 0.638 and ranking of 142nd.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's some rare praise in Newsweek for Iran's Sharif University as one of the best undergrad institutions:

Forget Harvard—one of the world's best undergraduate colleges is in Iran.

In 2003, administrators at Stanford University's Electrical Engineering Department were startled when a group of foreign students aced the notoriously difficult Ph.D. entrance exam, getting some of the highest scores ever. That the whiz kids weren't American wasn't odd; students from Asia and elsewhere excel in U.S. programs. The surprising thing, say Stanford administrators, is that the majority came from one country and one school: Sharif University of Science and Technology in Iran.

Stanford has become a favorite destination of Sharif grads. Bruce A. Wooley, a former chair of the Electrical Engineering Department, has said that's because Sharif now has one of the best undergraduate electrical-engineering programs in the world. That's no small praise given its competition: MIT, Caltech and Stanford in the United States, Tsinghua in China and Cambridge in Britain.

Sharif's reputation highlights how while Iran makes headlines for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's incendiary remarks and its nuclear showdown with the United States, Iranian students are developing an international reputation as science superstars. Stanford's administrators aren't the only ones to notice. Universities across Canada and Australia, where visa restrictions are lower, report a big boom in the Iranian recruits; Canada has seen its total number of Iranian students grow 240 percent since 1985, while Australian press reports point to a fivefold increase over the past five years, to nearly 1,500....

Riaz Haq said...

Newsweek on Iranian universities contd:

Iranian students from Sharif and other top schools, such as the University of Tehran and the Isfahan University of Technology, have also become major players in the international Science Olympics, taking home trophies in physics, mathematics, chemistry and robotics. As a testament to this newfound success, the Iranian city of Isfahan recently hosted the International Physics Olympiad—an honor no other Middle Eastern country has enjoyed. That's because none of Iran's neighbors can match the quality of its scholars.

Never far behind, Western tech companies have also started snatching them up. Silicon Valley companies from Google to Yahoo now employ hundreds of Iranian grads, as do research institutes throughout the West. Olympiad winners are especially attractive; according to the Iranian press, up to 90 percent of them now leave the country for graduate school or work abroad.

So what explains Iran's record, and that of Sharif in particular? The country suffers from many serious ills, such as chronic inflation, stagnant wages and an anemic private sector, thanks to poor economic management and a weak regulatory environment. University professors barely make ends meet—the pay is so bad some must even take second jobs as taxi drivers or petty traders. International sanctions also make life difficult, delaying the importation of scientific equipment, for example, and increasing isolation. Until recently, Iranians were banned from publishing in the journals of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the industry's key international professional association. They also face the indignity of often having their visa applications refused when they try to attend conferences in the West.

Yet Sharif and its ilk continue to thrive. Part of the explanation, says Mohammad Mansouri, a Sharif grad ('97) who's now a professor in New York, lies in the tendency of Iranian parents to push their kids into medicine or engineering as opposed to other fields, like law. Sharif also has an extremely rigorous selection process. Every year some 1.5 million Iranian high-school students take college-entrance exams. Of those, only about 10 percent make it to the prestigious state schools, with the top 1 percent generally choosing science and finding their way to top spots such as Sharif. "The selection process [gives] universities like Sharif the smartest, most motivated and hardworking students" in the country, Mansouri says.

Sharif also boasts an excellent faculty. The university was founded in 1965 by the shah, who wanted to build a topnotch science and technology institute. The school was set up under the guidance of MIT advisers, and many of the current faculty studied in the United States (during the shah's era, Iranians made up the largest group of foreign students at U.S. schools, according to the Institute of International Education). Another secret of Sharif's success is Iran's high-school system, which places a premium on science and exposes students to subjects Americans don't encounter until college. This tradition of advanced studies extends into undergraduate programs, with Mansouri and others saying they were taught subjects in college that U.S. schools provide only to grad students.

Several Sharif alumni point to one other powerful motivator. "When you live in Iran and you see all the frustrations of daily life, you dream of leaving the country, and your books and studies become a ticket to a better life," says one who asked not to be identified. "It becomes more than just studying," he says. "It becomes an obsession, where you wake up at 4 a.m. just to get in a few more hours before class."

Riaz Haq said...

Several Sharif alumni point to one other powerful motivator. "When you live in Iran and you see all the frustrations of daily life, you dream of leaving the country, and your books and studies become a ticket to a better life," says one who asked not to be identified. "It becomes more than just studying," he says. "It becomes an obsession, where you wake up at 4 a.m. just to get in a few more hours before class."

Iran's success, in other words, is also the country's tragedy: students want nothing more than to get away the moment they graduate. That's a boon for foreign universities and tech firms but a serious source of brain drain for the Islamic republic. There simply are not enough quality jobs for graduates in Iran, says Ramin Farjad Rad, another Sharif grad ('97) who's now an executive at Aquantia in Silicon Valley. What's worse, star students who stay in Iran and try to launch businesses complain that predatory government officials demand a cut of their profits or impose unnecessary obstacles. Thus many Iranians who can't make it to the West head to Dubai instead. As one Sharif grad in the Persian Gulf port city puts it, "Here, our education is properly valued. We are given freedom to succeed. In Iran, we are blocked."

Such frustrations augur ill for Iran's future. True, it's produced a startling number of top students in recent years. And the country's history is rich with achievement, featuring Avicenna (also known as Ibn Sina), the medieval world's greatest scientist; Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, the ninth-century inventor of the mathematical algorithm (the basis of computer science), and Omar Khayyam, the famed mathematician and astronomer. That's a fine legacy. But unless the Islamic republic changes directions soon, all of that history and potential could be squandered.

Riaz Haq said...

The Aug 23 & 30 issue of Newsweek has a cover story titled "The Best Country in he World is...". It ranks top 100 nations of he world based on education, health, quality of life, economy and politics.

As expected, the top nations are the industrialized OECD member nations, followed by the nations of Eastern Europe, Middle East, Latin America, North Africa and South East Asia. Bottom of the list includes South Asian and sub-Saharan African nations.

The top nation in South Asia is Sri Lanka at #66. Afghanistan and Nepal are not included in the list.

Here are the rankings for India and Pakistan:

India...Pakistan

88........86........Education

82........85.......Health

87........85.......Quality of Life

38........62.....Economic Dynamism

48........99.......Political Env.

78........89.......Overall

Pakistan is ahead of India in education and quality of life, as judged by Newsweek.

Obviously, Newsweek rankers have a bias for democracy, no mater how flawed, that puts India significantly ahead of Pakistan in political environment and helps its overall ranking. And the fact that Pakistan has been hugely demonized by the western media has also hurt its standing.

But the killers for Pakistan rankings are its corrupt and incompetent politicians and the economic ruin they have wrought over the last two years.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts from a piece by Prof William Easterly published in Foreign Policy Magazine:

"We found that there was a remarkably strong association between countries with the most advanced technology in 1500 and countries with the highest per capita income today. Europe already had steel, printed books, and oceangoing ships then, while large parts of Africa did not yet have writing or the wheel. Britain had all 24 of our sample technologies in 1500. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga had none of them. But technology also travels. North America, Australia, and New Zealand had among the world's most backward technology in 1500; today, they are among the wealthiest regions on Earth, reflecting the principle that it's the people who matter, not the places. As migration has transformed parts of the world that were nearly empty in the Middle Ages, technology has migrated with them. "

"OF COURSE, IN SOCIAL SCIENCE, no generalization is universal. The most important counterexample is China, which in 1500 had plow cultivation, printing, paper, books, firearms, the compass, iron, and steel, and yet failed to emulate Europe's Industrial Revolution in the centuries that followed. Scholars have argued that autocratic Chinese emperors killed off technological progress for domestic political reasons. For example, one Ming emperor banned long-distance oceanic exploration for fear of foreign influence threatening his power, after Chinese ships had already reached East Africa in 1422."

"This gives us a hint as to how political formation affects development: Fragmented Europe did not have any one autocrat who could kill off technological innovation, and the constant threats of living in a hostile neighborhood spurred the advancement of military technology. And because borders were relatively open around 1500, the reality that citizens could leave for more advanced places -- the forerunner of today's "brain drain" -- kept alive the spirit of innovation. "

"Most importantly, what the history of technology tells us is that the blank-slate theory is a myth. Top-down development programs simply don't work. In fact, the principal beneficiaries of Western largesse today -- African autocrats and dysfunctional regimes -- are themselves the main obstacles to development. If there's anything that "must be done" to spur future development, it's to create the conditions necessary to empower the ordinary individuals who will create new and unforeseen technologies out of old ones. There's a Thomas Edison born every minute. We just have to help them turn the lights on."

Riaz Haq said...

Can China rekindle its innovation spirit? Here's a piece on it published by OECD Observer:

The great 20th century sinologist, Joseph Needham, once drew up a list of 24 technical innovations brought from China to the West. They ranged from gunpowder and the wheelbarrow to printing, cast iron, the magnetic compass and the chain suspension bridge. By 1600 the torch of innovation had passed to the West.

Could it now be returning? In 2003 China became the third nation to put a man into space, and has busily launched satellites since. On the ground, communications companies such as Huawei and ZTE now compete head-on with the likes of Ericsson and Nokia.

Against this background, it is no wonder that China is one of the world’s largest investors in research and development. Spending on R&D has climbed by 19% per year since 1995 to reach US$30 billion in 2005, putting China sixth in world ranking. That is at current exchange rates; if these were adjusted for purchasing power parity between different countries, then China would rank third!

However, according to a new report examining Chinese innovation, some of this progress flatters to deceive: R&D spending is still low as a share of GDP per capita and far lower than the OECD average. Consider also the number of researchers in China, which while second in the world only to the US, is still very low for China compared to OECD countries, given the size of the country’s labour force. Chinese researchers may have contributed 6.5% of research articles to scientific publications in 2004, up from just 2% a decade earlier, and are second after the US in nanotechnology research publishing, for instance, but their innovation system still shoots below potential.

Safeguarding intellectual property rights is the soft belly here. China is well in line with international regulations as a signatory of TRIPS (the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), but despite clearer and tighter regulation, infringement still dogs the system. The difficulty is enforcement. This discourages domestic investors as much as investors from abroad. Worse, IPR infringement poses health and safety risks for consumers, and damages the reputation of Chinese firms. The government, as well as the Chinese Patent Office, is toughening up on IPR, though fixing the system will take time and effort.

For many historians and scientists, what makes Chinese civilisation so brilliant is that it had “another way” of doing science. According to Joseph Needham, Chinese innovators simply did not translate their knowledge into mathematics. This left them remote from ensuing scientific dialogue. Whether or not this is true, the global economy has now changed and so has China. In the end, the Chinese are set to reinforce the country’s innovative capabilities both by trying out their own approach and looking to advanced OECD countries for inspiration. If the underlying systemic shortfalls are also corrected, then China may soon be in a position not only to push to the heart of scientific discussion, but to lead the world to new frontiers of knowledge as well.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a Friday Times Op Ed by University of Wisconsin's Dr Howard Schweber who
taught students at a private university in Lahore, Pakistan and found them bright, resourceful and highly confused. He particularly singles out lack of general education and consequent lack of critical thinking skills as problems:

.... the students I met and taught reveals more mysteries. Some had serious problems with English, particularly in their writing, but most were extremely well prepared as far as language skills were concerned. It is when we look beyond language skills that puzzles begin to appear. What was most startling was the realization that these students were palpably uncomfortable with abstract concepts and what people in Education Schools call ‘critical thinking skills.’ When I raised this point to faculty and alumni, every one without exception acknowledged the problem, and pointed to the system of secondary education as the culprit. Undoubtedly the point is correct, but I think there is a deeper observation to be made here. In addition to being uncomfortable with abstract concepts, these students and their families seem to be uncomfortable with the idea of knowledge that is not justified by an immediate practical application. That discomfort extends to a reluctance to embrace basic scientific research as well as the humanities. I heard from students who wanted to study theoretical physics whose parents insisted that they become engineers; students who wanted to become historians whose parents did not see the point. The same attitudes exist in other places to be sure, but among my Pakistani students it seemed almost universal.

-------

Part of the reason for this discomfort with abstraction may have to do with a curiously limited range of background knowledge. My students – many of whom, again, had graduated from the finest schools – knew almost literally nothing of non-Pakistani history and culture. The reason is not that Pakistan is culturally isolated – far from it. At one point I found myself confronted by a room full of students who had an exhaustive knowledge of the movies that were Oscar candidates last year, but among whom the vast majority had never heard of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. In general, students had no idea – not even a wrong idea! – about the significance of the French Revolution or World War I, the history of nationalism and empires, the contents of the Book of Genesis, the Scientific Revolution or the Renaissance. Again, when I pressed students, faculty members and alumni, the answer was always the same: the fault lies with the secondary school curriculum, and particularly the fact that during General Zia ul Haq’s rule secondary school curricula were shifted to emphasize Pakistan Studies and Islam at the expense of everything else. Again, that can only be a very partial explanation. But it is worth noting that this lack of cultural literacy helps feed the culture of conspiracy theories for which Pakistan is justly famous.

But what happens once these students get to college? I saw and heard about fine courses in Shakespeare and Islamic Jurisprudence, but when it comes to the social sciences it appears that the students who learn anything about these subjects at all (that is, those who choose to take courses outside of Accounting and Finance) are fed a steady diet of snippets of readings and excerpts from trendy current theories. Many students could and were eager to could talk fluently about Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and (rather weirdly) Nazi Germany, but Locke and Rousseau, Machiavelli and Madison, Cromwell and Marx were all equally unknown territory. Undoubtedly, at this point I will be accused of Western ethnocentricism; how many American college students know the names of the first four Moghul Emperors? ....

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a quick comparison of different sectors of the economy in India and Pakistan in terms of employment and GDP contribution:

Country....Agri(emp/GDP)..Textiles..Other Mfg..Service(incl IT)

India........60%/16% ...........10%/4%.....7%/25%...........23%/55%

Pakistan......42%/20%...........12%/8%......8%/18%...........38%/54%



Assuming India's PPP GDP of $3.75 trillion (population 1.2 billion) and Pakistan's $450 billion (population 175 million), here is what I calculated in terms of per capita GDP in different sectors of the economy:

India vs. Pakistan:

Agriculture: ($833 vs. $1,225)

Textiles: ($1,242 vs. $1,714)

Non-Textile Mfg ($11,155 vs $5,785)

Services ($7,246 vs $3,654)

It shows that Indians in manufacturing and services sectors add more value and produce higher value goods and services than their Pakistani counterparts.

The income range in India is much wider from $883 to $11, 155 accounting for the much bigger rich-poor gap relative to Pakistan's range from $1225 to $5,785.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a recent Dawn report of international recognition of Pakistani woman scientist:

KARACHI: Pakistani Scholar Dr. Hina Siddiqui won the best “Oral Presentation Award” in the 11th Eurasia conference on Chemical Sciences. The international conference was held in Jordon from Oct.6 to Oct.10, 2010.



Dr. Siddiqui’s presentation was declared as one of the top three oral presentations in the conference, where a panel of experts decided upon the top three finalists. Another scholar from Peshawar also got prize in the event, where over 200 scientists delivered their presentations from 69 countries.

Eurasia Chemical Sciences conference was launched by three chemists in 1988 to foster network and knowledge sharing among the researchers of North and South.

Dr. Siddiqui is a PhD in organic chemistry and currently working as research officer at International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at Karachi University.

When she was in school, she read an inspiring interview of Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman from Hussain Ebrahim Jamal (HEJ) Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi, published in a well-known Urdu science magazine named Amali Science.

In that Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman said institutions are not made up from bricks and stones rather they are made up of people who have dreams and vision.

The sentence changed Siddiqui’s vision and she devoted herself to exploring the unknown. In 2005, she joined HEJ and started her Ph. D under supervision of Prof. Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Choudhary, during her Ph.D Studies she worked on the anti-oxidant properties of various chemical constituents, also she got UBF (Umear Basha Foundation) scholarship and went to University of Kansas for one year to excel in Organic synthesis research.

In the Eurasia conference, a shield and certificate was presented to Siddiqui and the organisers also waived the registration fee of upcoming 12 Eurasia Conference on Chemical Sciences which will be held in Greece in 2012.

Siddiqui told Dawn.com that it is not her prize but it is HEJ award because in HEJ every student gets a world class education and training to excel anywhere in the world.

Siddiqui said that HEJ is a great place to shine, because it is an equal opportunity institute where merit is the only criteria rather than gender discrimination. She urged the females to consider research as their career and vows to continue research and development in the future.

Shubham said...

Patna : Japan's Consulate General to India Noro Motoyasu said Monday that his country would provide funds for the setting up an international university in Nalanda to strengthen its cultural bond with Bihar.


"The people of Japan were keen for close cultural relation with Bihar as it was the land of Buddha and Buddhism," he said.

Japan had earlier shown eagerness to invest Rs.4.5 billion in setting up a university in Nalanda.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen will head a panel that will oversee the establishment of the international university in Nalanda and its first meeting will be held in Singapore in July.

The proposed university will be fully residential, like the ancient seat of learning at Nalanda. In the first phase of the project, seven schools with 46 foreign faculty members and over 400 Indian academics would be established.

The university will impart courses in science, philosophy and spiritualism along with other subjects. A renowned international scholar will be its chancellor.

The idea of the university was first mooted in the late 1990s but it was President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's initiative in early 2006 that gave shape to the project at the ancient site of Buddhist learning.

The excavated site of the ancient university at Nalanda is protected as a place of national importance. The university was home to over 10,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers.

Japan will also help Bihar for development of the Buddhist circuit to create facilities of international standards, including roads and hotels. During his meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Monday, Motoyasu requested him to build a four-lane highway to connect the Buddhist circuit.

He said the Buddhist circuit including Bodh Gaya, Nalanda and Rajgrih would emerge as major international tourist destination if developed and promoted properly.

Last year, the Japan Bank of International Corporation (JBIC) had agreed in principle to give a Rs.14 billion loan to the Bihar government for development of Patna, including improvement of its sewage system, water supply and setting up of solid waste management system.

Early this year, the JBIC also agreed to fund the construction of three highways under the Buddhist circuit in Bihar at a substantially low interest rate
Do you think this will ever be done ??

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excepts from scienceprogress.org analysis of US PISA results that concludes white students are doing very well relative to other OECD nations:

Policy makers are responding to reports that students in the United States on average scored lower than their peers in 16 out of 30 other wealthy industrialized nations on an international science exam, predictably arguing that the U.S. performance on the test (the Programme for International Student Assessment) indicates that U.S. students cannot compete in the international workforce. But a recent analysis from the Urban Institute previously discussed on Science Progress suggests otherwise. Talking about “competitiveness” makes it easy to gloss over inequities in the educational system connected to race and class.

News outlets are eager to frame the results as U.S. backsliding in the international economy. The Washington Post quoted former Colorado governor Roy Romer: “How are our children going to be able to compete with the children of the world? The answer is not well.” The Associated Press likewise presented the ranking in a dim light: “In math, U.S. students did even worse — posting an average score that was lower than the average in 23 of the other leading industrialized countries.”

In the Urban report, Into the Eye of the Storm, Harold Salzman and B. Lindsay Lowell acknowledge that policy makers often cite the results from PISA and TIMSS, another international exam, “supposedly showing U.S. students lagging the performance of most other countries.” But using the results to make such sweeping comparisons “stretches the PISA far beyond its appropriate or even intended use.” They go on to make several critical points about the test.

Achievement varies significantly by socioeconomic class and race

The majority of U.S. students, who are white, “actually rank near the very top on international tests.” But minority and low-income students face obstacles to such achievement because of differences in the quality of educational systems and household income. Salzman and Lowell conclude: “The test results indicate that, rather than a policy focus on average science and math scores, there is an urgent need for targeted educational improvement to serve low performing populations, such as recent immigrants and some minorities.”

The diversity of the U.S. population both contributes to economic competitiveness and lowers the average score of students on the test

They point out that the United States “has a large population and the most diverse demographics of any industrialized nation,” and that averaging across such a mixed group of students ignores the size of the population and the distribution of student performance within that population:

What does one infer from comparing the average test score in a nation of over 300 million with that of a nation of 4.5 million (Singapore) or using educational performance as an indicator of economic performance? We would expect India’s 39 percent illiteracy rate and its secondary school enrollment rate of less than 50 percent (World Bank 2007) to make it an inconsequential global power. Of course, that is not the case because rather than average performance it is the small percentage of high performers in a nation of 1 billion that is the more important indicator of its relative science and engineering strength. The use of average rates across a diverse group of nations and diverse populations is of limited use in drawing conclusions about global standing economically or educationally.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Times of India report on lagging research in India:

DHARWAD: India may not compete with other countries in the field of science and technology (S&T) if our scientists fail to make serious efforts to improve the track record in the field of scientific research and development (R&D), said VTU vice-chancellor H Maheshappa.

Inaugurating a six-day workshop on `Graph algorithms' jointly organized by the department of Computer Science, Karnatak University, and VTU here recently, he said India's track record in the field of scientific R&D has remained insignificant when compared with countries like China. This trend has to be changed if we really wish to emerge as successful competitors and carve a niche for India in the field of S&T, he said.

Pointing out the progress achieved by China in this regard, he said China is far ahead of India in the field of scientific R&D. "While the researchers from China file hundreds of patent applications everyday, India stands not even nearer to China in this respect. He said India has potential, including talented pool of teachers and researchers, state-of-the-art research institutes and financial investment by the government for the promotion of scientific R&D.

Expressing concern over the lack of teachers with research background in technical educational institutes, he said though the state has nearly 200 engineering colleges, the number of teachers with research degrees is minimal. "This scenario has to be changed. VTU has plans to tie up with universities like Karnatak University to assist engineering college teachers on understanding of basic science and research methodology," he added.

Riaz Haq said...

China poised to surpass US in research papers publication, according to The Guardian:

China could overtake the United States as the world's dominant publisher of scientific research by 2013, according to an analysis of global trends in science by the Royal Society. The report highlighted the increasing challenge to the traditional superpowers of science from the world's emerging economies and also identified emerging talent in countries not traditionally associated with a strong science base, including Iran, Tunisia and Turkey.

The Royal Society said that China was now second only to the US in terms of its share of the world's scientific research papers written in English. The UK has been pushed into third place, with Germany, Japan, France and Canada following behind.
------------
In the report, published on Monday, the Royal Society said that science around the world was in good health, with increases in funding and personnel in recent years. Between 2002 and 2007, global spending on R&D rose from $790bn to $1,145bn and the number of researchers increased from 5.7 million to 7.1 million.

"Global spend has gone up just under 45%, more or less in line with GDP," said Llewllyn Smith. "In the developing world, it's gone up over 100%." Over the same period, he added, the number of scientific publications went up by around 25%.
-----------
Projecting beyond 2011, the Royal Society said that the landscape would change "dramatically". "China has already overtaken the UK as the second leading producer of research publications, but some time before 2020 it is expected to surpass the US." It said this could happen as soon as 2013.

China's rise is the most impressive, but Brazil, India and South Korea are following fast behind and are set to surpass the output of France and Japan by the start of the next decade.
-----------
The overall spread of scientific subjects under investigation has remained the same. "We had expected to see a shift to bio from engineering and physics [but] overall, the balance has remained remarkably stable," said Llewellyn Smith. "In China, [the rise] seems to be in engineering subjects whereas, in Brazil, they're getting into bio and agriculture."

As it grows its research base, Llewellyn Smith said that China could end up leading the world in subjects such as nanotechnology. "The fact is they've poured money into nanotechnology and that's an area where they are recruiting people back from around the world with very attractive laboratories – that's my feeling."

In addition, there are new entrants to the scientific community. "Tunisia in 1999 had zero science budget – now it puts 0.7% of GDP into science," said Llewllyn Smith. "This isn't huge but it's symbolic of the fact that all countries are getting into science. Turkey is another example. Iran has the fastest-growing number of publications in the world, they're really serious about building up science."

Turkey's R&D spend increased almost six-fold between 1995 and 2007, said the Royal Society, and the number of scientists in the country has jumped by 43%. Four times as many papers with Turkish authors were published in 2008 as in 1996.

In Iran, the number of research papers rose from 736 in 1996 to 13,238 in 2008. Its government is committed to increasing R&D to 4% of GDP by 2030. In 2006, the country spent just 0.59% of its GDP on science.

Riaz Haq said...

The quality of primary and secondary education is clearly important in preparing students for higher education, and there has lately been a lot of hand wringing on about declining test scores in the US, particularly with respect to minority kids in schools.

Here are some of my thoughts on it:

1. With a PISA reading score of 500, US kids outperformed those in Germany( 497), France (496) and UK (494).

2. Based on PISA reading scores as analyzed by Steve Sailer, US Asians (score 541) are just below Shanghai students (556), US whites (525) outperform all of their peers in Europe except the Finns, and US Hispanics (466) and US Blacks (441) significantly outperform kids in dozens of countries spread across Asia, Latin America and Middle East.

For example, US Hispanics did better than Turks, Russians, Serbians, and all of Latin America.

In fact US Hispanics outperformed all BRIC nations with the exception of China.

And US Blacks did better than Bulgaria, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Jordan, Indonesia, Argentina, etc.

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/101219_pisa.htm

3. The only data available for India is 2003 TIMMS on which they ranked 46 on a list of 51 countries. Their score was 392 versus avg of 467. They performed very poorly. It was contained in a report titled "India Shining and Bharat Drowning".

I think Pakistani kids would probably also perform poorly on PISA and TIMMS if these tests administered there.

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~tzajonc/india_shining_jan27_flat.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

The Times Higher Education Supplement for 2011 ranks 6 Pakistani universities among the top 100 Asia for Life sciences and Bio medicine.

NUST ranks 60, UET-Lahore 65, Karachi University 68, University of Lahore 73, Punjab University 91 and Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad at 94.

On THES IT and Engg rankings, there are 4 Pakistani universities: NUST is 47, Univ of Karachi 91, University of Lahore 89, UET Lahore 90.

Riaz Haq said...

Dawn report on two young Pakistani girls who won Intel Science Award:

LOS ANGELES: Young Pakistani students used Nanotechnology to clean polluted water and won Third Place Grand Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the United States.

An announcement here on Saturday said that Ambreen Bibi and Mehwish Ghafoor of Islamabad won a Third Place Grand Award in the field of Environmental Sciences.
It said that they received the award and $ 1,000 for developing a treatment that utilizes nanotechnology to make polluted water drinkable.

Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff from Lafayette, California were awarded the top prize. They received $ 75,000 and the Gordon E. Moore Award for developing a potentially more effective and less expensive cancer treatment that places tin metal near a tumor before radiation therapy.

Taylor Wilson from Reno, Nevada, was named an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award winner and received $50,000. Taylor developed one of the lowest dose and highest sensitivity interrogation systems for countering nuclear terrorism.

‘We champion the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair because we believe that math and science are imperative for innovation’, said Naveed Siraj, Country Manager, Intel Pakistan.

‘This global competition features youth trying to solve the world’s most pressing challenges through science’.

This year more than 1,500 young entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists were selected to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest high school science research competition.


http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/15/pakistani-students-win-prize-in-intel-science-fair.html

http://www.societyforscience.org/document.doc?id=308

Riaz Haq said...

Ireland is looking to India and Pakistan to deal with its doctor shortage, according to Irish Times:

About 4,600 junior doctors are needed to staff our hospitals and most of them rotate jobs every six months as part of their training schemes, so they get six months’ experience in paediatrics, another six months in surgery, psychiatry and obstetrics and so on.

Of the more than 4,000 junior doctor posts in the system, about 3,650 or 80 per cent are in training posts accredited by colleges such as the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

The 1,000 non-training posts have traditionally been the ones which proved more difficult to fill – though more than half of these are now staffed by doctors on contracts of indefinite duration – but this year even training posts are proving less attractive to applicants. Eunan Friel, managing director of surgical affairs at the royal college, said that to date 219 out of a total of 255 places across the three years of its basic surgical training scheme have been filled, leaving 36 vacant.

In April it was predicted some 400 junior doctor posts could remain unfilled on July 11th but more recent estimates presented to Minister for Health James Reilly suggest that figure could be 180. There are now fears that while locums will have to be retained to staff essential services in larger hospitals, the Health Service Executive may no longer continue to fund costly agency staff to keep smaller emergency departments open.

So where lies the solution?

The HSE on the one hand says there is a worldwide shortage of junior doctors and on the other says it has found more than 420 experienced doctors during a recent trip to India and Pakistan who would be willing to come and work here if only they didn’t have to jump through so many hoops to get on the medical register.

Yet the Medical Council says only 30 of these 420 have even applied to register here yet.

It appears the HSE is hoping Dr Reilly will amend the law to make it easier for non-EU doctors to come and work here. He is considering this option but must exercise caution so as to ensure patient safety is not put at risk.

The Irish Medical Organisation is meanwhile urging the HSE to take steps to retain Irish doctors in the system rather than focusing on overseas recruitment.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from an opinion piece by Rakesh Mani published in the Wall Street Journal:

Much has been spoken and written of India’s “demographic dividend.” With almost 40% of the population – around 500 million people – under the age of 15, it is estimated that around 25% of the global workforce will be Indian by 2030. What this means is that the quality of education that young Indian children are receiving today is going to impact us all in the near future.
-------
1. Commit to spending more on education. Way back in 1968, the Kothari Commission recommended that India spend 6% of its Gross Domestic Product on education. However, in the 43 years since, India’s total educational outlays have never exceeded 4.3% of its GDP in any given year. Setting aside more funds for education is a critical first step that will demonstrate the government’s commitment to educational reform.

2. Fix primary education first. There are two major tasks here: raising enrollment to 100% in urban as well as rural areas; and then minimizing drop-outs. Both need to work in tandem to be meaningful. In Mumbai, for instance, enrollment rates are very high – above 95% — but only a fraction of these students actually finish school due to absurdly high drop-out rates. In addition, eliminating gender gaps at this early stage must be a priority. Shockingly, in some rural areas, thousands of young girls do not attend school because there are no separate toilets for them. Other girls do not attend because the walk to school – often in a neighboring village – is unsafe.

3. Yes, the answer is building more schools with better infrastructure. But even as the government and private institutions are building more schools, the quality of instruction is falling sharply. Teacher training needs a great deal of work and effort. Here, it is heartening to see the number of NGOs that are rushing to fill this gap but most of these efforts are still confined to urban areas, and especially large metropolitan cities. We need high-quality instruction to produce high-quality students capable of playing active roles in a rapidly growing country.

4. Prioritize schooling over higher education. In the early 50s, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, decided to build out India’s higher education platform to compete technologically in the Cold War era. Under his direction, institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology were expanded and the country focused on producing more engineers and scientists. But the expansion of higher education was accompanied by a neglect of school education. This continues today, with new engineering colleges mushrooming every day. Schools are often viewed as little more than a means to gain access to a solid engineering program. This remarkable trend has had far-reaching effects.
---------
Make no mistake: we are in the midst of a severe education crisis. And it is for this reason that we need to be talking about the subject more and encouraging debate. Because let us be sure that, without a significant change in mindset, education reform is a non-starter and the “demographic dividend” will just remain a fancy term confined to political journals.


http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/07/26/india-journal-can-india-reap-an-education-dividend/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a WSJ piece on the quality of the product of Indian education:

BANGALORE, India—Call-center company 24/7 Customer Pvt. Ltd. is desperate to find new recruits who can answer questions by phone and email. It wants to hire 3,000 people this year. Yet in this country of 1.2 billion people, that is beginning to look like an impossible goal.

So few of the high school and college graduates who come through the door can communicate effectively in English, and so many lack a grasp of educational basics such as reading comprehension, that the company can hire just three out of every 100 applicants.

India projects an image of a nation churning out hundreds of thousands of students every year who are well educated, a looming threat to the better-paid middle-class workers of the West. Their abilities in math have been cited by President Barack Obama as a reason why the U.S. is facing competitive challenges.

Yet 24/7 Customer's experience tells a very different story. Its increasing difficulty finding competent employees in India has forced the company to expand its search to the Philippines and Nicaragua. Most of its 8,000 employees are now based outside of India.

In the nation that made offshoring a household word, 24/7 finds itself so short of talent that it is having to offshore.

"With India's population size, it should be so much easier to find employees," says S. Nagarajan, founder of the company. "Instead, we're scouring every nook and cranny."


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703515504576142092863219826.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NASSCOM report on the quality of Indian grads:

By Ishpreet Bindra
Shocking as it may have sounded, a report by the software industry group National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), has declared 75 percent of Indian engineering students, to be unemployable. The report sent education experts across the country into discussion over what needs to be done, as we churn out engineers by the tons only to find a third of them being stamped unemployable.

According to the company’s report, IT firms in India reject 90 percent college graduates and 75 percent engineering graduates due to the simple reason that they are not even good enough to be trained. These students are unable to put their knowledge into practice and so are no good for the companies.

The problem is being faced even by students from reputed engineering colleges. Laying stress on the practical knowledge and on the job skills, AD Sahasrabudhu, director of the College of Engineering, Pune,said:

“The focus in most institutes here is always on academics and theory. Thus a mechanical engineer may actually not know how to change a part of a machine. Therefore, even if a high scoring student gets placed in a good company, eventually that lack of practical knowledge catches up.”

The experts were exchanging views at the sixth Higher Education Summit organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

The lack of skilful people in the country has resulted in many companies like Infosys to increase the duration of their on-the-job training programmes. The company has recently increased its training to 29 weeks, which is a shocking seven months into training after securing a job.

Clearly there exists a lacuna and a big one at that in the higher education system of India. As experts say, the Indian higher education needs to prioritise the skill building and practical training aspects of education equally with the theoretical part. This is the only way to give our students an edge they desperately need.


http://www.piford.com/httpwww-educationmaster-orgnewsnasscom-report-75-indian-engineering-students-unemployable/

Riaz Haq said...

India has 602 university level institutions and Pakistan has 127.

I suggest that readers also read an Indian blogger's post "Why one million Indians Escape from India every year" to get a full dose of reality about "Shining India":

Here are a few excerpts:

Any crackdown on illegal immigrants abroad or restricting quotas to Indians are a major concern to India’s politicians. The latest statistics from US Department of Homeland Security shows that the numbers of Indian illegal migrants jumped 125% since 2000! Ever wondered why Indians migrate to another countries but no one comes to India for a living?
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Quit India!

Sixty years ago Indians asked the British to quit India. Now they are doing it themselves. To live with dignity and enjoy relative freedom, one has to quit India! With this massive exodus, what will be left behind will be a violently charged and polarized society.
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15 per cent Hindu upper castes inherited majority of India’s civil service, economy and active politics from British colonial masters. And thus the caste system virtually leaves lower caste Hindus in to an oppressed majority in India’s power structure. Going by figures quoted by the Backward Classes Commission, Brahmins alone account for 37.17 per cent of the bureaucracy. [Who is Really Ruling India?]

The 2004 World Development Report mentions that more than 25% of India’s primary school teachers and 43% of primary health care workers are absent on any given day!
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About 40 million primary school-age children in India are not in school. More than 92 % children cannot progress beyond secondary school. According to reports, 35 per cent schools don’t have infrastructure such as blackboards and furniture. And close to 90 per cent have no functional toilets. Half of India’s schools still have leaking roofs or no water supply.

Japan has 4,000 universities for its 127 million people and the US has 3,650 universities for its 301 million, India has only 348 universities for its 1.2 billion people. In the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities by Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong, only two Indian Universities are included. Even those two IITs in India found only a lower slot (203-304) in 2007 report. Although Indian universities churn out three million graduates a year, only 15% of them are suitable employees for blue-chip companies. Only 1 million among them are IT professionals.

http://escapefromindia.wordpress.com/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Pakistan Link editor on Beaconhouse schools in its recent issue:

ABC’s Nightline program sometime back was as usual a pack of distortions about a country that remains steadfast in its support for the US. Entitled ‘The most dangerous country in the world,’ the program focused on the emotional outbursts of a diehard segment of Pakistan society and the fulminations of misguided pacifists known for their opposition to Pakistan’s nuclear program. It conveniently ignored the country’s march in different fields and the progressive nature of Pakistan society. It was a willful and wanton attempt to smear the image of Pakistan.

Yet, there was one positive comment that seemed to have unwittingly slipped from Ted Koppel’s lashing tongue: Some of the world’s best schools are in Pakistan! As the compliment was paid - grudgingly or ungrudgingly - the ABC camera panned across a classroom full of young boys and girls. Their uniforms looked familiar. Was it a Beaconhouse School chapter? I was not sure. Yet the compliment - ‘some of the world’s best schools are in Pakistan’ - reechoed in my ears, and justifiably so. My own son, Jahanzeb, had studied at the PECHS Chapter of Beaconhouse. He was later to win a full university scholarship and excel in studies on migration to the US, thanks to the excellent school education he had received in Pakistan.

Blissfully, the Beaconhouse School System has seen a marked growth in recent years. Its branches dot the country’s landscape and their number is fast multiplying. Founded by Mrs.Nasreen Kasuri and Mian Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, the System is the largest private network of schools with 40,000 students This wholesome trend testifies to the fact that private schools today play a complementary, nay, catalytic role in strengthening the education sector in Pakistan. They have a chain reaction effect and in this enterprise Beaconhouse’s example stands out, thanks to the painstaking strivings of Mrs. Kasuri who has been at the helm of the School System since its inception.

A write-up in Pakistan Link this year furnished a fresh proof of Beaconhouse’s sustained growth: “With the largest private network of schools in Asia, it was only a matter of time before the Beaconhouse School System was ready to take the quantum leap into the higher education sector. The Beaconhouse National University Foundation (BNUF) has been recently established with the express purpose of setting up the Beaconhouse National University at Lahore.”


http://pakistanlink.org/Editor/01072005.htm

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times opinion piece by Bill Keller on technology disrupting the higher education model of elite brick-and-mortar universities like Stanford:

...one of Stanford’s most inventive professors, Sebastian Thrun, is making an alternative claim on the future. Thrun, a German-born and largely self-taught expert in robotics, is famous for leading the team that built Google’s self-driving car. He is offering his “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online and free of charge. His remote students will get the same lectures as students paying $50,000 a year, the same assignments, the same exams and, if they pass, a “statement of accomplishment” (though not Stanford credit). When The Times wrote about this last month, 58,000 students had signed up for the course. After the article, enrollment leapt to 130,000, from across the globe.

Thrun’s ultimate mission is a virtual university in which the best professors broadcast their lectures to tens of thousands of students. Testing, peer interaction and grading would happen online; a cadre of teaching assistants would provide some human supervision; and the price would be within reach of almost anyone. “Literally, we can probably get the same quality of education I teach in class for about 1 to 2 percent of the cost,” Thrun told me.

The traditional university, in his view, serves a fortunate few, inefficiently, with a business model built on exclusivity. “I’m not at all against the on-campus experience,” he said. “I love it. It’s great. It has a lot of things which cannot be replaced by anything online. But it’s also insanely uneconomical.”

Thrun acknowledges that there are still serious quality-control problems to be licked. How do you keep an invisible student from cheating? How do you even know who is sitting at that remote keyboard? Will the education really be as compelling — and will it last? Thrun believes there are technological answers to all of these questions, some of them
being worked out already by other online frontiersmen.

“If we can solve this,” he said, “I think it will disrupt all of higher education.”

Disrupt is right. It would be an earthquake for the majority of colleges that depend on tuition income rather than big endowments and research grants. Many could go the way of local newspapers. There would be huge audiences and paychecks for superstar teachers, but dimmer prospects for those who are less charismatic.
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I see a larger point, familiar to all of us who have lived through digital-age disorder. There are disrupters, like Sebastian Thrun, or Napster, or the tweeting rebels in Tahrir Square. And there are adapters, like John Hennessy, or iTunes, or the novice statesmen trying to build a new Egypt. Progress depends on both.

Who could be against an experiment that promises the treasure of education to a vast, underserved world? But we should be careful, in our idealism, not to diminish something that is already a wonder of the world.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/03/opinion/the-university-of-wherever.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&sq=digital%20education&st=cse&scp=4

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a Financial Times story on Indian education crisis:

A report on the state of Indian education, the largest study of the country’s rural children, makes for grim reading.

India’s schools are in bad shape, and not getting any better. Maths ability is declining, and reading is way below where it should be.

The Annual Status of Education Report 2010, prepared by Pratham, an education non-governmental organisation supported by many of India’s top companies, has a blunt message. School enrolment is up but quality is unacceptably low. Inadequate state provision is fuelling the expansion of private education, which India’s largely poor people can ill-afford.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

1. 96.5 per cent of children in the 6 to 14 age group in rural India are enrolled in school. While 71.1 per cent of these children are enrolled in government schools, 24.3 per cent are enrolled in private schools.

2. India’s southern states in particular are moving strongly towards more private sector education provision. The percentage of children in private school increased from 29.7 per cent to 36.1 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, from 19.7 per cent to 25 per cent in Tamil Nadu and from 51.5 per cent to 54.2 per cent in Kerala

3. There has been a decrease in children’s ability to do simple mathematics. The proportion of Standard 1 children who could recognise numbers from 1-9 has declined.

4. After five years of schooling, close to half of children are below a level expected after just two years of formal education. Half of these children cannot read. Only one child in five can recognise numbers up to 100.

5. Toilets were useable in only half the 13,000 schools surveyed. Teacher attendance was 63 per cent, lower than pupil attendance.
Kapil Sibal, the new education minister, has breathed some life into a portfolio left moribund by his elderly predecessor Arjun Singh. But lately, Mr Sibal, a lawyer, has been seconded into the telecommunications ministry to clean up a mess surrounding the controversial award of new 2G licences that may have cost the exchequer as much as $39bn.

There are few more important challenges in India than improving its schools. Not for the first time ineptitude and greed at the top are robbing India’s young of resources.

http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2011/01/17/indian-schools-failing/#axzz1aLbWwL1D

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from "Sweet Smell of Success" originally published in The Caravan Magazine before it was censored, by Sidhartha Deb, the author of "The Beautiful and The Damned", on quality of private higher education in India:

A PHENOMENALLY WEALTHY INDIAN who excites hostility and suspicion is an unusual creature, a fish that has managed to muddy the waters it swims in. The glow of admiration lighting up the rich and the successful disperses before it reaches him, hinting that things have gone wrong somewhere. It suggests that beneath the sleek coating of luxury, deep
under the sheen of power, there is a failure barely sensed by the man who owns that failure along with his expensive accoutrements. This was Arindam Chaudhuri’s situation when I first met him in 2007. He had achieved great wealth and prominence, partly by projecting an image of himself as wealthy and prominent. Yet somewhere along the way he had also created the opposite effect, which—in spite of his best efforts—had given him a reputation as a fraud, scamster and Johnny-come-lately.

Once I became aware of Arindam Chaudhuri’s existence, I began to find him everywhere: in the magazines his media division published, flashing their bright colours and inane headlines from little newsstands made of bricks and plastic sheets; in buildings fronted by dark glass, behind which earnest young men imbibed Arindam’s ideas of leadership; and on the tiny screen during a flight from Delhi to Chicago, when the film I chose for viewing turned out to have been produced by him. It was a low-budget Bombay gangster film with a cast of unknown, modestly paid actors and actresses: was it an accident that the film was called Mithya? The word means falsehood, appearances, a lie—things I would have much opportunity to contemplate in my study of Arindam.

Every newspaper I came across carried a full-page advertisement for Arindam’s private business school, the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM), with Arindam’s photograph displayed prominently. It was the face of the new India, in closeup. His hair was swept back in a ponytail, dark and gleaming against a pale, smooth face, his designer glasses accentuating his youthfulness. He wore a blue suit, and his teeth were exposed in the kind of bright white smile I associate with American businessmen and evangelists. But instead of looking directly at the reader, as businessmen and evangelists do to assure people of their trustworthiness, Arindam gazed off at a distant horizon, as if pondering some elusive goal.

There were few details about the academic programme or admission requirements in these advertisements, but many small, inviting photographs of the Delhi campus: a swimming pool, a computer lab, a library, a snooker table, Indian men in suits, a blonde woman. A fireworks display of italics, exclamation marks and capital letters described the perks given to students: “free study tour to Europe etc. for twenty-one days,” “world placements,” “Free Laptops for all.” Stitching these disparate elements together was a slogan: “Dare to Think Beyond the IIMs”—referring to the elite, state-subsidised business schools, and managing to sound promising, admonishing and mysterious at the same time. The new India needed a new kind of university, and a new kind of attitude, and Arindam, said the ads, was the man who could teach you how to find it.

"I'VE SPOKEN TO THE BOSS about you,” Sutanu said. “He said, ‘Why does he want to meet me?’”
Sutanu ran the media division of Arindam’s company from a basement office where there was no cellphone reception, and it took many calls and text messages to get in touch with him. When I finally reached him, he sounded affable enough, suggesting that we have lunch in south Delhi. We met at Flames, an “Asian Resto-Bar” in Greater Kailash-II with a forlorn statue of the Buddha tucked away in the corner...


http://pastebin.com/UBtEqF1L

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a brief summary of Pakistan foreign education market put together by the British Council:

Pakistan is one of the six countries which accounts for 54 percent of the UK’s (non-EU) international students. After September 2001, it has become the market leader, a place traditionally taken by the US, but the US is picking up after a long time, owing to simplified visa procedures and increased marketing efforts, not to forget the excellent scholarship opportunities that thy have to offer Pakistani students.

There were 5222 students from Pakistan studying in the United States in 2009/2010 (Source:IIE Opendoors). Pakistan now has the largest Fulbright Scholarship Programme in the world. There is an upward trend of Pakistani students studying in Australia. 2557 students studied in Australia in 2009/2010 compared to 2190 in 2008/2009 (Source: AEI). Other European countries have also become quite active in marketing their education in Pakistan. Countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are more visible and perceived as offering quality education at lower prices. UK has remained the highest in this with 10,420 students studying in the UK in 2009/2010 (HESA, 2011).


Market opportunities
Pakistan is predominantly a postgraduate market, of the students currently studying in the UK, approximately 71 per cent are postgraduate and 29 per cent undergraduate. While the further education market is still relatively small, there is potential for growth, as there is a greater need for skills in a more service sector-led economy.

One-year Master's programmes are popular, due to their shorter duration compared to competitors. A further major aspect of the postgraduate market is the relatively wide availability of scholarships by UK institutions and Government funding agencies. In addition to the Pakistan Government‘s new overseas scholarship schemes, this target group also has access to scholarships offered by international organisation such as IMF, Commonwealth and World Bank. Popular subject areas are for 2009- 2010 are Business Studies, Engineering, Computer Sciences, Social Sciences followed by law.

Based on HESA statistics, the total number of Pakistani students enrolled in the UK was 10,420 in 2009 / 2010, a 2 percent growth on 2008/2009.

There is also significant growth in GCE O- and A-levels conducted in Pakistan, which naturally leads to demand for UK undergraduate study. More than 46,000 students took these examinations in 2010 / 2011. Popular subjects include business, law, accountancy, IT, management and engineering.

Foundation programmes have a market in Pakistan as a pathway from 12-year study into UK higher education.

Vocational programmes are a new market in Pakistan, with increasing student awareness of the opportunities. National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC) is a regulatory body for promoting linkages among various stakeholders to address challenges aced by Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET)....

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is among the biggest sources of foreign students for OECD countries' colleges and universities. Here's how the Australians see Pakistan's education market:

The education and training sector has been one of the major contributors of Australian services exports into Pakistan market.

Australia is increasingly being recognised as a supplier of a quality education services, with very significant advantages in terms of cost vis a vis UK and USA. To ensure that Australian education providers remain interested and committed to the market, Austrade works closely with both agents and institutions to value add and extend full cooperation and assistance to sustain and increase market share.

The market demand has doubled over the last three years but one of the major constrain to this growth has been the political and economic instability in addition to travel advisory with certain travel restrictions, issues such as lengthy student visa process (now shifted to Adelaide), and less participation/visit of institutions’ representative in the education events or interview/seminar programs.

There is substantial demand in Pakistan from students, parents and employers for private quality higher education along with a willingness and capacity to pay comparatively high fees. Private institutions are seeking affiliations with universities abroad to ensure they offer information and training that is of international standards.

International donor agencies such as DFID and USAID are funding various projects focusing on teacher’s training and capacity building of the public sector institutions.

In response to increased trade competition and need for a high performing work force, the Government of Pakistan is strongly emphasising vocational training.

Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) system delivers training that is practical and career-oriented could service some of this demand.

The online delivery of programs has potential where Pakistani residents wish to enhance their skills, but are not able to undertake long-term study out of the country. Hospitality is one area where distance education is a preferred option.

Doing business in Pakistan is not without hurdles. Security concerns, inadequate infrastructure and differences in business culture are some of the major challenges faced by Australian institutions or exporters, but the opportunities are not to be underestimated.
Competitive environment

The USA, the UK and Australia are the three destinations most popular with Pakistani students. Most students at the Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree level locally are looking for opportunities to study abroad, often while they complete their Pakistani studies.

An overseas qualification improves chances of gaining a better opportunity in the job market.


http://www.austrade.gov.au/Education-to-Pakistan/default.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

Whys is India not a scientific power, asks an Op Ed in The Hindu:

.....It is the robustness of scientific research and innovation that sets apart great powers from the mediocre ones.

We have good scientists, but why has India not produced outstanding scientists who make path-breaking discoveries that will make the world sit up and take notice? Should we continue to be satisfied with tweaking borrowed technologies? Is reverse engineering an innovative phenomenon?

All debates about scientific research inevitably end up zeroing in on the deficiencies of our educational system as the root cause of the abysmal record in scientific research. This is only part of the story.

A nation's culture — belief systems, values, attitudes — plays a significant role in determining the quality of scientific research. The Oriental attitudes differ from the Occidental values in many respects. Asian societies are basically collectivist, that is, the collective good of society ranks higher than individual happiness and achievements. People do not ask what they can do for their country; they are always asking what the country will do for them. They look up to the state for guidance, leadership and direction. There is no burning individual ambition to excel and achieve something new.

In the West, individuals try to achieve their potential through their own efforts, aided and facilitated by enabling laws and institutions. Self-reliance is the key objective of life. An independent life requires a free and questioning mindset that takes nothing for granted and constantly challenges conventional wisdom. Children are encouraged to push the frontiers of knowledge by self-examination and open-minded enquiry. It is only a sceptical and dissenting mind that often thinks out of the box to explore new vistas of knowledge.

Collectivism promotes conformism and deference to authority whether it is parents, elders, teachers or the government. It is heresy to question established values and customs.

We pass on our passivity and uncritical attitudes to our children. No wonder, the educational system encourages rote learning and unquestioning acceptance of what is taught in the classrooms and stated in the textbooks. How can we expect our children to suddenly develop an enquiring and inquisitive attitude when they have been brought up in a milieu that discourages ‘disruptive' thoughts?

India and China were once advanced nations before foreign rule drained their resources and sapped their willpower and scientific traditions. Cultures tend to become conservative and defensive when subjected to long spells of colonial exploitation.

Indians are great believers in destiny. But our tradition does not frown upon free will and individual excellence. We must realise that our ability for free action remains unhampered despite what destiny may hold in store for us.
Fear of failure

Another flaw in our culture that prevents individual excellence is the fear of failure. The stigma associated with failure makes our children risk-averse while choosing their courses and careers.

Scientific research is a long-drawn war on received wisdom that requires many battles before it can be won. Science was not built in a day. Some of the battles can end in defeat. In the West, they celebrate failure as a stepping stone to success.

Educational reforms must be preceded by mental deconditioning of parents, teachers, educationists and policymakers — throwing away the cobwebs of uncritical submissiveness to conventional knowledge. Let us bring up a generation that will not hesitate to ask inconvenient questions. This generation will be the torch-bearer of a scientific revolution that will unleash cutting-edge research to make the Nobel Prize committee sit up and take notice....


http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/article2704625.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Results of PISA international test released by OECD in Dec, 2011, show that Indian students came in at the bottom of the list along with students from Kyrgyzstan:

Students in Tamil Nadu-India attained an average score on the PISA reading literacy scale that is significantly higher than those for Himachal Pradesh-India and Kyrgyzstan, but lower than all other participants in PISA 2009 and PISA 2009+.
In Tamil Nadu-India, 17% of students are estimated to have a proficiency in reading literacy that is at or above the baseline needed to participate effectively and productively in life. This means that 83% of students in Tamil Nadu-India are estimated to be below this baseline level. This compares to 81% of student performing at or above the baseline level in reading in the OECD countries, on average.
Students in the Tamil Nadu-India attained a mean score on the PISA mathematical literacy scale as the same observed in Himachal Pradesh-India, Panama and Peru. This was significantly higher than the mean observed in Kyrgyzstan but lower than those of other participants in PISA 2009 and PISA 2009+.
In Tamil Nadu-India, 15% of students are proficient in mathematics at least to the baseline level at which they begin to demonstrate the kind of skills that enable them to use mathematics in ways that are considered fundamental for their future development. This compares to 75% in the OECD countries, on average. In Tamil Nadu-India, there was no statistically significant difference in the performance of boys and girls in mathematical literacy.
Students in Tamil Nadu-India were estimated to have a mean score on the scientific literacy scale, which is below the means of all OECD countries, but significantly above the mean observed in the other Indian state, Himachal Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu-India, 16% of students are proficient in science at least to the baseline level at which they begin to demonstrate the science competencies that will enable them to participate actively in life situations related to science and technology. This compares to 82% in the OECD countries, on average. In Tamil Nadu-India, there was a statistically significant gender difference in scientific literacy, favouring girls.


http://www.acer.edu.au/media/acer-releases-results-of-pisa-2009-participant-economies/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Meeta Senguota's blog post on PISA results in Times of India:

Our pedagogies and entire school systems are designed to feed a specific type of learning- generically known as learning by rote. We teach and learn for the assessment. And assessments, if they are to be standardized and defensible are often merely linear tests of information, not knowledge.

The traditional education system is often berated for belonging to the industrial age - where a standard product needs to be created, using standardized processes, where products move along an assembly line, from one level of preparedness to the next. Till finally, the product is ready for the job market. This is clearly a utilitarian view of education, where we need to feed the machinery of the present with efficiency, and for efficiency.

The meaning of the word learning has been debated and measured in literature largely via assessments. And yet, the purpose of education is often stated in more lofty terms - growth, progress, development; thought and society among others. Yet, our assessments do not reflect the stated purpose of education. While we practice and acknowledge that our teaching is geared to our assessments, and we also measure individual and systemic success via the same assessments, it becomes incumbent on us to focus our efforts on designing those assessments well.

Learning for each of us means different things. For some it means proficiency in the classic 3 R's - reading, writing and arithmetic. For others it is reflected in the ability to pass exams, or, in the number and range of competitions won. for some, it is the ability to carry an argument forward, to a cohesive end that demonstrates learning, while for people like me, it is clearly the ability to make good decisions that signifies that good learning has taken place. For some, learning is about good values- both at work and as a human being.


http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/educable/entry/the-race-to-better-learning

Riaz Haq said...

In a 2008 assessment, Indian students ranked second to last among seven emerging economies, as reported by Siliconindia:

Bangalore: The draught of education in India has reached the extreme as it ranks sixth among the seven emerging economies of the world, in terms of education quality. The country has scored only 3.3 points in the study, in terms of primary, secondary, tertiary and demographic parameters, while Russia topped the chart with 7.3 points.

As per the Assocham study, India was at the last position in terms of quality of secondary education while Russia and Brazil had maximum scores. The quality of tertiary education in India was lowest among the other emerging nations. The points it scored on the scale of 2, was 0.1. Even though the demographics of India are considered its strength, the country has scored the minimum in this too and was ranked at last place. Moreover, in terms of students enrollment for primary education, India is highly incompetitive with the gross enrollment ratio standing at 98.1.

"Serious attention needs to be paid towards the education system. India may stand to loose its competitive advantages against the other countries in long term if corrective measures are not taken to strengthen the Indian education system qualitatively," said Sajjan Jindal, ASSOCHAM President while releasing the ASSOCHAM Eco Pulse (AEP) Study 'Comparative Study of Emerging Economies on Quality of Education'. It was carried out on the basis of 20 parameters relating to primary, secondary, tertiary education and higher education and demography and data provided by UNESCO, IMF, WEF, Financial Times was used for the purpose.

Among the rest five countries, China has secured second place with scoring 6.7 points, while Brazil has positioned itself at third place with 5.56 score points as the quality of education in Brazil remains stable across all levels of primary, secondary and higher education. Mexico has been ranked at fourth place on the strength of its higher education. South Africa, a relatively new entrant to the club of developing economies, has managed to be on fifth place on the strength of its tertiary education and demographic qualities though it lags far behind in primary education. However, Indonesia stands at the last position with an overall score of 2.68 points. The gross enrolment ratio is highest in Brazil (148.5), followed by China (116.2) and Russia (113.8). Even Indonesia (110.9) and South Africa (105.1) enjoy better enrolment ratio than India.

However, only in terms of teacher-student ratio the country outsmarts all as in India for every forty students, there is one teacher.


http://www.siliconindia.com/shownews/India_ranks_second_last_in_Quality_Education-nid-50034-cid-Others.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an uplifting story in Express Tribune about a Pakistani with 28 A's in O Level exams:

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has presented a cheque of Rs1 million as a token of appreciation to a student from Taxila who had set a world record in the O-level examinations.

Zohaib Asad, a student of Beaconhouse, earned 28 As in the University of Cambridge International O-Level Examinations in 2011. He overtook a record of 23 As, also set by a Pakistani student from Islamabad Ibrahim Shahid.

Gilani invited Asad to the Prime Minister House on Thursday and lauded him for making Pakistan’s youth proud. He said that Asad’s achievement will inspire other young students to excel in life through sheer hard work.

Asad is currently enrolled at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he is pursuing an undergraduate degree in economics and international development.

Speaking to the prime minister, he said that he was determined to return to Pakistan after completion of his education to serve the country that has given so much in life at an early age.

Gilani appreciated Asad’s sense of devotion to the country the country and said that young people like him were Pakistan’s hope for a brighter future.

Asad’s family members were also present in the meeting.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/317004/pm-honours-student-who-set-o-level-world-record/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Op Ed by HEC Chair Javaid Laghari published in The Express Tribune:

There has been a quiet revolution in the last two years, particularly in improved quality, access and relevance, which are the cornerstones of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Quality is a ‘process’ and cannot be improved overnight by dialling ‘Q’. Quality enhancement cells have been established in 81 universities which will monitor and ‘own’ quality and report to the HEC’s QA (Quality Assurance) division. Six accreditation councils, including in business and computing, have been established, and these will accredit professional programmes. An institutional performance evaluation (IPE) process has begun, and by next year, the universities will be given a scorecard on good governance. For the first time ever, universities and programmes are being ranked as per international standards, and the results will be published by the end of the year. A two-day orientation of newly-appointed vice-chancellors (VCs), facilitated by two British VCs and one American university president, was organised — also for the first time — to inculcate leadership and to improve quality in governing higher educational institutes.

Accessibility to university education among the population is now 7.8 per cent, and not 5.1 per cent as implied by Dr Tahir, and we are well on our way to reaching 10 per cent by 2015 as per the education policy, despite a 10 per cent cut in higher education funding. Pakistan spends 1.7 per cent of its GDP on education, and only six other countries in the world spend less. Of this, 0.22 per cent is spent on higher education and not 0.3 per cent as the article incorrectly states. Under these circumstances, the HEC has done wonders!

What the writer fails to mention is the new emphasis on ‘knowledge exchange’. Ten offices of research, innovation and commercialisation (ORIC) have been established this year, and 20 more are in the pipeline to bridge the gap between university research and industry. With a 30 per cent increase in research publications and PhD dissertations in the last two years, a focus on relevant research and a new programme to establish incubators and technology parks, the Pakistani higher education sector is on its way to become an economic powerhouse in the next two years.

This is the soft and quiet revolution taking place at our universities which is already becoming visible and changing the lives of millions of youth who are the beneficiaries of higher education in Pakistan.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/290255/a-quiet-revolution-in-higher-education/

Riaz Haq said...

Pak threat to Indian science

Hindustan Times

Pakistan may soon join China in giving India serious competition in science. “Science is a lucrative profession in Pakistan. It has tripled the salaries of its scientists in the last few years.” says Prof C.N.R. Rao, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council.

In a presentation to the Prime Minister, Rao has asked for a separate salary mechanism for scientists. The present pay structure, he says, is such that “no young technical person worth his salt would want to work for the Government or public sector”.

He adds, “You needn’t give scientists private sector salaries, but you could make their lives better, by say, giving them a free house.”

Giving his own example, he says, “I have been getting a secretary’s salary for the last 35 years. But I have earned enough through various awards.

But I can raise a voice for those who aren’t getting their due.” Last year, Rao won the prestigious Dan David Award, from which he created a scholarship fund. So far, he has donated Rs 50 lakh for scholarship purposes.

The crisis gripping Indian science seems to be hydra-headed. “None of our institutes of higher learning are comparable with Harvard or Berkeley,” points out Rao. The IITs, he says, need to improve their performance: a faculty of 350 produces only about 50 PhD scholars a year. “That’s one PhD per 5-6 faculty members,” says the anguished Professor.

Rao fears that India’s contribution to world science would plummet to 1-1.5 per cent if we don’t act fast. At present, India’s contribution is less than three per cent. China’s is 12 per cent.

“We should not be at the bottom of the pile. When I started off in the field of scientific research at 17-and-a-half, I had thought that India would go on to become a top science country. But now, 55 years later, only a few individuals have made it to the top grade,” he laments.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/NM13/Pak-threat-to-Indian-science/Article1-124925.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

There are no South Asian universities in Top 200 QS list this year.

There are several Indian (IITs) and one Pakistani university (NUST) in top 500.

http://content.qs.com/supplement2011/top500.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET piece by Aakar Patel on why Indian kids do well in spelling bees in US:

The annual ritual where Indians demonstrate they are smarter than all other Americans is the National Spelling Bee.

So dominant are the Indians in this school competition that they have been winners eight times in the last 10 years. If anything, this trend is becoming even more pronounced. Indians took the first spot in each of the last five years and all three top places in this year’s contest that finished on May 31.

What explains this total dominance of Indians, who are only one per cent of America’s population? It is hardly the case that we speak or write English better than Europeans or Americans. How are Indians so good with difficult words?

The online magazine Slate explored this subject in 2010 in their “Explainer” column. The writer concluded that the effort of an organisation called the North South Foundation was responsible.

This body of expatriate Indians conducted local spelling and other contests that made Indian children better. These contests were very competitive, therefore, giving Indians both experience and an edge when they took the national stage. The Slate writer doesn’t explore why it is that Indians are so enthusiastic about this particular contest in the first place.

The fact is that it plays to their strength, which is learning by rote. Memorising tracts is and has always been the Indian way of acquiring knowledge. It is also the way in which learning is examined in Indian schools. Answers to questions about history, geography and even science that aligned word for word with what the textbook said got you full marks when I was a child, and this hasn’t changed.

Indians have a word in each of their languages for this sort of learning. It is called ratta in Hindi, for instance, and gokh in Gujarati. It refers to reading, repeatedly reciting, and thereby, memorising whole pages of prose.

This may not be a good way of learning, if it is learning at all, but this has always been the case in India. Hindus developed a complex system of memorising and reciting the entire Rig Veda so that it would not be lost in the period before literacy.

Even today, Indian adults consider it an act of learning to be able to put on display their ability to be mug up. Stephen Cohen wrote about this in his book India: Emerging power. He remarked that there was a difference in styles when Indian and American diplomats negotiated. Indians took pride in recounting the minutiae of events in the past, dates and background and that sort of thing. This was done, Cohen felt, for no reason other than to show that there was mastery over the subject. Americans, on the other hand, were focussed only on the issue at hand.

It is true that all students, whether Indian or not, must memorise to be able to do well in America’s National Spelling Bee. A Washington Post report before the finals quoted one American child’s mother saying that her son had studied for 8,000 hours in preparation.
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This advantage Indians have of being able to find the time and motivation to commit things to memory is not particularly useful outside of things like spelling contests. It is of no use in thinking about problems and solutions. I would say it is the reason why the output of our colleges and universities is low on quality (India’s software body NASSCOM says nine out of 10 Indian engineering graduates who apply to one of the big four software firms are rejected as being unemployable).

So while India’s dominance of the National Spelling Bee puts on display its middle class values, it also showcases the problems of its system of education.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/387854/why-indians-win-the-spelling-bee/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Thane Richard, a Brown University student who did a semester abroad at St. Stephens College in India:

“Wait, what?! You are studying here for three years just so you can go do it again for four more years?” I could not grasp the logic of this. What changed my understanding was when I started taking classes at St. Stephen’s College. Except for one, they were horrible.
This was not an isolated incident — all my fellow exchange students concurred that the academics were a joke compared to what we were used to back home. In one economic history class the professor would enter the room, take attendance, open his notebook, and begin reading. He would read his notes word for word while we, his students, copied these notes word for word until the bell sounded. Next class he would find the spot where the bell had interrupted him, like a storyteller reading to children and trying to recall where he had last put down the story. He would even pause slightly at the end of a long sentence to give us enough time to finish writing before he moved on. And this was only when he decided to show up — many times I arrived on campus to find class abruptly cancelled. Classmates exchanged cell phone numbers and created phone trees just to circulate word of a cancelled class. I got a text almost daily about one of my classes. My foreigner peers had many similar experiences.
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To pause for a moment, here is the problem with me talking about this topic: right now many Indians reading this are starting to feel defensive. “Nationalist” is a term I have heard as a self-description as they defend Mother India from the bigoted, criticising foreigner. They focus on me rather than the problem. I have had people unfriend me on Facebook and walk out on meals because I politely expressed an opinion on politics or history that went against the publicly consented “Indian opinion.” For a nation that prides itself on the 17 languages printed on its currency, I am greeted with remarkable intolerance. Even after living in India for close to three years, attending an Indian college, working for an Indian company, founding an Indian company, paying taxes in India, and making India my home, I am not Indian enough to speak my mind. But in a nation that rivals all others in the breadth of its human diversity, who is Indian enough? Because if loyalty and a feeling of patriotism were the barometers for “Indianness,” rather than skin colour or a government document, then I would easily be a dual U.S.-Indian citizen. This Indian defensiveness is false nationalism. It is not a stance that cares about India, it is one that cares about what others think of India, which is not nationalism. That is narcissism.
My voice should be drowned out by the millions around me who are disappointed with how they have been short-changed by the Indian government — their government. Education is one of the most poignant examples of this and serves as great dinner conversation amongst the elite:
“The Indian education system is lost in the past and failing India.” Everyone at the table nods, mumbles their concurrence, and cites the most recent Economist article or Pricewaterhouse Cooper study on the matter in order to masquerade as informed....


http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/an-indian-education/article4683622.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Indian Textbooks: Suez canal is called "Sewage Canal", Africans are referred to as "Ni****" . This is what they learn
- Africans are referred to as N*****s throughout the textbook
- Iconic Russian author Alexander Pushkin has been referred to as Alexandria Pushkin
- Page 6 defines globalization as: When world is improving its economic condition has effected the world that is called world economy.
- The International Labour Organisation is called the International Workers' Union
- Hungary is spelt 'Hungery', Bulgaria as 'Bulgeria' and the Warsaw Treaty as 'Warsa Treaty'
- National Integration is referred to as National Integrity
- The book mentions that the Triple Alliance was between England, France and Russia and the Triple Entente between Germany, Italy and Austria. It was actually the exact opposite.
- On page 7, the book mentions that the Kanagawa Treaty was signed between Japanese Prime Minister Tokugawa Shogun and America. Tokugawa Shogun was what the military government was called.
- On page 23, the textbook refers to a political issue between Sweden-Finland and Holland whereas the issue was between Sweden-Finland and the Aland Islands
- On page 26, the League of Nations has been referred to as the United Nations in the book

Decipher this
A section on the Importance of Computer on Page 63 reads: Computer has become a super friend not only of Indians but of the whole human race.

It is so familiar as though one of the indispensable family members of our family. It is equally important to get acquainted and introduced with such an important friend... Where there is computer there is work and where there is work there is career is becoming the motto.

Such has grown the importance of the computer in human life as though the man will have to survive on the oxygen of the computer in future. It is becoming the life saving breath to us. Its inevitability has grown through its need and its ultra importance through its inevitability.

While explaining its importance, it can be stated as 'computer to literacy' and 'ethics to internet' have become the aims of life...All latest information regarding its birth, its kinds, spread, intimation is up to date with us...

Geography too
The newly released Std III Geography textbook has also drawn flak from teachers. The Mumbai Geography Teachers Association (MGTA) has pointed out that a map on page 55 shows Backbay printed in place of Colaba while the Vasai and Malad creeks have been marked on land. Also, the map shows something called the Worli river, which does not exist. The MGTA has written to Balbharti about these errors.

The other side
When mid-day contacted state education chairman G K Mamane about these errors, he said, "The errors have been rectified and if the teachers find any more errors, they can write to us and we will issue clarifications in our monthly magazine."

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/maharashtra-s-shame-africans-are-referred-to-as-n-s-in-ssc-textbook-538369?site=classic

Riaz Haq said...

QS World University Rankings 2014 announcement lists 10 Pakistani universities among Asia's top 300.

South Asian institutions featuring on this list include 17 from India, 10 from Pakistan and 1 each from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The list is topped by Singapore with its National University at #1 and includes Singapore's Nanyang Technical University at #7. It is dominated by 58 universities from China (including 7 in Hong Kong and 1 in Macao), 50 from Japan, 47 from South Korea and 28 from Taiwan. Other nations represented with universities among top 300 in Asia are: Malaysia (17), Thailand (10), Indonesia (9), Philippines (5), Vietnam (3) and Brunei (1).

Pakistani universities on the list are: Pakistan Inst of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) at 106, Aga Khan University (AKU) at 116, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU)at 123 National University of Sciences and Trechnology (NUST) at 129, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) at 180-190, COMSATS Institute of Technology at 201-250, Karachi University (KU) at 201-250, Punjab University (PU) at 201-250, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) at 251-300 and University of Engineering Technology (UET) Lahore at 251-300.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2014/06/2014-qs-rankings-10-pakistani.html

Riaz Haq said...

India's lost generation: A systemic risk?

Singaporean Thomas Ong, a director at a local private equity firm, recently got invited as a guest lecturer at a private college in Jaipur, India. "I had heard stories about India's young people with 'excellent academic and English speaking skills' but what I encountered was the complete opposite," he said.

Not one student in a class of 100 has ever heard of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Most students could not understand, let alone speak fluent English. "The only question they had at the end the lecture was how to find a job at home or abroad," Ong said.

His account is anecdotal evidence of what human resource experts, corporate leaders and countless surveys have been highlighting over the past few years - that despite India's huge talent pool of graduates, few are equipped with skills to be gainfully employed.


According to a survey conducted by Aspiring Minds, an entrepreneurial initiative in preparing youth for employability, as many as 83 percent of graduating engineers in 2013 could not find jobs, given their poor English language and cognitive skills.

In fact, only 2.6 percent of graduates in India were recruited in functional roles like accounting, 15.9 percent in sales-related roles and 21.3 percent in the business process outsourcing sector. "Nearly 47 percent of Indian graduates are unemployable in any sector, irrespective of their academic degrees," noted Varun Aggarwal, co-founder and COO of Aspiring Minds.

The statistics run counter to the perception that India's relatively youthful population could help reap demographic dividends for the country down the line.
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For India however, the reality on the ground couldn't be more different. "It is not unusual to see graduates employed as security guards, driver or waiters in restaurants, given the poor standards of education. So what demographic dividend are we talking of? The generation coming of age in the 1920s faces the greatest underemployment ever in history," said Anil Sachdev, a human resources specialist and career coach.

The fault appears to lie in the dismal education standards in India. As little as 10- 12 percent of the 15-29 year-old age group in India receives any formal or informal training compared with to 28 percent in Mexico or 96 percent in South Korea.

For tertiary education, none of the 42 central universities in India feature in the most recent QS list of best 200 colleges in the world. In the rankings of the best MBA schools by the Financial Times, the prestigious Indian School of Business has fallen six places to the 36th spot this year and Indian names are conspicuously missing in the top 25 places.

Analysts say a lack of occupational focus in the degrees offered by local universities could be partly to blame. Some 82 percent of the enrolment is in arts, sciences and commerce programs rather than specific skill-based courses. Even among the engineering and management colleges, less than 25 percent can apply theoretical knowledge to functional areas, given the emphasis on rote learning and theory in the education system, says Aggarwal. The situation progressively deteriorates moving into the tier 2-3 towns from the metros.


"Excessive government regulation, outmoded curricula and a drop in the standards of teaching have led to a deterioration in the standards of education so much so that India's demographic dividend may well turn out to be a demographic disaster," said Pramath Sinha, co-founder of the new-age Ashoka University and ex-dean of Indian School of Business, the country's first public private initiative to bridge jobs and employability gap.


http://finance.yahoo.com/news/indias-lost-generation-systemic-risk-223155178.html

Riaz Haq said...

Why Indian education sucks:
10. Changes way too often.
changes way to often
The school system of SSC board has changed so very often. Starting with total suspension of exams till 8th grade, moving to grading system from marking system, changing the mid-term exams from twice a year to eight times a year, introducing orals and internals in the boards, the changes are frequent and unpredictable. ...

9. Just eat it and puke.
just eat and puke
The entire Indian educated student will agree that the ‘learning’ is different from its definition. When we were told to learn it does not understand the content it is mugging it, memorizing it and writing it down verbatim. The prowess of the learned content is fearsome for the poems and stories of past are still embedded in our minds forever. The horror of forgetting one word in the answer, the danger of deviating from the answers was life-threatening. ...
8. no practical experiences
The actual implementation of techniques learned right from school through grad school is practically absent. The techniques we learn are bookish knowledge. The charts we make as projects have little or no significant relation with the education process. The Grad school experience of engineering starts with diagrammatic representation of gramophone and ends with advanced technical drawings. We are too rigid to enter into the real world. And the substantial time we waste into the drawings is something we need to divert into practicality. Life will be easier then.
7. Pit us against each other.
pit us against each other
From an early age, we are taught that there is only one and one winner alone. We fight for that top slot in class, the trophy, the race, the position of the leader, best sportsman and everything. We befriend people based on the ranks and grades. This instinct continues into our college days, our bachelor’s degree and further into our lives. Sportsmanship is not a strong suit taught in the education institutes for we are only taught to run the race to bet others not to win.
6. No unity in this diversity.
No unity in diversity

The Indian scenario plays an important role in our education culture. Few districts and states are notoriously famous for their tolerance of the cheating, proxies and free degrees. The system is degraded and this leads too many feeling cheated of fair competition. The paper checking method is laughable. The environments of private schools and colleges are closed to government watches giving them excess liberty. We learn politics right from school just by experience, ignorance protects us.
4. Sports are absent.
sports are absent
Apart from few schools where sports actually mean something, majority of schools uses the P.E lecture to conduct few games. The seriousness of this slot in school timetable is negligible....
3. Technology deficient.
technology deficient
We are taught the computer in 3rd grade around. We learn basic languages which are practically off the market. The syllabus of computers was something we barely made through. The course included techniques so old that it is practically obsolete in this day and time. The comparison with western country will put us to shame. The kids there are in sync with technology from age of 3. We need to step up our games. We still write every single word and submit the papers . At-least the Grad and PG level demands the use of computers and laptops in the everyday classes. We need to start refusing papers and start going digital.The world is going digital and we are being left behind. Indian Education system needs to incorporate these changes in its system and fast!
2. English Please.
English please
Studies show that even the engineers can’t spell out properly. They are weak in Basic English and this is after clearing four year grad school in the same language.

1. Just study

How many of us have given up on arts and crafts and dance and sports due to education and board exams.

http://listcrown.com/10-reasons-indian-education-system-sucks/

Riaz Haq said...

Soft-spoken education revolutionary Sal Khan has a few ideas for how to radically overhaul higher education. First, create a universal degree that’s comparable to a Stanford degree, and second, transform the college transcript into a portfolio of things that students have actually created.
Khan is the founder, executive director, and faculty member at the Khan Academy, an online education provider.
Speaking at the Atlantic’s Navigate tech conference, Khan said that the online education providers and independent technology “boot camp” schools will end up playing an important role in pressuring legacy universities to change their outdated ways.
“I feel like society is ripe for challenging the model of school” he told The Atlantic’s editor, James Bennett, earlier this week.
Credentialing
“The credentialing piece is somewhat broken now,” Khan said. “A very small fraction of the population has the opportunity to attend a university that is broadly known.”
To that end, Khan said that he is working on a universal credentialing system that could compare a graduate of “Stanford or Harvard” by their raw abilities. Presumably, this credential would have to be some type of evaluation that would test and measure the abilities of all students, thereby making the granting institution irrelevant.
Last year, Sebastian Thrun, the CEO of online education provider Udacity, and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom announced a tech industry credentialing system, the Open Education Alliance, with Khan Academy as partner.
Since then, Udacity has developed its own credential for the tech industry, the nanodegree. Similarly, Coursera, another online education provider, started awarding a “signature track” certificate to the graduates of some its tech courses.
Khan has not developed its own credential yet. Most important, neither Udacity nor Coursera has developed a degree or certificate that is comparable to a Stanford Degree. Both rely on the reputation of the granting organization — as opposed to some kind of test score. So, until Khan develops something more objective, a Stanford degree is still going to be a lot more valuable than anything else on the market.
Portfolios instead of transcript
At one point in the talk, a mother with children attending the University of California Berkeley expressed her frustration that her kids were having to turn to Khan Academy online videos to learn real world skills. She wondered how a $60,000 ultra-selective tier I degree could somehow not teach those skills.
Khan, who holds a Master’s in engineering from MIT, said that schools have dropped the ball on preparing graduates for the real world. Instead of graduating with a list of courses and a GPA, each student should have a portfolio of products.
“The transcript coming out of engineering school should essentially be the things that you’ve created,” he said.
Exams and grades are much (much) easier to administer to thousands of students. Having each student create some type of product (like a gadget or program) for graduation would require far more faculty time. There’s a lot of institutional inertia against doing anything that complicated.
Despite the fact that top tech companies like Google have publicly admitted that they don’t care very much about college degrees, colleges have not been moved to equip graduates with a portfolio of products for graduation. Khan suspects that online providers, like his Academy and others in the education space, will ultimately pressure colleges to change.
Here’s to hoping they do it soon.

http://venturebeat.com/2014/12/14/khan-academy-founder-has-a-couple-of-big-ideas-for-overhauling-higher-education-in-the-sciences/