Riaz Haq writes this data-driven blog to provide information, express his opinions and make comments on many topics. Subjects include personal activities, education, South Asia, South Asian community, regional and international affairs and US politics to financial markets. For investors interested in South Asia, Riaz has another blog called South Asia Investor at http://www.southasiainvestor.com and a YouTube video channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkrIDyFbC9N9evXYb9cA_gQ
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Poor Quality of Higher Education in South Asia
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. Other than about 5000 graduates from the IITs, 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 accomplishments 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. 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.
NEDUET Admissions Prospectus 2009-10
Global Shortage of Quality Labor
Nature Magazine Editorial on Pakistan's Higher Education Reform
Student Performance By Country and Race
India Shining and Bharat Drowning
South Asian IQs
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
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I agree with most of the points you mentioned. The respect and awe IITs get is more due the amazing brilliance of the students and less to do with the institution. But, I'd like to point out that things are changing in India with times. The Indian govt is on its way to pass the Right to Education Bill and it'll make a huge number of Indians poor or not to get basic education. So, the system in India is fixing itself.
You also forget to mention IIMs which are widely considered one of the best business schools in the world and in quality they are better than IITs.. In all fairness you should give some lines on how India is working on it and how its system is working to fix all the problems that has plagued it.. its just a suggestion..
Please help me with the sources and content of info re Indian efforts to improve higher education. I'd be happy to write about it.
I fully agree with your conclusions about NED (and other institutions of higher learning as well) of earlier days that it attracted GEMS but these GEMS were never cut to perfection.
Among others, two major factors clearly identified in the continuing downfall of Pakistan are:
Encroachment of fuedals in the Civil Service, Military and Politics and thereby a creation of VIP culture that thinks that they are unaccountable to society; and
Poor quality education; An education system that is deserving of a free and independent country was never realized.
People are basically smart but could never refine their skills in the profession of their choosing.
Very good article with reliable fact sources on a very important subject for us, that is the quality of higher education in Pakistan/South Asia. Keep up the good work of sharing info with us. And hope is that most of the very many successful Pakistanis / NEDians can do something about it. What we need is an awareness here amongst Pakistanis and mainstream media in Pakistan about these issues. Again, thanks for writing and disseminating info on this so that more and more folks are aware of the challenges we face to develop the economy and by extension a viable social and human development in that part of the world.
INdian education system is fraught with the governmental internvention
WE can take tamil nadu as an example. Every politician worth his name has an engineering college. They had developed so much capacity without demand. I understand that there are 20000 to 30000 seats which are available as management quota is being surrendered. However there might be many state where the suppply could be more than the demand. However there is no central authority through whom a student could apply as education is a state subject.
our government is try hard to improve the level of education in Pakistan and this is what our Finance minister Shaukat Tareen has asked just recently to US to take care and supervise our education system. you can find it here..
Here's an excerpt from an editorial in Nature Magazine on Pakistan's Higher Ed:
Massive funding for Pakistan's ailing universities holds many lessons for other developing nations.
Eight years ago, a task force advising Pakistan's former military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, laid out a bold plan to revitalize the country's moribund research system: initiate a fivefold increase in public funding for universities, with a special emphasis on science, technology and engineering. The proposal was a radical departure from conventional wisdom on the economics of developing nations, which favours incremental investments. Sudden surges of cash are held to be dangerous in poorer countries, which often lack the institutions or the calibre of people required to make the most of such a windfall, and the money can easily be wasted or fall prey to corruption.
Nature Editorial Contd:
Nonetheless, Musharraf agreed to the proposal. The reforms began in 2003. And the results, which have now earned a qualified thumbs-up from a group of experts in science and education policy (see page 38), offer some valuable lessons for other developing nations.
First, conventional wisdom isn't always right. Despite early doubts that Musharraf's autocratic regime could allocate the new funds effectively, the experts cite initiatives such as a free national digital library and high-speed Internet access for universities as examples of success, as well as new scholarships enabling more than 2,000 students to study abroad for PhDs — with incentives to return to Pakistan afterwards. And they acknowledge that the years of reform have coincided with increases in the number of Pakistani authors publishing in research journals, especially in mathematics and engineering, as well as boosting the impact of their research outside Pakistan.
Second, human capital matters. One concern raised by the report published in this issue is that the 3,500 candidates for Pakistan's new domestic PhD programmes have had lower qualifications than the candidates going abroad. But that is a situation that should correct itself over time as Pakistan's schools improve. For the time being, the more important point is that Pakistan has opened up the chance of a research degree to many more people than in the past — including those who do not have wealthy families, or access to influential people, or good skills in European languages. Harnessing those reserves of talent is an integral part of any nation's development.
Finally, accountability is essential. This was not a priority for the architects of Pakistan's educational reform, partly because they were working for an autocratic regime, and partly because they were in too much of a hurry. The government seemed to be living on borrowed time, Musharraf's science adviser, Atta-ur-Rahman, has recalled. On the one hand, politicians, judges and lawyers were pressing for a return to democracy; on the other, the influence of the Pakistani Taliban was increasing. Suicide bombers twice tried to assassinate Musharraf — once by blowing up his motorcade as he returned from making a speech to scientists. If the reformers didn't get their programme in place quickly, they feared they might not get it in place at all.
The result, however, is that the body created to implement the reforms, the Higher Education Commission, has operated with minimal oversight by academics, parliamentarians or anyone else. There has been some waste, although no one has yet accused the commission of egregious abuses of power. But it has exhibited blind spots that an outside influence might have corrected — notably a total lack of investment in the social sciences and policy research, disciplines that encourage the asking of questions that autocratic regimes frequently dislike answering.
This must change. Pakistan is no longer a dictatorship. The elected government, under President Asif Ali Zardari, has expressed cautious support for continuing Musharraf's education reforms. It therefore has an opportunity to build on their successes and correct their shortcomings — starting with an independent review of the commission's performance.
India is opening up its education sector to foreigners. Here is a Time story:
For decades, foreign universities have been an integral part of India's higher education. Whiz kids across the country with the financial means have left for highly regarded global universities to study. Many never return, taking both their tuition money and their talent overseas. More than 160,000 students are currently studying in schools in the U.S., Australia, Britain and elsewhere. Over 100,000 pack up and head to study abroad every year, spending $7 billion on tuition and housing.
But what if big foreign universities like Yale, MIT, Stanford, Columbia Business School and the London School of Economics could set up campus in India? India's new Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, wants to make that happen. Sibal intends to have new laws in place by next July that would open up India's heavily regulated educational system to foreign players, with a goal of building a skilled pool of local managers and workers to help run an economy that continues to grow at a rate of 6.7%. Sibal also intends to make this new wave of higher education accessible to a larger swath of students, having foreign schools reserve over a quarter of their seats for India's economically disadvantaged. "If India wants to be a world-class educational hub, then we need access to global institutions," said Sibal early in July.
I would take these rankings with a large helping of salt.
Germany is conspicuous by its absence as is Russia but australia has 7 entries.Why?
Because in Germany major research is done in Max Plak and Fraunhoffer institutes even most of continental europe is absent due to similar reasons.
Dr. Hoodbhoy has been harshly critical of fraud in Pakistan's academia in terms of fake research and plagiarism in paper publication. Here is an excerpt from a NY Times report about fakery in China:
China devotes significant resources to building a world-class education system and pioneering research in competitive industries and sciences, and has had notable successes in network computing, clean energy, and military technology. But a lack of integrity among researchers is hindering China’s potential and harming collaboration between Chinese scholars and their international counterparts, scholars in China and abroad say.
“If we don’t change our ways, we will be excluded from the global academic community,” said Zhang Ming, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. “We need to focus on seeking truth, not serving the agenda of some bureaucrat or satisfying the desire for personal profit.”
Pressure on scholars by administrators of state-run universities to earn journal citations — a measure of innovation — has produced a deluge of plagiarized or fabricated research. In December, a British journal that specializes in crystal formations announced that it was withdrawing more than 70 papers by Chinese authors whose research was of questionable originality or rigor.
In an editorial published earlier this year, The Lancet, the British medical journal, warned that faked or plagiarized research posed a threat to President Hu Jintao’s vow to make China a “research superpower” by 2020.
“Clearly, China’s government needs to take this episode as a cue to reinvigorate standards for teaching research ethics and for the conduct of the research itself,” the editorial said. Last month a collection of scientific journals published by Zhejiang University in Hangzhou reignited the firestorm by publicizing results from a 20-month experiment with software that detects plagiarism. The software, called CrossCheck, rejected nearly a third of all submissions on suspicion that the content was pirated from previously published research. In some cases, more than 80 percent of a paper’s content was deemed unoriginal.
The journals’ editor, Zhang Yuehong, emphasized that not all the flawed papers originated in China, although she declined to reveal the breakdown of submissions. “Some were from South Korea, India and Iran,” she said.
The journals, which specialize in medicine, physics, engineering and computer science, were the first in China to use the software. For the moment they are the only ones to do so, Ms. Zhang said.
Plagiarism and Fakery
Her findings are not surprising if one considers the results of a recent government study in which a third of the 6,000 scientists at six of the nation’s top institutions admitted they had engaged in plagiarism or the outright fabrication of research data. In another study of 32,000 scientists last summer by the China Association for Science and Technology, more than 55 percent said they knew someone guilty of academic fraud.
Dr. Hoodbhoy has been harshly critical of fraud in Pakistan's academia in terms of fake research and plagiarism in paper publication. Here is an excerpt from Calcutta's Telegraph newspaper report about science fraud in India:
Some of India’s most respected scientists are accused of covering up wrongdoing by others. Not surprisingly, not everybody is happy with the SSV’s efforts. One scientist derisively calls it a “self-appointed watchdog” while another likens it to Don Quixote, charging at imaginary windmills.
Yet the evidence is out in the open. Physicist K.R. Rao, associate editor of Current Science, a peer-reviewed research journal published by the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, says he has detected 80 cases of plagiarism — major and minor — in articles submitted to the journal in recent years.
Earlier this year, chemistry professor P. Chiranjeevi at the Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, was punished for copying from others’ research. Repeated attempts to reach him failed, but a member of the investigating committee says Chiranjeevi denied any wrongdoing when he appeared before it. The committee indicted him, and Chiranjeevi was barred from holding administrative posts or taking new research students.
In October last year, a team of materials scientists from Anna University, Chennai, and the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, was found to have published a paper on ionic conductivity that was a copy of a previous paper by a Swedish team. But the one who hit the headlines was Raghunath Mashelkar, former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
In March 2007, Mashelkar admitted in a letter to the SSV that sections of a book he had co-authored on intellectual property rights had reproduced verbatim material from a paper by a British scholar without crediting him. “…I am highly embarrassed by this and I have decided to take some hard actions,” he wrote. He said he would stop further editions of the book and not take any personal gains from it.
A few months earlier, the US Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) retracted a research paper by Gopal Kundu and his colleagues at Pune’s National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS). Kundu was accused of using the same data or images relating to proteins in two unconnected articles submitted to the journal. Kundu holds there was “absolutely no wrongdoing” by his team. He says another international journal has accepted the data.
But the authorities are still wary of confronting such accusations. Three committees, for instance, looked into the Kundu affair. A seven-member panel of top scientists exonerated him despite JBC’s withdrawal of the paper. Panel chairman G. Padmanaban says the journal’s decision was not “wrong”, but “harsh”.
The inconsistency between the Padmanaban committee’s views and JBC’s decision to withdraw Kundu’s paper has prompted some scientists to take the issue up. Rahul Siddharthan, a physicist and computational biologist at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, says he stepped into the controversy with “a sense of deep indignation” at the way the committee decided to dispose of the case. He says the duplication — intentional or unintentional — of images is so “blatantly obvious” that he cannot understand how a top scientists’ committee can dismiss the charges.
Some scientists at Lucknow’s Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants have complained to the SSV that their director, Suman Preet Singh Khanuja, has been claiming credit for too many research papers. Since he took over as director in 2001, Khanuja has published more than 140 papers and staked his claim to at least 40 patents. Some question how a director can find time to produce on an average 20 research papers a year. A large number of the papers appeared in a journal produced by his institution and of which he is the chief editor.
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?
Here's a story about the promise of Danish Schools, a series of boarding schools being set up in Pakistani Punjab by the provincial govt of chief minister Sahbaz Sharif for the poor as an alteranative to the madrassa system:
Outside the window, a Pakistani flag flutters, inside, a teacher asks a group of 6th-grader girls and boys, “Who can make a food chain?” A girl comes up to the board and uses a pen as a mouse to click and drag an animated plant to the first box, a worm to the second and a bird to the third. “Excellent,” Says the teacher. She goes and sits down with a smile on her face.
This is not an ordinary board, it’s a smart board, the first of its kind in Pakistan, and this is no ordinary school. Inaugurated January 18th, The Danish School System at Rahim Yar Khan stands in stark contrast to the rural terrain of this Southern Punjab city. Children enrolled in this school have to fit a certain criteria, not just that they have to pass an entry test, but they have to either have a missing parent, or both parents, they have to have an illiterate parent and they must have a monthly income of less than USD 100 - they must belong in short to the forgotten class of Pakistan’s poor and minorities.
This is affirmative action, giving the underprivileged a chance to have a level playing field. But how real is it? For one, it has the clear support of the government of Punjab which has faced severe criticism from all quarters about the surge of 25 billion rupees invested in a series of these purpose-built campuses for both girls and boys all over Punjab. These critics claim that money could have been better spent elsewhere on better alternatives like building roads or canals.
The Danish Schools stands as an alternative to madrassa education because the school provides free lodging and boarding to all its students. It not only gives students a rounded education in the sciences and the arts but also provides social and extracurricular exposure. An on call psychologist also monitors each of the student’s behavior and has counseling sessions with the children and their parent or gurdian for a smooth transition into boarding life.
Despite the challenges, there is a certain spark and energy in the entire Danish school core committee headed by LUMS Provost, Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, and the teachers and students. At the inaugural ceremony, one child danced on Shakira’s Waka Waka, another child, Aasia Allah-Wasiah told a 500 odd gathering the story of her life, how she became an orphan and how Danish school was her only hope for a future.
Not all parents were this easily convinced of Danish School’s objectives. One asked the girls’ school principle, “Why would you give me back my child after giving her clothes and shoes and spending so much on her? I know this is a conspiracy to buy our children from us.”
Other parents objected to there being non-Muslim students eating in the same utensils. The management responded by saying “we all eat in the same plates as any Hindu or Christian boy because this school is for everyone equally.” Needless to say that Rahim Yar Khan, despite scattered industrial units is largely agrarian and the people are deeply influenced by the exclusivist brand of Wahabism.
With a meager amount of the GDP being spent on education, it is a positive sign to have politicians finally focus on this sector to secure their vote bank. With time the criticism towards these initiatives, such as the importance of Danish schools adopting the O-Levels system, may fine tune the programs into being more effective for the people. And especially those people who don’t have a voice.
The fundamental problems in South Asia are very different from problems in the West.
Solution to South Asian problems can not be found by aping the West...and original thinking is required to find such solutions.
Take individual liberties and rights for example.
The biggest beneficiaries of such rights are those few who have the power to enforce such rights for themselves through the use of the courts and the state apparatus, usually at the expense of the society at large. This situation leads to growing inequalities, and greater poverty for the majority.
Similarly, the western style capitalist economy encourages unrestrained growth in consumption...something that Asian nations with their massive populations and rapidly depleting natural resources can simply not afford.
No amount of cheap widget manufacturing, computer code writing and low-cost BPO services can solve these problems.
There is an estimate that it would take five times the resources of the planet earth for the rest the world to live as Americans do today.
What we need is to acknowledge that the developing world can not achieve the same standards of living as the OECD nations have without catastrophic destruction of the planet.
So what is the alternative? How do the Asians and the Africans achieve reasonable standards of living without destroying the planet? What political and economic system is needed to ensure equitable sharing of rapidly depleting resources of the earth?
These are the kinds of questions that need to be explored and answered by Asian intellectuals now.
Here's a NY Times story on how Azim Premji's foundation is helping improve primary education in India:
PANTNAGAR, India — The Nagla elementary school in this north Indian town looks like many other rundown government schools. Sweater-clad children sit on burlap sheets laid in rows on cold concrete floors. Lunch is prepared out back on a fire of burning twigs and branches.
But the classrooms of Nagla are a laboratory for an educational approach unusual for an Indian public school. Rather than being drilled and tested on reproducing passages from textbooks, students write their own stories. And they pursue independent projects — as when fifth-grade students recently interviewed organizers of religious festivals and then made written and oral presentations.
That might seem commonplace in American or European schools. But such activities are revolutionary in India, where public school students have long been drilled on memorizing facts and regurgitating them in stressful year-end exams that many children fail.
Outside of India, many may consider the country a wellspring of highly educated professionals, thanks to the many doctors and engineers who have moved to the West. And the legions of bright, English-speaking call-center employees may seem to represent, to many Western consumers, the cheerful voice of modern India.
But within India, there is widespread recognition that the country has not invested enough in education, especially at the primary and secondary levels.
In the last five years, government spending on education has risen sharply — to $83 billion last year, up from less than half that level before. Schools now offer free lunches, which has helped raise enrollments to more than 90 percent of children.
But most Indian schools still perform poorly. Barely half of fifth-grade students can read simple texts in their language of study, according to a survey of 13,000 rural schools by Pratham, a nonprofit education group. And only about one-third of fifth graders can perform simple division problems in arithmetic. Most students drop out before they reach the 10th grade.
Narayana Murthy, a friend of Mr. Premji and chairman of Infosys, a company that competes with Wipro, said he admired the Premji Foundation’s work but worried it would be undermined by the way India administers its schools.
“While I salute Azim for what he is doing,” Mr. Murthy said, “in order to reap the dividends of that munificence and good work, we have to improve our governance.”
Mr. Premji says his foundation would be willing to work with private schools. But he argues that government schools need help more because they are often the last or only resort for India’s poorest and least educated families.
Mr. Premji, whose bright white hair distinguishes him in a crowd, comes from a relatively privileged background. He studied at a Jesuit school, St. Mary’s, in Mumbai and earned an electrical engineering degree at Stanford.
At 21, when his father died, Mr. Premji took over his family’s cooking oil business, then known as Western Indian Vegetable Product. He steered the company into information technology and Wipro — whose services include writing software and managing computer systems — now employs more than 100,000 people. He remains Wipro’s largest shareholder.
After visitors left a classroom at Nagla school, an instructor began leading more than 50 fifth-grade students in a purely rote English lesson, instructing the students to repeat simple phrases: Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Good night. The children loudly chanted them back in unison.
Underfunding is pervasive in the district. But so are glimmers of the educational benefits that might come through efforts like the Premji Foundation’s.
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.
Here's a blog post about Qatar that speculates on OECD PISA scores of Qatari and immigrant students from India and Pakistan:
As I've noted before reforms in education will take a long time to bear fruit and it is important that those reforms include the earliest school years as that will impact the education of students in the later years. But what are the issues in Qatar's educational system? If you search my blog for PISA you'll find a few posts from last year that discuss the issue, one of which noting in detail some of the things I heard from both teachers and Qataris about how schooling works in the public sector, and it is definitely an eye-opener. That can't be the full story though. It was not only Qataris that were tested, students in the various private schools were also tested and Qatar has a large number of private schools: Indian curriculum, British curriculum, Pakistani curriculum American curriculum, French curriculum, even a Canadian school. I also don't think Qataris make up the majority of students in the country anymore given that Qataris only make up about 15% of the population, I speculate they are around 30% of the students due to the high birthrates amongst Qataris as well is the fact that many of the ex-pat workers do not have their families here. PISA likely tested students from all backgrounds.
Yet Qatar scored far lower than all of the OECD countries, and scored lower than other Arab nations such as Jordan and Tunisia. But if many of these kids went to private schools on Western curriculums one would have thought that at least a portion of the students would've scored around the levels of their home countries (unfortunately India, Pakistan, and major Arab countries like Egypt didn't participate in the PISA study so we have no idea how well those curriculums would do). This would imply that the public school students would've on average scored even lower than the Qatar average would suggest. While I have no data to back it up I can't believe that would be true -- Qatar public schools would have to be some of the worst on the planet for that to be right! The schools may have a number of issues based on what I've been told but I have met many Qataris and their education is certainly not that bad.
Here are some excerpts from a report of Pakistan's Higher Education Commission (HEC) under attack by crooked politicians:
ISLAMABAD: Parliament’s revenge against the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for its laudable role in identifying the fake degree holding MPs will not only destroy the higher education structure, built in decades, but also threatens huge and committed $550m (Rs47 billion) in foreign assistance.
Informed government sources told The News that the USAID had hinted on Friday of keeping on hold the committed $250 million assistance under the Kerry-Lugar Act to establish three centres of excellence besides pursuing certain other potential goals for higher education development in the country.
Already, the World Bank, which has only recently approved $300 million soft loan for the HEC to support its various programmes for the next five years, has verbally told the commission’s bosses to wait as the Bank is unsure about the future of the HEC.
The sources said that the USAID, in its communication with the HEC officials, has indicated of not doing the cost reimbursement PIL for the next six months because of a meeting the USAID had with the Economic Affairs Division, which has told the American agency that the HEC is going to be devolved.
Out of the $250 million, so far only $45 million has been transferred to the HEC by the USAID, which had agreed to hand over to the HEC all the education related programmes handled by the US Financial Assistance Development (FAD) programme. Now for the HEC officials, all the committed US aid for the HEC is frozen.
The sources said that under the USAID assistance programme, the HEC had designed to set up three centres of excellence (CoE), including the CoE in water resource at the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, the CoE in food security at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and the CoE in energy at the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar.
Already, as reported, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) would lose 300 million dollars of loan approved by the World Bank (WB) to support its various programmes for the next five years.
According to the report, the $300 million equivalent credit was supposed to finance the government’s tertiary education development programme. It is said that the loan deal would automatically come to an end after the devolution of the HEC due to some legal implications. “There is a clause in the agreement between the WB and HEC that any change in the legal status of the HEC would end the agreement at once,” the reporter quoted HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi as saying. This is a soft loan.
The HEC is facing the wrath of the parliamentarians after it had refused to accept any pressure for the verification of the MPs’ degrees, more than 50 of which have already been declared invalid whereas above 200 degrees were termed suspected.
The federal and provincial governments and members of parliament and provincial assemblies exerted all sorts of pressure on the HEC to stop it from the verification work but to no avail. Later, more than 200 MPs refused to cooperate despite the apex court’s decision, refusing to provide to the HEC or the universities concerned the details of their qualification certificates and degrees to stop their verification by the HEC.
In its meeting on March 28, 2011, the federal cabinet, instead of devolving all functions of the Education Ministry, decided to retain several of them at the federal level by assigning these functions to different ministries and divisions like the cabinet and foreign ministry.
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.
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.
Here's the story of two Indias by World Bank's managing director Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala:
India’s global profile is rising—from a slow-growing poor country to a burgeoning economic power:
· India grew fast before the crisis--9% per year--and has resumed fast growth--8.6% in the fiscal year that ended in March.
· India is globally recognized as a key player in the IT revolution, and in sectors as diverse as pharmaceutical, cement, steel and space
But there is also another India:
· India’s GNI per capita ($1170) is lower than that of 161 other countries. World Bank’s poverty numbers show 456 million people in India are poor—about one-third of the world’s poor, and more than in all of Sub-Saharan Africa.
· India lags significantly on health and nutrition targets: It is home to half of world’s underweight children, and it accounts for 1 in 5 maternal and child deaths worldwide.
· Social exclusion remains a stark reality—Scheduled Tribes lag twenty years behind the general population, Scheduled Castes ten years; gender norms can be quite restrictive and gender gap persists in realms such as child mortality and labor force participation.
The 9% growth hides an infrastructure crisis. Innovation in the private sector has often got around this—60% of firms and a large percentage of homes rely on back-up generation, and on an industry of logistical firms. But this has costs, and sooner or later infrastructure constraints will bite, and growth will slow, absent major change. This is especially true in urban areas.
PPPs are often hailed as a solution. Private participation in infrastructure took off in the early 1990s in telecoms and power supply. Highway, port, and airport concessions began to emerge in the late 1990s, with water supply and solid waste management following. We have been here before. In the 1990s Latin America had major infrastructural gaps, and PPPs were thought to be the solution (including by the World Bank). But gaps were effectively closed only in telecoms (which was not an issue for India) and in Chile (a small country with by far the best governance to manage private sector involvement). Elsewhere, there was insufficient private involvement, or private involvement that was high cost, often corrupt, and with frequent renegotiation to extract better deals from the state and society.
The lesson is that improving governance, and solving institutional problems, is unavoidable to improve infrastructure provision, and is necessary for effective private involvement.
The challenge here is so well-known that I do not need to dwell on it much. India has enormous untapped potential—productivity in Eastern states, for instance, is well below what it is in Punjab, and sustainability is an issue in states like Punjab.
V. Education: Focus on results, not inputs
The two Indias are very visible in education: Graduates of India's famed Institutes of Technology literally drive growth. But basic and secondary education are dismal. In fact, even in tertiary education quality is in islands of excellence, not widespread. The demographic dividend can turn into a demographic curse if the millions of young people entering the labor market every year are not equipped to take up the jobs that a fast-growing economy can create...
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.
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...
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).
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)....
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....
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.
Here's an excerpt from a Bloomberg piece written by Pankaj Mishra:
In the 1990s, the drive (Delhi-Simla) would take eight hours. In 2009, it took about 11, and this autumn it took almost 12. Stretches of the road, especially those near small cities, resembled four- lane highways anywhere in the world. Elsewhere, passing through roadside settlements, the road shrank to a single lane; and here the queues built up, the air grew thick with dust and exhaust, and road rage erupted out of even the air-conditioned vehicles.
The metaphor of highways has been deployed frequently to describe India’s potential, most famously by Thomas Friedman, who claimed in 2005 that India “is like a highway full of potholes,” but “off in the distance, the road seems to smooth out, and if it does, this country will be a dynamo.”
Like many other popular metaphors about India -- tiger, elephant, cellphone -- this one isn’t wholly mistaken. Indian highways rank highly among the infrastructure projects crucial to sustaining the country’s rapid economic growth (INQGGDPY), which is threatened by inflation, declining industrial production, a weakening currency (the rupee has dropped about 15 percent against the dollar this year) and corruption scandals that implicate some of India’s most well-known politicians and businessmen.
The question that Friedman asked in 2005 has grown more urgent: “Is that smoother road in the distance a mirage or the real thing?” Or, to put it differently: Did the perennial gap between illusion and reality somehow widen imperceptibly in the New India?
The answer to this question seemed obvious on the half- built highway to Delhi. The most conspicuous sights along the roadside were the placards for shiny new private educational institutions. They seem -- if you have never been inside one or met any of their alumni and looked only at the (misspelled) signboards promising professional success -- to be hectically preparing the basis for India’s “demographic dividend”: an overwhelmingly youthful population (WPOPINDI) that will soon become producers and consumers in the global economy.
In actuality, while most state-funded schools and colleges are barely functional, private education in India is largely a money-making racket. In September this year, a study of schools in the biggest states discovered that India’s peers in adult literacy are Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea.
Hundreds of millions of poorly educated and unemployable youth increasingly find themselves drawn to some peculiar forms of entrepreneurship. Twice on the highway from Shimla to Delhi, we were flagged down by groups of young men collecting “taxes.”
I have often come across these soft forms of banditry on the country roads of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, two of India’s poorest and most populous states. The only difference here was that the young men seemed better educated, more resourceful and authoritative. One of the groups that stopped us near the Indian capital, less than a mile from an authentic police checkpoint, even had a jeep with the words “Delhi Municipal Toll” painted on the windshield.
Bleak employment prospects and a general social breakdown - - of morality no less than law and order -- were pushing them into a career of crime. Their brazen modus operandi in one of the country’s richest regions hinted that India’s “demographic dividend” was more likely to boost crime rather than gross domestic product.
For most of the previous decade, many Indians have been spellbound by a vision of imminent national greatness, oblivious to the basic fact that no country without a substantial manufacturing base and skilled workforce has ever become an economic superpower.....
Here's a Financial Times Report on the inadequacy of India's primary education:
Primary education standards in India are as bad as in Papua New Guinea and crisis-torn Afghanistan and Yemen, according to a team of Indian development economists.
In a study of schools in the country’s most populous states they found that fast-paced economic growth has failed to improve India’s basic educational standards over the past 15 years. The Public Report on Basic Education Revisited showed some children were unable to read after three years of schooling across the Hindi-speaking northern belt.
“When the investigators arrived, half of the government schools were still devoid of any teaching activity,” the report said. “In a functioning democracy, this would be a major national concern. Yet little notice has been taken in the corridors of power.”
According to Jean Drèze, one of the report’s researchers and a prominent Indian policymaker, India now finds itself in an adult-literacy peer group that includes Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Yemen.
The ratio of students to teachers in Indian primary schools was three times higher than in China, with a typical class in Bihar, one of the poorest states, having as many as 92 pupils.
“After 20 years of meteoric economic growth, there’s been so little improvement in terms of the living standards of the people,” Mr Drèze said. “There’s a very serious crisis. We have to wake up to the fact that we are relying too heavily on economic growth.”
There are 5.5m teachers in India, but at least 1.2m more are required. “The reason there aren’t any teachers in school is because states have not recruited them for many years,” said Kapil Sibal, minister of Human Resources Development.
The report’s authors said that it had taken years to analyse and verify data collected in states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. One team member, A.K. Shiva Kumar, said that he and his colleagues had also reviewed educational data for the 2009-2010 year and found them to be “identical” to those of 2006.
The UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report for 2010 said Indians received just 4.4 years of schooling on average, compared with 7.5 years for China’s citizens. Sri Lanka outscores both with 8.2 years of schooling and is on par with China’s 99 per cent literacy rate for young female adults.
“Most developing countries are talking of [offering their children] 10 years of schooling,” said Mr Kumar, who is also a development economist and advises Unicef, the UN’s child welfare agency. “Here there’s lots of focus on growth rates but we are not looking at how India gets to 10 years of schooling.”
Meera Samson, a researcher at the Delhi-based Collaborative Research and Dissemination and report co-author, said head teachers had not been appointed at 20 per cent of the schools surveyed. At another 12 per cent of schools, only one teacher had been offered a position.
Last year, India’s parliament passed legislation requiring the state to provide universal education.
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.
Here are some excerpts from a piece by Lan Pritchett of Harvard University on India's poor performance on PISA:
Compared to the economic superstars India is almost unfathomably far behind. The TN/HP average 15 year old is over 200 points behind. If a typical grade gain is 40 points a year Indian eighth graders are at the level of Korea third graders in their mathematics mastery. In fact the average TN/HP child is 40 to 50 points behind the worst students in the economic superstars. Equally worrisome is that the best performers in TN/HP - the top 5 percent who India will need in science and technology to complete globally - were almost 100 points behind the average child in Singapore and 83 points behind the average Korean - and a staggering 250 points behind the best in the best.
As the current superpowers are behind the East Asian economic superstars in learning performance the distance to India is not quite as far, but still the average TN/HP child is right at the level of the worst OECD or American students (only 1.5 or 7.5 points ahead). Indians often deride America's schools but the average child placed in an American school would be among the weakest students. Indians might have believed, with President Obama, that American schools were under threat from India but the best TN/HP students are 24 points behind the average American 15 year old.
Even among other "developing" nations that make up the BRICs India lags - from Russia by almost as much as the USA and only for Brazil, which like the rest of Latin America is infamous for lagging education performance does India even come close - and then not even that close.
To put these results in perspective, in the USA there has been huge and continuous concern that has caused seismic shifts in the discourse about education driven, in part, by the fact that the USA is lagging the economic superstars like Korea. But the average US 15 year old is 59 points behind Koreans. TN/HP students are 41.5 points behind Brazil, and twice as far behind Russia (123.5 points) as the US is Korea, and almost four times further behind Singapore (217.5 vs 59) that the US is behind Korea. Yet so far this disastrous performance has yet to occasion a ripple in the education establishment.
These PISA 2009+ results are the end of the beginning. The debate is over. No one can still deny there is a deep crisis in the ability of the existing education system to produce child learning. India's education system is undermining India's legitimate aspirations to be at the global forefront as a prosperous economy, as a global great power, as an emulated polity, and as a fair and just society. As the beginning ends, the question now is: what is to be done?
Here's a story published in Fast Company about an "Education Revolution" in Pakistan:
TED Fellow, social entrepreneur and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is on a mission to foment Pakistan's education revolution.
The province of Sindh, where Obaid-Chinoy is based, decided less than two months ago to completely revamp public school textbooks, and the government enlisted Obaid-Chinoy to help. "There needs to be an overhaul," Obaid-Chinoy tells Fast Company. "Textbooks are outdated and I've been working with the government on how to encourage critical thinking and move away from rote memorization....It's tough, because the mindset is not there. The teachers are essentially products of the same system. We have to break the culture, which takes a long time."
Sindh's teachers now spend extensive time in professional training with education experts to try and reform the instruction of English, math, and social studies. "We're really making this a movement for education for social change," Obaid-Chinoy says.
"People are excited by it. Everyone's getting into it, rolling up their sleeves. We're trying to bridge the divide between the public and private school systems," which, she says, is at the heart of Pakistan's education challenges. The poorer schools are under-resourced and are often recruiting grounds for young terrorists. By improving the public education system, the less-fortunate children have a better shot at a solid future, away from terrorist groups, and local leaders hope to accomplish improvements by focusing on textbooks and teacher trainings.
"Pakistan also feels it needs to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of education and that was the genesis for the education overhaul," says Obaid-Chinoy. "Terrorism defines us today," but, she says, there was a time when the country was known for its vibrancy and sense of hope.
Obaid-Chinoy is doing her part in other ways to revamp Pakistan's education system. In 2007 she started CitizensArchive.org, the country's first digital archive documenting its oral history with interviews, rare photos, and other online collections. The initiative allows students in schools throughout Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India to better understand Pakistan and its history and Obaid-Chinoy was able to interview several notable figures who have since passed away, such as Deena Mistri, one of the country's first female educators. And students around South Asia are now engaged in learning exchanges with students in Pakistan, to help the countries build bridges.
And throughout her education work, Obaid-Chinoy's medium is often filmmaking. She makes about one film per year and has covered a range of topics from jihadi schools to female victims of acid attacks. Her next film will look at 9/11 through the eyes of different figures, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary this year.
"My mother gave up her dream of becoming a journalist when she got married and I think she always wanted to make sure that her six children pursued their dreams. I have four sisters and all of us work in male-dominated professions in Pakistan." And Obaid-Chinoy now brings that same sense of passion and justice to her work and thanks to her, her country may soon become a bright spot for global-minded education.
Here's Russian analyst Anatol Karlin on India's prospects and its comparison with China:
It is not a secret to longtime readers of this blog that I rate India’s prospects far more pessimistically than I do China’s. My main reason is I do not share the delusion that democracy is a panacea and that whatever advantage in this sphere India has is more than outweighed by China’s lead in any number of other areas ranging from infrastructure and fiscal sustainability to child malnutrition and corruption. However, one of the biggest and certainly most critical gaps is in educational attainment, which is the most important component of human capital – the key factor underlying all productivity increases and longterm economic growth. China’s literacy rate is 96%, whereas Indian literacy is still far from universal at just 74%.
The big problem, until recently, was that there was no internationalized student testing data for either China or India. (There was data for cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai, but it was not very useful because they are hardly representative of China). An alternative approach was to compare national IQ’s, in which China usually scored 100-105 and India scored in the low 80′s. But this method has methodological flaws because the IQ tests aren’t consistent across countries. (This, incidentally, also makes this approach a punching bag for PC enforcers who can’t bear to entertain the possibility of differing IQ’s across national and ethnic groups).
Many Indians like to see themselves as equal competitors to China, and are encouraged in their endeavour by gushing Western editorials and Tom Friedman drones who praise their few islands of programming prowess – in reality, much of which is actually pretty low-level stuff – and widespread knowledge of the English language (which makes India a good destination for call centers but not much else), while ignoring the various aspects of Indian life – the caste system, malnutrition, stupendously bad schools – that are holding them back. The low quality of Indians human capital reveals the “demographic dividend” that India is supposed to enjoy in the coming decades as the wild fantasies of what Sailer rightly calls ”Davos Man craziness at its craziest.” A large cohort of young people is worse than useless when most of them are functionally illiterate and innumerate; instead of fostering well-compensated jobs that drive productivity forwards, they will form reservoirs of poverty and potential instability.
Instead of buying into their own rhetoric of a “India shining”, Indians would be better served by focusing on the nitty gritty of bringing childhood malnutrition DOWN to Sub-Saharan African levels, achieving the life expectancy of late Maoist China, and moving up at least to the level of a Mexico or Moldova in numeracy and science skills. Because as long as India’s human capital remains at the bottom of the global league tables so will the prosperity of its citizens....
Pak threat to Indian science
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.
Here's Times of India on Indian textbook distortions about Pakistan:
Pakistan is a part of India and P V Narasimha Rao is the Prime Minister of the country, this is being taught to school students in some states, according to a member of Parliament.
AIADMK member S Semmalai highlighted this in Lok Sabha today while referring to the controversy over Ambedkar cartoon in CBSE textbooks during a discussion on Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Bill, 2011.
"In the CBSE textbooks of Karnataka, it is mentioned even now that Pakistan is a part of India. It went on to state that American constitution is based on capitalism. Class-III students of Urdu medium in Andhra Pradesh are taught that P V Narasimha Rao is the Prime Minister of the country," Semmalai said, evoking laughter all around the House.
Finding further faults with the textbooks, he said, "In the CBSE textbooks, a forest is defined as a group of trees and heavy industry is defined as one where heavy type of raw materials are used."
The member said that only 15 per cent of graduates are suitable for employment and it is a sorry state of affairs. It reflects the poor quality of education at all levels, from primary to higher levels.
He lamented, "If this is the quality and stuff that we provide to our students, one can imagine what will be the standard of our students.
"Unless we make concerted efforts to allocate six per cent of the GDP to education, our goal will remain unreachable," he added.
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.
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.
Here's a TOI story of dearth of research in India:
NEW DELHI: At a time when India is being looked at as the next big knowledge superpower, this could come as a shocker. Just 3.5% of global research output in 2010 was actually from India. In most disciplines, India's share in global research output was actually much below this overall average count.
Sample this - India's share of world research output in clinical medicine was a meagre 1.9% in 2010, 0.5% in psychiatry, 1.4% in neurosciences, 1.8% in immunology, 2.1% in molecular biology and just 3.5% in environmental research.
In mathematics, India's share of world output stood at around 2% in 2010 while it was 17% for China. In case of materials sciences, India's share of world research stood at 6.4% in 2010 while China's stood at 26% -- a rise from 5% in 1996.
While India's research on physics stood at 4.6% in 2010, China's stood at 19%.
In 2010, India's largest shares of world research output were in chemistry (6.5%), materials science (6.4%), agricultural sciences (6.2%), pharmacology and toxicology (6.1%), microbiology (4.9%), physics (4.6%) and engineering (4.2%).
India is often referred to as the next big place for computer sciences. But the figures on its research is abysmally low. Only 2.4% of global research on computer sciences was from India in 2010 while the world share moved to three emerging research economies - China 15%, Korea 6.3% and Taiwan 5.7%.
India's global share of research in economics stood at 0.7% in 2010 while in social sciences it was worse - 0.6%.
The biggest declines in volume of research between 1981 and 2010 were in plant and animal sciences (-2.2%) and agricultural sciences (-1.6%). The most significant expansions were in pharmacology and toxicology (+4.2%), microbiology (+3.2%) and materials sciences (+3.1%).
These are the findings of the study on India's research output and collaboration conducted by Thomson Reuters and recently submitted to the department of science and technology.
"India has been the sleeping giant of Asia. Research in the university sector, stagnant for at least two decades, is now accelerating but it will be a long haul to restore India as an Asian knowledge hub. Indian higher education is faced with powerful dilemmas and difficult choices - public/private, access/equity, uncertain regulation, different teaching standards and contested research quality," the report said.
According to it, India's share of world output in engineering fell from 4.3% in 1981 to 2.2% by 1995. India later regained its lost share, increasing to 4.25 by 2010. However, even then, India was overtaken by China (16.4%), Korea (5.4%) and Taiwan (4.4%).
India, where agriculture dominates economic standards, had quite a large share in agricultural sciences which averaged 7.45% over the 1981 to 1995 period, well ahead of other emerging research economies. Its share, however, fell to 6.2% in 2010. Even in the field of plant and animal sciences, the global research output fell from 6.1% in 1981 to 3.9% in 2010.
The report said, "India has a long and distinguished history as a country of knowledge, learning and innovation. In the recent past, however, it has failed to realize its undoubted potential as a home for world class research."
It added, "During the 1980s and 90s, the output of India's research was almost static while other countries grew rapidly, particularly in Asia. China expanded with an intensity and drive that led it rapidly to overtake leading European countries in the volume of its research publications. India is just beginning on this gradient."
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Finally, #India will produce fewer lousy, incapable engineers every year http://qz.com/506579 via @qzindia
India’s epidemic of lousy engineering colleges, which churned out millions of substandard engineers, may finally be ending.
The country’s technical education regulator, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), is planning to reduce over 600,000 engineering seats in colleges across India.
“We would like to bring it (engineering seats) down to between 10 lakh and 11 lakh (one million and 1.1 million) from a little over 16.7 lakh now,” Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairman of the AICTE, told the Mint newspaper.
The dismal quality of education at many of the country’s existing engineering colleges is one of the main reasons behind AICTE’s decision. The regulatory body plans to close down certain colleges and reduce the number seats in some others over the next few years.
“It is the colleges that are coming forward for closure. We are facilitating closure if the colleges are not able to manage with hardly 20-30% seats filled because these colleges become non-viable,” Sahasrabudhe told Quartz in an email.
This year alone, about 556 engineering courses or departments across colleges in India have closed down, according to AICTE.
The rise and fall of engineering
Engineering has been one of the most sought after professions in Asia’s third largest economy, where more than a million engineers graduate every year. India saw a boom in technical education after it opened up its economy in 1991, which allowed the IT sector to thrive.
The mid-1990s saw a huge spike in the number of engineering graduates, as the demand for them increased in sectors ranging from IT to infrastructure.
The phenomenal rise in engineering degrees also lead to a boom in the technical education sector with private colleges mushrooming all across the country. In the 2015 financial year, India had 3,389 graduate engineering colleges (pdf).
But the quality of engineering graduates in India is woeful. In fact, in 2011, Nasscom, the trade association of IT and business processing units, had estimated that only 25% of India’s IT engineering graduates were actually employable.
The result is that many graduates can’t find employment after earning their degrees. Last year, a study by Aspiring Minds (pdf), a firm that rates and evaluates employment, said that only 18.43% of the total engineers who graduate every year are employable in the IT sector. Only 7.49% are employable in core engineering jobs like mechanical, electronics and civil engineering.
Leading companies in technology and other sectors prefer to hire students only from a handful of engineering schools such as the the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and some private institutions.
#Modi's (and his cabinet's) poor education, #India's great educational divide fueling anti-#Muslim bigotry, hate?
Aatish Taseer Op Ed in NY Times:
In India, the Congress Party was liberal, left-leaning and secular; but it was also the party of the colonized elite. That meant that practically everyone who was rich, and educated, and grew up speaking English, was also invariably a supporter of Congress.
The cabinet, save for the rare exception, is made up of too many crude, bigoted provincials, united far more by a lack of education than anything so grand as ideology. At the time of writing — and here the one will have to speak for the many — Mr. Modi’s minister of culture had just said of a former Muslim president: “Despite being a Muslim, he was a great nationalist and humanist.”
Some 10 days later, there was the hideous incident in which a Muslim man was lynched by a Hindu mob in a village outside Delhi, on the suspicion of slaughtering a cow and eating beef. It was a defining moment, the culmination of 16 months of cultural chauvinism and hysteria under Mr. Modi, the scarcely veiled target of which are India’s roughly 170 million Muslims. This ugliness is eclipsing Mr. Modi’s development agenda, and just this week, there was yet another incident in which a Kashmiri politician was attacked in Srinagar for hosting “a beef party.”
Poisonous as these attitudes are, they have much more to do with class than politics. They are so obviously part of the vulgarity that accompanies violent social change. If the great drama of our grandparents’ generation was independence, and our parents’ that post-colonial period, ours represents the twilight of the (admittedly flawed) English-speaking classes, and an unraveling of the social and moral order they held in place. A new country is seething with life, but not all vitality is pretty, and there now exists a glaring cultural and intellectual gap between India’s old, entrenched elite and the emerging electorate.
In other places, education would have helped close the gap; it would have helped the country make a whole of the social change it was witnessing. No society is so equitable that men as economically far apart as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — or as Ed Miliband and David Cameron, for that matter — would have attended the same schools. But, in England and America, there is Oxford and Yale to level the field, to give both men the means to speak to each other.
This is not true of India. In India, one class has had access to the best private schools and foreign universities, where all the instruction is in English; the other has had to make do with the state schools and universities Indian socialism bequeathed them. The two classes almost never meet; they don’t even speak the same language. It has left India divided between an isolated superelite (and if you’re an Indian reading this, you’re probably part of it!) and an emerging middle class that may well lack the intellectual tools needed to channel its vitality.
In another society, with the benefit of a real education, Mr. Modi might have been something more than he was. Then it would be possible to imagine a place with real political differences, and not one in which left and right were divided along the blade of a knife by differences in class, language and education. But just as that other society does not yet exist, neither does that other Modi. Indians will have to make do with the Modi they have; and, as things stand, perhaps the cynics are right: Perhaps this great hope of Indian democracy, with his limited reading and education, is not equal to the enormous task before him.
Over 80% of #engineering graduates in #India unemployable: Study. #Modi #BJP http://toi.in/gj-gBY via @toi_tech
ere seems to be a significant skill gap in the country as 80% of the engineering graduates are "unemployable," says a report, highlighting the need for an upgraded education and training system.
Educational institutions train millions of youngsters but corporates often complain that they do not get the necessary skill and talent required for a job.
According to Aspiring Minds National Employability Report, which is based on a study of more than 1,50,000 engineering students who graduated in 2015 from over 650 colleges, 80% of the them are unemployable.
"Engineering has become the de-facto graduate degree for a large chunk of students today. However, along with improving the education standards, it is quintessential that we evolve our undergraduate programmes to make them more job centric," Aspiring Minds CTO Varun Aggarwal said.
In terms of cities, Delhi continues to produce the highest number of employable engineers, followed by Bengaluru and the western parts of the country, the report said.
#India’s climb to world's top 100 #universities not easy, but it can rise. #education https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/philip-altbach-indias-passage-might-not-be-simple-but-it-can-climb-to-elite-tier … via @timeshighered
Late last year, India’s president, Pranab Mukherjee, told a conference on industry-academic interaction that if India provides “enough funds to [the] top 10 to 15 institutions for the next four to five years, these institutions will certainly storm into the top 100 of global academic rankings within [the] next few years”. Unfortunately, his optimism is misplaced. That laudable goal will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the short or medium term.
India’s higher education and research sectors have, for decades, been underfunded, especially in view of the tremendous growth in student numbers. Compared with the other BRIC countries, the proportion of Indian gross domestic product spent on education – 4.1 per cent – is second to Brazil. But India is bottom for research expenditure, committing just 0.8 per cent of its GDP, and it educates the lowest proportion of the relevant age group. So despite now having the largest higher education system in the world after China, the public and political clamour for more expansion is immense.
Indian higher education is also poorly organised to create world-class universities. No state government has a vision to do so, and none provides adequate funding to maintain high standards. The central universities are better funded and do not share with the state universities any of the immense, globally unique responsibility for supervising India’s 36,000 colleges. But they are still beset by a range of factors that make institutional change extraordinarily difficult. These include excessive bureaucracy, a promotion system that pays little attention to productivity and the occasional intrusion of local politics on to campus. This explains India’s tendency, when it wants to innovate in the sector, to create new institutions, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research or the Indian Institutes of Management. But doing this requires time and immense resources – and leaves the vast majority of the system wallowing in mediocrity.
Whatever the approach, creating world-class universities requires careful thought and planning, as well as considerable funding over the long run. India will need to consider whether it has the resources. If recognition in the global rankings is a goal, the challenges are even greater because the rankings are a moving target. There can be only 100 institutions in the top 100, and several other countries, such as Russia, Japan and China, are also spending big on their top universities. India is very much a latecomer to the world-class party.
Jamil Salmi and I analysed the experiences of 10 successful new universities in our 2011 book The Road to Academic Excellence: The Making of World-Class Research Universities. We found that while money is necessary, other elements are just as vital. One is a governance model that involves significant participation from – but not total control by – academics. Another is strong leadership: not only a visionary president but also competent administrative staff able to implement the university’s mission. A third element is enough autonomy to prevent the interference of governmental or private authorities, combined with reasonable accountability to external agencies. A fourth is top academic staff who are committed to the university’s mission (including teaching), paid adequately and provided with appropriate career ladders. Also important are academic freedom, highly qualified and motivated students, and a firm commitment to meritocracy at all levels.
#India's population explosion will make or break its economy. Not enough jobs and huge skills gap #BJP http://cnnmon.ie/1V1p0FL via @CNNMoney
unless India makes big improvements in how it educates and trains students, this demographic boom could instead saddle the country with another generation of unskilled workers destined to languish in low-paying jobs.
The need to train workers up -- and quickly -- is paramount. Currently only 2% of India's workers have received formal skills training, according to Ernst & Young. That compares with 68% in the U.K., 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea.
It's a problem spread across industries. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors estimates that in 2010, India needed nearly 4 million civil engineers, but only 509,000 professionals had the right skills for the jobs. By 2020, India will have only 778,000 civil engineers for 4.6 million slots.
There is a similar gap among architects. India will have only 17% of the 427,000 professionals it needs in 2020.
The problem? The RICS found that India's education and professional development system has not kept pace with economic growth and is in "dire need for reform."
In industry after industry, the same story is repeated. A recent survey by Aspiring Minds, which tracks workforce preparedness, found that more than 80% of India's engineering graduates in 2015 were "unemployable."
"The quality of training offered in most colleges is not at par with the high demands generated by tech industries," said Preet Rustagi, a labor economist at the Institute for Human Development. "There is no regulatory body that keep checks on the quality of education."
Critics say India's universities are too focused on rote memorization, leaving students without the critical thinking skills required to solve problems. Teachers are paid low salaries, leading to poor quality of instruction. When students are denied entry to prestigious state schools, they often turn to less rigorous private colleges.
"When IT industries boomed in India a few years ago, many below-the-mark private colleges emerged to cater to their needs," said Alakh N. Sharma, director at the Institute for Human Development.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is racing to provide workers with training. His government is recruiting skills instructors, and turning old schools into learning centers. Programs strewn across various government agencies are being consolidated. Companies in the private sector are pitching in to help provide training.
The most pressing need, however, might be in primary education. Pupils in India are expected to perform two-digit subtraction by the age of seven, but only 50% are able to correctly count up to 100. Only 30% of the same students are able to read a text designed for five-year-olds, according to education foundation Pathram.
If the country's unique demographics are to pay dividends, improvement is a lesson to be learned quickly.
How bad are most of #India's medical schools? Very, according to new reports. #highereducation #health #MEDICINE
In a country with the world's heaviest health burden, and highest rates of death from treatable diseases like diarrhea, tuberculosis and pneumonia, corruption at medical schools is an extremely pressing issue. The Indian Medical Association estimates that nearly half of those practicing medicine in the country do not have any formal training, but that many of those who claim to be qualified may actually not be.
a couple of recent studies and reports have cast serious doubts on the quality and ethics of the country's vast medical schooling system. The most recent revealed that more than half of those 579 didn't produce a single peer-reviewed research paper in over a decade (2005-2014), and that almost half of all papers were attributed to just 25 of those institutions.
The 2011 court case against a man, Balwant Arora, was one of the earlier indications of the massive levels of fraud. Arora brazenly admitted to issuing more than 50,000 fake medical degrees at around $100 apiece from his home, saying that each of the recipients had "some medical experience" and that he was doing it in service to a country that desperately needs more doctors. He had served four months in jail in 2010 for similar offences.
Private medical colleges have proliferated rapidly in India. When in 1980 there were around 100 public colleges and 11 private, the latter now outnumber the former by 215 to 183. Most are run by businessmen with no medical experience. Last January, the British Medical Journal found that many private medical colleges charged "capitation" fees, which are essentially compulsory donations required for admission. Jeetha D'Silva, who authored that report, wrote, "Except for a few who get into premier institutions of their choice purely on merit, many students face Hobson's choice — either pay capitation to secure admission at a college or give up on the dream of a medical degree."
The best public medical colleges have acceptance rates that are minuscule, even compared to Ivy League universities. Those colleges also tend to be the ones that produce the most research papers, as well as handle the most patients, which would seem to eliminate the possible excuse that overwhelming patient burdens prevent private colleges from producing valuable research.
The most productive medical college in India is also its largest public health institution, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, or AIIMS. In the 10-year period that Samiran Nundy and his colleagues examined, AIIMS published 11,300 research papers. For context, that is about a quarter of what Massachusetts General Hospital produced in the same time frame.
#India’s largest Amity U. is expanding to #US, and #American officials are ‘very, very skeptical' http://read.bi/2dNaGzg via @bi_strategy
"We are very, very skeptical about this," said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is asking the state's Board of Higher Education to block the sale. "It's hard to imagine that this outfit from overseas, which has never done any education work here in this country, is well-suited to provide any kind of education to these students."
Amity hopes a U.S. campus will attract students from abroad who want to gain the prestige that comes with studying in the United States. It also hopes to forge research partnerships with other colleges, and to connect foreign scholars with their counterparts here.
"We have a global vision for education, a model of education which allows for student mobility, faculty collaboration and research collaboration," said Aseem Chauhan, Amity's chancellor. "We believe that the leaders of tomorrow will be those who have perspectives from different parts of the world."
Owned by a nonprofit company, the chain offers bachelor's and graduate degrees in a range of fields, from art to engineering. It enrolls 125,000 students at more than a dozen campuses, and has grown rapidly amid rising demand for higher education in India.
Its founder president, Ashok Chauhan, was charged with fraud in the 1990s by authorities in Germany, where he ran a network of companies. He returned to India and was never extradited. A plastics company in the U.S. also sued Chauhan in 1995 for failing to pay $20 million in debts, which led to an ongoing court battle in India. Amity officials said Chauhan is not involved in the U.S. expansion. The university is now in the hands of his sons, Aseem Chauhan and Atul Chauhan.
Some in the U.S. say the school is more similar to a for-profit college than a traditional four-year university.
"They are a subsidiary of a conglomerate of companies," said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State College and Universities. "This is by no means reassuring, if you ask me."
Aseem Chauhan counters that Amity has an "excellent and exceptional" track record of student outcomes, although he declined to provide the statistics.
Capgemini #India chief says 65% of #Indian #IT employees not trainable. #software #computers http://ecoti.in/4ipkja via @economictimes
"I am not very pessimistic, but it is a challenging task and I tend to believe that 60-65 per cent of them are just not trainable," Capgemini India's chief executive Srinivas Kandula said here over the weekend.
The domestic arm of the French IT major employs nearly one lakh engineers in the country.
"A large number of them cannot be trained. Probably, India will witness the largest unemployment in the middle level to senior level," he said at the annual Nasscom le ..
Read more at:
#India's #software engineers cheapest but of poor quality. #SiliconValley most expensive. #bangalore https://qz.com/938495/bengaluru-indias-silicon-valley-offers-the-cheapest-engineers-but-the-quality-of-their-talent-is-another-story/ …
Bengaluru’s startup ecosystem is what it is because of its engineers.
With an average annual salary of $8,600, engineers in India’s tech hub cost 13 times less than their Silicon Valley counterparts, according to the 2017 Global Startup Ecosystem Report released on March 14. The city is home to the world’s cheapest crop of engineers, with the average annual pay of a resident software engineer falling well below the global figure of $49,000.
And companies, Indian and otherwise, choose to work out of Bengaluru because it is the most cost-efficient.
Not only has the tech center nurtured startups like Flipkart and Big Basket, it is also home to big foreign firms like Uber and Amazon.
However, the city’s talent pool poses challenges in access and quality. For the most part, “engineers haven’t been hired very quickly, experience is average, and visa success is low,” the report says. “The quality and professionalism of resources is also questionable in many cases,” Abhimanyu Godara, founder of US-based chatbot startup Bottr.me, which has a development team in Bangalore, said in the report.
The city, home to between 1,800 and 2,300 active startups, also has the youngest tech talent among all startup ecosystems.
Overall, Bengaluru bagged the 20th spot out of 55 cities when evaluated on parameters such as performance, funding, market research, talent, and startup experience by research firm Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Despite dropping five ranks from last year, it remains India’s favorite tech hub.
Less than 5% of #India engineers are cut out for high-skill programming jobs — Quartz #h1bvisa #SiliconValley
When considering Indian engineering talent, quantity trumps quality.
Indian universities may be churning out the world’s largest engineering population, but the graduates’ skills levels aren’t high. In 2011, India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies estimated that only 25% of India’s IT engineering graduates were employable. Six years on, the talent pool is still in dire straits.
“Only 4.77% candidates can write the correct logic for a program, a minimum requirement for any programming job,” a recent Aspiring Minds study of over 36,000 engineering students in India revealed. The employability assessment company tested students from IT-related streams of study at more than 500 colleges across India on Automata, a machine learning-based assessment of software development skills.
“The IT industry requires maintainable code so that it is less prone to bugs, is readable, reusable and extensible,” the study notes. “Time efficient code runs fast.” Only 1.4% of programmers surveyed could create code that was functionally correct and efficient, meaning it does what it’s supposed to do and in a reliable and speedy manner.
More than two-thirds of the candidates from the top 100 universities in the country were able to write “compilable code,” or that which does not throw errors when compiled into machine-readable code. In the rest of the colleges, only 31% of students were able to write compilable code.
One reason for the poor performance is the dearth of good instructors as well as misaligned college curriculums. “The school curriculum focusing on MS-Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc., rather teaching programming using elementary languages such as Basic and Logo is also the culprit,” said Varun Aggarwal, the co-founder and chief technology officer at Aspiring Minds.
More of #India's #IT engineers are under-skilled, unwanted, unemployed #h1b #Wipro #Cognizant #Infosys https://qz.com/965291 via @qzindia
These are difficult days for Indian techies, and it’s not going to get much better.
On April 21, reports suggested that Wipro, India’s third-largest information technology (IT) company, has laid off up to 600 employees. Meanwhile, US-based Cognizant is reportedly considering laying off 6,000 in India, where the bulk of its workforce is stationed. Earlier this year, Infosys, the country’s second-largest IT firm, acknowledged that it was “releasing” nearly 2,000 employees every quarter, and cutting back on recruitment.
And this may be only the beginning of the bloodbath.
For some time now, the $150-billion Indian IT industry, which directly and indirectly employs some 10 million people, has been bracing for a crisis. India could lose 640,000 low-skilled jobs in the industry by 2021, HfS Research, which analyses business operations and IT services, had warned in 2016. This was mainly because non-customer facing positions such as IT support jobs would likely be automated.
In a February 2017 study, consulting firm McKinsey estimated that about half of the 3.9 million employees of Indian IT services companies would become “irrelevant” within the next four years, again thanks to automation. And NASSCOM, the Indian IT industry’s trade lobby, also expects at least a 20% reduction in jobs available in the sector over the next three years.
“We are looking at re-skilling one million people because new technologies are reshaping the job market,” Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice-president at NASSCOM, told Moneycontrol News. “While the industry will remain a net hirer, the pace of job creation has come down.”
But re-skilling at that scale is easier said than done. Some 65% of the workforce in the sector just cannot be re-trained, reckoned Srinivas Kandula, head of French IT company Capgemini’s Indian operations. “Probably, India will witness the largest unemployment in the middle level to senior level,” Kandula, who has around 100,000 employees in the country, said at a NASSCOM event in February.
#India’s worst engineers come from #Hyderabad, the city that sends the most STEM students to the #US https://qz.com/977850 via @qzindia
Hyderabad, the southern Indian city that sends the largest number of STEM students to the US, is home to India’s worst techies, a study has noted.
Software engineers from the city lag much behind those from other Indian cities when it comes to programming skills, a recent Aspiring Minds study of over 36,000 engineering students in India showed. The employability assessment company tested students from IT-related streams at over 500 colleges across India on Automata, a machine learning-based assessment of software development skills.
The study analysed students on their programming skills, practices, and ability to handle runtime complexity—the time taken to run a program. Hyderabad had a total score of just 3.49 on 100 while New Delhi had 23.48 and the Mumbai and Pune regions together had a score of 17.51.
Hyderabad, home to over 6.8 million people, is the common capital of two Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Over the past decade or so, it has turned into a hub for thousands of students aspiring to enter the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology. Between 2008 and 2012, it sent over 26,000 students to the US, most pursuing science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degrees, a Brookings Institution report (pdf) said.
“Hyderabad, India, sent the largest number of STEM students (20,800) to the United States and ranked fourth for the percentage of its students pursuing a STEM degree (80%) during the 2008-2012 period,” the report said. “Notably, 91% of students from Hyderabad are studying for a master’s degree, versus only 4% for a bachelor’s degree.”
In 2015—the year for which the latest data is available—the US government issued around 60,000 visas to Indian students, with a large number being issued by the US consulate general in Hyderabad.
India is believed to be churning out the world’s largest number of engineers every year at over one million, but the graduates’ skill levels have remained poor. “Only 4.77% candidates can write the correct logic for a program, a minimum requirement for any programming job,” the Aspiring Minds study had noted.
“Lack of programming skills is adversely impacting the IT and data science ecosystems in India,” Varun Aggarwal, a co-founder at Aspiring Minds said. “The world is moving towards introducing programming to three-years-olds. India needs to catch up.”
#India's #IIT professor says 'ghosts exist', claims to have driven out 'evil spirits' via chants. Behera teaches Electrical Engineering. He has a PhD from IIT #Delhi. His specialities include #robotics and Artificial Intelligence (#AI) #Hindutva #BJP #Modi https://www.timesnownews.com/the-buzz/article/iit-mandi-director-prof-laxmidhar-behera-says-ghosts-exist-claims-to-have-driven-out-evil-spirits-via-chants/849746
KEY HIGHLIGHTSProfessor Laxmidhar Behera, Director of IIT Mandi, said that "ghosts exists"In a video, he claimed that he went to Chennai in 1993 to drive out "evil spirits" from his friend's house and familyHe said that he chanted holy mantras in his apparent act of exorcism
A video of the newly appointed Director of IIT Mandi, Professor Laxmidhar Behera, talking about his apparent act of exorcism to get rid of "evil spirits" from his friend's house by chanting holy mantras has surfaced online.
In the five-minute video, Behera recalled the 1993 incident when he travelled to Chennai to help a friend who was in distress as his "family was affected by ghosts".
The professor said that he had started "practising the thoughts and wisdom in the Bhagavad Gita" along with chanting the 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' mantra. He said that he had decided to help his friend to "demonstrate the potency of the holy name", The Indian Express reported.
"So I took two of my friends and reached at 7 pm. He was in a research scholar apartment. After 10-15 minutes of loud chanting, we suddenly saw his father, who was a very short... person, absolutely old, barely able to walk, and suddenly his hand and leg was... he was creating such a ghastly dance and his head is almost touching the roof. You could feel that he is being completely devoured by the evil spirit," Behera said in the video.
He added that the mother and wife of the friend were later "possessed by the evil spirit'. It took them around "45 minutes to an hour" of loud chanting to ward off the "evil spirit", he said.
The video was posted seven months ago on a YouTube channel named "Learn Gita Live Gita". The tagline of the channel is "Project by IITIANS who live Gita."
Behera told IE, "I narrated what I said. Ghosts exist, yes."
Behera is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He has done PhD from IIT Delhi and his areas of speciality are robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
A Babar Azam cover drive question appears in Pakistani physics book, PIC goes viral
Here's the question: "Babar Azam has hit a cover drive by given kinetic energy of 150J to the ball by his bat. a) At what speed will the ball go the boundary if the mass of the ball is 120g? b) How much kinetic energy footballer must impart to a football of mass 450g to make it move at this speed?" says the question that has been widely shared on social media platforms."
The picture of this question in the book has gone viral on the internet with some fans even trying to find the answer.
(Picture shows the following kinetic energy = 0.5x mass x velocity squared. 120 grams ball driven with 150 joules energy achieves 50 meters/sec speed)
Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy says IITs have become victims to rote learning due to coaching classes
As more and more students leave India for higher studies, Infosys founder Narayana Murthy proposed that governments and corporates should “incentivise” researchers with grants and provide facilities to work here. “The 10,000 crore per year grants for universities under the New Education Policy will help institutions become competitive", he said.
Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy on Tuesday expressed concern over India’s education system saying that even the IITs are becoming a victim of learning by rote due to the “tyranny of coaching classes.” Murthy suggested that our education system needs a reorientation directed towards Socratic questioning.
The Infosys founder, who himself is an IIT alumnus, batted for Socratic questioning in the classroom in order to arrive at solutions to real-world issues. “Many experts feel that (in) our country, (there is an) inability to use research to solve our immediate pressing problems around us… (this) is due to lack of inculcating curiosity at an early age, disconnect between pure or applied research," he said.
As to what could be done to solve this, the 76-year-old suggested that the first component is to reorient teaching in schools and colleges towards Socratic questioning in the classroom to solve real-world problems rather than passing the examinations by rote learning. Socrates was a fifth century (BCE) Greek philosopher credited as the founder of Western philosophy.
Speaking at the 14th edition of the Infosys Prize event in Bengaluru, Murthy said that the nation’s progress on the economic and social front depends on the quality of scientific and technological research. Research thrives in an environment of honour and respect for intellectuals, meritocracy and the support and approbation of such intellectuals from society, he noted.
Education system leading India down the hole - The Hans India
Jun 28, 2021 — India was placed at 59th rank among 64 countries in education. They have also said that youth unemployment increased from 10.4 percent to 23.0 ...
Learning poverty: Education crisis in India - Sentinelassam
Revamp of Indian learning needed, says Narayana Murthy
Nov 15, 2022 — A reorientation of the Indian education system is needed which is more directed towards Socratic questioning other than just rote learning, according to Infosys Founder NR Narayana Murthy.
"The first component is to reorient our teaching in schools and colleges towards Socratic questioning, in the classroom to solve real world problems around them rather than passing the examinations by rote learning," said Murthy while speaking at the Infosys Prize announcement event in Bengaluru.
"Even our top institutions have become victims of this syndrome. Thanks to the tyranny of coaching classes," he said.
Worthless Degrees Are Creating an Unemployable Generation in India
Business is booming in India’s $117 billion education industry and new colleges are popping up at breakneck speed. Yet thousands of young Indians are finding themselves graduating with limited or no skills, undercutting the economy at a pivotal moment of growth.
Desperate to get ahead, some of these young people are paying for two or three degrees in the hopes of finally landing a job. They are drawn to colleges popping up inside small apartment buildings or inside shops in marketplaces. Highways are lined with billboards for institutions promising job placements.
Around the world, students are increasingly considering the return on degree versus cost. Higher education has often sparked controversy globally, including in the US, where for-profit institutions have faced government scrutiny. Yet the complexities of education in India are clearly visible.
It has the world’s largest population by some estimates, and the government regularly highlights the benefits of having more young people than any other country. According to a study by talent assessment firm Wheebox, half of all graduates in India are unemployed in the future due to problems in the education system.
Many businesses say they have difficulty recruiting because of the mixed quality of education. This has kept unemployment at a high level of over 7%, even though India is the fastest growing major economy in the world. Education is also becoming a big issue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he tries to attract foreign manufacturers and investors from China. Modi vowed to create lakhs of jobs in his campaign speeches, and the issue is likely to be hotly debated in the 2024 national elections.
“We face a challenge in hiring as the specific skill sets required by the industry are not readily available in the market,” said Yashwinder Patial, Director, Human Resources, MG Motor India.
The complications of the country’s education boom are visible in cities like Bhopal, a metropolis of about 2.6 million in central India. Huge hoardings of private colleges are ubiquitous, promising degrees and jobs to young people. One such advertisement said, “Regular classes and better placements: We need to say more.”
It is difficult to resist such promises for millions of young men and women dreaming of a better life in India’s dismal job scenario. Higher degrees, once accessible only to the wealthy, hold a special hold for young people from middle- and low-income families in India. Students interviewed by Bloomberg cited a variety of reasons for investing in more education, ranging from attempting to boost their social status to improving their marriage prospects to applying for government jobs, for which applicants are required to pay. Degree certificate is required.
Twenty-five-year-old Tanmay Mandal, a Bhopal resident, paid $4,000 for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He was convinced that a degree was a path to a good job and a better lifestyle. He was not bothered by the high fees for his family, whose monthly income is only $420. Despite the cost, Mandal says he learned almost nothing about construction from teachers who appeared to have insufficient training themselves. He could not answer technical questions in job interview and is unemployed for the last three years.
Mandal said, ‘I wish I had studied in a better college.’ “Many of my friends are also sitting idle without jobs,” Mandal said. He still hasn’t given up. Even though he did not find his final degree useful, he wants to avoid the stigma of being unemployed and sitting idle. So, he has signed up for a master’s degree in another private institution as he believes that more degrees can at least raise his social status.
Worthless Degrees Are Creating an Unemployable Generation in India
There is a bustling market place in the heart of Bhopal with training institutes for civil services, engineering and management. The students said that they had enrolled for these courses to upgrade their skills and boost their career opportunities after regular degree, as they did not get jobs of their choice.
A Bhopal educational institution in particular hit the headlines in recent years because it was involved in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court of India. In 2019, the Supreme Court barred the Bhopal-based RKDF Medical College Hospital and Research Center from admitting new students for two years for allegedly using fake patients to meet the requirements of the medical college. The college initially argued in court that the patients were genuine, but later apologized after an investigative panel found that the alleged patients were not in fact sick.
“We have noticed a disturbing trend of some medical colleges in projecting bogus faculty and patients to obtain permission for admission of students,” the court said in its judgement. The medical college did not respond to a request for comment.
The Medical School is part of the RKDF Group, a well-known name in Central India with a wide network of colleges in fields ranging from Engineering to Medicine and Management. The group faced another controversy last year. In May last year, police in the southern city of Hyderabad arrested the vice-chancellor of the RKDF group’s Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan University as well as his predecessor for their alleged involvement in awarding fake degrees. Still, a flood of students could be seen in many RKDF institutes in Bhopal. One branch had posters of their “bright stars”—students who got jobs after graduation.
SRK University and RKDF University of RKDF Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment. On its website, the group says that it provides quality education by imparting teaching and practical skills while striving to provide robust infrastructure and facilities.
Elsewhere in Bhopal, another college was functioning in a small residential building. One of the students who studied there said that it was easy to secure admission and get a degree without attending classes.
India’s education industry is projected to reach $225 billion by 2025 from $117 billion in 2020, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation, a government trust. This is still very small compared to the US education industry, where spending is estimated to exceed $1 trillion. In India, public spending on education has remained stagnant at around 2.9% of GDP, well short of the 6% target set in the government’s new education policy.
The problems at the colleges have spread across the country, with a range of institutions in different states under official scrutiny. In some parts of India, students have gone on hunger strike to protest against the lack of teachers and facilities in their institutions. In January, charges were filed against the Himachal Pradesh-based Manav Bharti University and its promoters for allegedly selling fake degrees, according to a press release from the Enforcement Directorate. Manav Bharati University did not respond to a request for comment.
While institutes promote campus placements for students, many are not able to deliver on this promise. In 2017, an institute in the eastern state of Odisha offered fake job offers during campus placements, prompting students to protest.
Anil Swaroop, former secretary of school education, estimated in a 2018 article that of the 16,000 colleges offering bachelor’s qualifications for teachers, a sizeable number exist only in name.
Worthless Degrees Are Creating an Unemployable Generation in India
Anil Swaroop, former secretary of school education, estimated in a 2018 article that of the 16,000 colleges offering bachelor’s qualifications for teachers, a sizeable number exist only in name.
“To call such so-called degrees useless would be an understatement,” said Anil Sadgopal, former dean of education at Delhi University and former member of the Central Advisory Board of Education that guides the federal government. “When lakhs of youth become unemployed every year, the whole society becomes unstable.”
All this is a challenge for big business. A study by HR firm SHL found that only 3.8% of engineers have the skills needed to be employed in software-related jobs in start-ups.
“The experience everyone has in the IT industry is that graduates need training,” said Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and board member of Infosys Ltd. and co-founder of private equity firm Aarin Capital. Pai, one of the Manipal Education and Medical Group companies, “trains a lot of people for banking. They are not job ready, they need to be trained.”
Even though companies are looking to recruit in areas such as electric vehicle manufacturing, artificial intelligence and human-machine interfaces, smaller Indian universities still teach older material such as the basics of the internal combustion engine, Patial said. “There’s a gap between what the industry is seeing and the curriculum they’ve gone through.”
India has regulatory bodies and professional councils to regulate its educational institutions. While the government has announced plans for a single agency to replace all existing regulators, it is still at the planning stage. The Education Department did not respond to a request for comment.
The Modi administration is also trying to address the shortcomings of the education sector in its new education policy of 2020, committed to improving the quality of its institutions. It has also started the process of allowing leading foreign universities to set up campuses in the country and award degrees.
Meanwhile, finding work remains a challenge for this generation. According to the World Bank, unemployment is a ticking time bomb as nearly a third of the country’s youth are not working, studying or undergoing training. Some are getting involved in crime and violence. Last year, angry youths facing bleak job prospects blocked rail traffic and highways, even setting some trains on fire.
Pankaj Tiwari, 28, says he paid Rs 100,000 for a master’s degree in digital communication because he wanted a job and a higher status in society. It was a huge outlay for his family, which has an annual income of Rs 400,000. Though his college had promised campus placements, no company turned up and he is still unemployed after four years.
“Had I gotten some training and skills in college, I might have been in a different situation. Now I feel like I wasted my time.’ “I have obtained certificates only on paper, but they are of no use.”
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