It actually should not have been a case of (Amartya) Sen and (Pratap Bhanu) Mehta critiquing the state of India’s higher education. But has unfortunately become a case of Sen vs Mehta. Anything Prof Sen says these days becomes a controversy.
- Prof. Sen on his Nalanda ouster and the increasing govt intervention in Indian education.
- Dr Mehta calls the criticism just elitish. He says Nalanda is just part of the syndrome. Likes of Sen should have raised concerns when the rot was just stemming in.
- Prof Sen responds to the criticism
It is amazing how we are all waking up to these challenges now. For many years we have remained in state of delusion that how great our higher education has been. For many years now attention of higher education has been on the big P word of placements. As long as the legacy institutions were placing students, all was ignored. The entire competition was on which institute manages to get the highest average salary for students and who bags the highest salary of them all. There was no talk on what kind of technology is being developed, what research is happening, how is all this useful for India and so on.
Today’s newspapers are full of criticism on India’s higher education. Anjuli Bhargava of BS calls IITs as Indian Institutes of Trouble. She only knows bankers, consultants from IITs which is so ironical and suggests everything wrong about our education. Then NR Narayanamurthy of Infosys once again criticises the institutes of tech learning saying we have hardly produced anything useful in last 60 years. Likewise there are again mentions of skilling India. But who is going to skill them and where?
Despite all these glaring evidences, our media proudly celebrates how some students have gotten into IIT/IIM despite all odds. One is really happy for such children but in most possibilities our educational system will blunt them of their cutting edges.
Sen vs Mehta again takes us to an ever widening gap in our education. There was a time when even universities far off the mainstream places had some great scholars. There was an ambition to build India. Now all this has been lost. Most of our top professors prefer to remain off shores and hardly contribute to building scholarship here. All we and they care about is to get some policy/advisory position which ensures their comfort and elite position. But nothing much happens on education front and the rot continues.