Where is India heading?
Let us settle with the ground-level reality!
The rich, the middle class and the poor have their own education goals, please note it. In India, there is hypocrisy when it comes to education. Education today is seen more and more in terms of money and profits for the most efficient and the most successful of the education institutions. In some states like TN, Karnataka and Maharashtra the education business and industry thrives on full steam, so to say. There are lot of institutions that are set up by businessmen and politicians. You also call some of them as education businessmen, nothing more and nothing less. These persons, these institutions are so profit-driven that we have now reached a stage in Indian education where the distinctions are blurred whether an education institution has anything other than pure profit-making as the measuring rod. So, where do we stand now?
Is any talk of education or quality of education making sense? It doesn’t, in our point of view. In Tamil Nadu education business is a racket. There are engineering colleges in these advanced states where the bribe-taking institutions are running away with the title of prestigious institutions. The private engineering colleges and universities are first-rate and also third-rate. Those do not measure up to any modern-day standards. The nearly 100 year old engineering college also takes bribes at competitive rates. The TN private education racket had pushed education to ridiculous levels, why even some secondary schools have excelled in these profit-earning business standards. Indian education is simply in chaos.
Education reform in India is of course a continuing process. We have to reform. But who would do this? Is it the government? We are becoming skeptical given the fact, how the education ministers at the Centre and the states are selected. There are education ministers for higher education in the states where the state universities under the state government are all run as poor specimens of any standard. The VCs are political appointees. Why, even the so-called central universities are in a mess. So, it looks only the Prime Minister has to take the steps. He has to be the education reformer. Now, no one cares for the experts in education. Anybody is an expert.
So, we see, as a sociologist has written, that the corporate in India are the most risk-averse and most of the R&D by the corporate doesn’t exceed 3% of their profits (or turnover?). So, we, Indians are behind the smaller countries like South Korea in R&D. Corporate want to have it easy. They haven’t improved their skilled work force. The expert points out the most of the exports come from MSMEs, with low-skilled labour; the most qualified, educated hands remain without jobs. It is Prof. Deepankar Gupta who points it out in the TOI edit page article (12.9.2015).
In the secondary education sector we have made progress. In the higher education sector there are issues. Why the lower percentage of students enters the colleges? In the USA also we have a similar syndrome. Indian middle classes dream of American jobs. They would continue to search for foreign universities. Please take note that no decent foreign universities would come to set up campus in India. Where are the profits?
As for the upper class and the corporate they would only search for brand schools and universities. The UK public schools are still preferred for this class. So too other brands like Harvard. Not even Oxford. What are the immediate job prospects? So, let us be honest to ourselves and settle with the ground-level reality.