India’s Higher education woes

Three articles came during the weekend on state of higher education in India. First on crazy cut-offs in University admissions, Second on declining quality in IIMs and third on inverse relation between high marks and actual education.

This too is a ticking time bomb which has already beginning to show signs of explosion. Overall inflation grading has gone up challenging our price inflation for the top honors, people are using all kinds of ways to get fake degrees and what not. It is all over the place.

All we have done in the name of higher educ is build some elite places (which do not feature anywhere in the world) where only a minuscule number graduate every year. Following some reputation of these places, we are just building more of these names in other places. In the process, whatever was created is getting diluted. There is hardly any discussion on quality of faculty and scholarship which has become a concern even in the established places. There is a feeling in the administration that all we need to do is build fancy campuses and give an established name to the campus, and lo all else will be fine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As one of the article writers says we need thousands of these top colleges in India. The question still remains who will teach in these colleges? Where is the faculty?

This does not mean we have solved our primary education problems. It has its own share of problems which keep showing in several surveys where higher class students cannot read what they studied in junior classes. It will be interesting to do a similar experiment in higher studies as well.

But then who cares about these issues. They barely matter to the top echelons of the policy who have access to best educational resources across the world. So why bother fixing them here. All we get in this space is just sound bytes and announcements to set up more and more of II variety of institutes. Nothing more, nothing less.

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