Opinions are divided over whether the Indian education system is good or bad. There was an interesting discussion on CNBC TV recently about whether the education system in India is getting better than the one we have in the US. According to a participant, Bob Compton, the executive producer of the documentary, “Two Million Minutes”, American schools are losing their edge. According to him, Indian and Chinese students are better both in terms of quality of education and creativity. The curriculum of Indian universities is almost the same as the US universities.
Bob had hired students from India for a group of six American IT companies, and according to him, he got the best talent from India. These were high wage and high technology jobs. There were more than 200 openings in these companies in the US for computer programmers and the salary for these positions ranged between US$100,000 and US$200,000. Bob was not able to find suitable candidates in the United States for almost six months, which led him to go overseas for hiring.
However, Jay Mathews, the education reporter for the Washington Post, had different opinions. According to him, there is a tiny slice of Indian and Chinese technical schools providing quality higher education. He said that the US schools are as good as the educational institutions anywhere else in the world, and only the bottom 30% of US schools in rural and urban areas are in trouble. According to him, nearly 40% of the US high school students do not take science classes beyond biology.
According to Jay, the political system in China and social system in India generally discourage creativity. During this discussion Bob asked Jay as to when was the last time he visited India or China. Jay answered that it was more than 20 years ago. Bob was quick to point out that things had radically changed since then. “The picture is entirely different from what it used to be 20 years ago,” Bob said. At present, the education system in India is superior to that of America, and the Indian system is churning out four times as many students at the K-12 level as compared to the US.
High Number of Students With Quality Education
In the US, the number of students at the K-12 level is around 53 million, whereas this number is as high as 212 million in India. So, Bob concluded that hundreds of thousands of Indian students are getting better education and are raising their cognitive skills. According to him, the dropout rate of Indian students is around the same as that of the United States. According to Bob, he was able to hire the best talent from India. These candidates were more creative and educated as compared to the candidates available in the US.
Even if we think that Bob’s perception of the Indian education system is based on a tiny slice of students, especially those from IITs and IIMs, etc., we can’t deny the fact that the Indian education system is constantly improving. At present, India is competing with the best education systems around the globe. However, much remains to be done to improve the standard of education in the Indian educational establishments “other than” the top colleges.