Higher Education Quality 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
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
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.
Educational Consultants Chennai
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.
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.
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.
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....
There are several Indian (IITs) and one Pakistani university (NUST) in top 500.
South Asian institutions featuring on this list include 17 from India, 10 from Pakistan and 1 each from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The list is topped by Singapore with its National University at #1 and includes Singapore's Nanyang Technical University at #7. It is dominated by 58 universities from China (including 7 in Hong Kong and 1 in Macao), 50 from Japan, 47 from South Korea and 28 from Taiwan. Other nations represented with universities among top 300 in Asia are: Malaysia (17), Thailand (10), Indonesia (9), Philippines (5), Vietnam (3) and Brunei (1).
Pakistani universities on the list are: Pakistan Inst of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) at 106, Aga Khan University (AKU) at 116, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU)at 123 National University of Sciences and Trechnology (NUST) at 129, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) at 180-190, COMSATS Institute of Technology at 201-250, Karachi University (KU) at 201-250, Punjab University (PU) at 201-250, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) at 251-300 and University of Engineering Technology (UET) Lahore at 251-300.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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 ..
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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.
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.
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.”
ndians can't be creative. A lot of people, many in India too, have suspected this. Now this is an opinion of Steve Wozniak, the other Steve from Apple. Wozniak aka Woz who is the man behind Apple's first ever computer Apple 1 and the company's co-founder with Steve Jobs, says that Indian education system is based around studiousness and doesn't encourage creativity.
In an interview, Wozniak also said that he does not believe that there will be any big tech company or breakthrough in India similar to Google, Facebook or Apple. According to Woz India has just Infosys as an example of the big tech company and even that is not innovative. He does not expect Infosys to be in the league of global tech giants anytime soon.
When asked to comment on tech innovation in India by the Economic Times, Wozniak said, "I am not an anthropologist and I don't know the culture of India well enough. I don't see those big advances in tech companies. What is the biggest tech company here, Infosys maybe? I just don't see that sort of thing coming out of Infosys and I have done keynotes for them three times."
He pointed out that Indians lack creativity and that people in India aren't encouraged to pursue creative careers. "The culture here is one of success based upon academic excellence, studying, learning, practising and having a good job and a great life. For upper India, not the lower. I see two Indias. That's a lot like Singapore study, study, work hard and you get an MBA, you will have a Mercedes but where is the creativity? The creativity gets left out when your behaviour is too predictable and structured, everyone is similar. Look at a small country like New Zealand, the writers, singers, athletes, singers, athletes, it's a whole different world," said Wozniak.
Wozniak was also asked about coding in schools. He thinks that coding is very important but it should not be taught to kids before they are 12. He said that human brain gets the power to reason only after 12. "You don't get to a stage of symbolic reasoning until you are 12 years old. Some people get there early, but most people at 12, and that's why algebra can't be taught till you are that age. And programming can be taught only when you are ready for algebra," he said.
Pseudo-science will be the death of us.
May 01, 2021 · 07:30 am
In part, the packaging of junk science as genuine Hindu scientific knowledge represents a deep-seated complex about the significance and worth of Hindu identity in a global world. In the Hindutva schematic, Hindu identity is, of course, conflated with Indian identity. In part, this phenomenon is a product of a very specific battle that Modi has been fighting forever with the legacy of Nehru, who is his intimate enemy, the figure he wants to surpass and displace from institutional, collective, and public memory in India.
As India collectively gasps for breath, confronted by a catastrophic surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths, the control and content of information related to all aspects of the pandemic have become highly politicised, even more so than has usually been the case for a good while now.
Having masterfully managed, threatened and eventually dominated most of the legacy media over the last seven years, the Bharatiya Janata Party government suddenly finds itself haplessly trying to contain not just the virus but the narrative about the extent of the carnage, the breakdown of the healthcare system, and the reasons for the clearly visible failures of Modi’s leadership.
In February 2021, at an event which was attended by the health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Ramdev claimed that Coronil had received certification from the World Health Organisation, an assertion that was shortly thereafter denied by the WHO and condemned by the Indian Medical Association.
In April 2020, Jaggi Vasudev, who has built a fortune by peddling senseless jargon like “inner engineering” to gullible and stressed Indian techies in Silicon Valley, stated with his characteristic confidence that “the virus does not want to kill you. This virus is living in our body because we are a wonderful habitat for it.”
As a defence strategy, Vasudev advocated not treatment, but mental strength, calm, and a positive attitude. Good virtues all, no doubt, but unproven as a remedy for illnesses. As Siddhartha Mukherjee, doctor, researcher, and author of the Pulitzer-prize winning book on cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies, states, “A positive attitude does not cure cancer, any more than a negative one causes it.”
Cow urine party
In March 2020, a Hindutva group, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, held a cow urine drinking party as a means of providing protection against the virus. Given the reach of Ramdev and Vasudev and the incessant promotion of gaumutra by the Hindu Right since 2014, these grand pronouncements beg one big question: if there is any significant measure of truth to any of these claims, why was the virus not effectively vanquished or contained in India within a few months of these remedies being trotted out?
As with celebrity affirmations of dubious science, though, the more alarming issues here are, one, the complicity of the BJP government in actively promoting snake oil cures and, two, the moral and ethical responsibility for the harm arising from the propagation of such inaccurate and misleading information among the Indian populace.
To be clear, these kinds of arguments are not an invention of the Modi era nor exclusively believed by Hindu nationalists. They have a long history, dating back to at least the nineteenth century. The historian Gyan Prakash’s fine study, Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India (1999), describes how such claims are rooted in colonial-era anxieties about the universalist nature of neglected Hindu knowledge, which, Hindu intellectuals argued, had the potential to hold its own against Western science and technology though it first needed to be resuscitated from the depths of time.
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.
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.