May 21, 2014
Lok Nath sent me an email he had written to a government functionary in 2009. I've extracted and lightly edited (and cleaned up spellings). Let me say he is very passionate and has said it very well. LET LOOSE THE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM AND INDIA WILL DO WONDERS.
Our great Architects [have] ensued that NOT everybody gets quality education. Why do Indians have to go to Australia and other countries to study at the first place spending 20-30 times the tuitions in India. They are all from middle class families whose only aspiration is a good education for their children.
These students never want to come back, believe me. If one is 1000 does, out of "mera bharat mahaan" principles, he/she only comes back to work for a multinational company only to get disappointed vis-a-vis the quality of life that their peers have and starts hunting for jobs again.
Had they been assured a quality education in India that they DESIRE, they would never go out at the first place.
Now here [are] the statistics:
-About 350,000 foreign students (close to 100,000 being Indians) study in Australia. India gets 8,000.
-There are over 3300 Universities and Accredited Colleges in USA for a population that is a quarter of India
-UK and Ireland has over 250,000 Indian Students
-The US and Canada has over 500,000 Indian Students.
Here of some of suggestions:
1) For the kind of population esp. the young population we have, we need at least 2000 more universities of International capacity. This is what a well-read liberal economist has to say on his blog.
Adjusted for population size, relative to Australia, India gets 133 foreign students. That is not a typo. Let me spell it out: it is a hundred and thirty-three, not one hundred and thirty-three thousand. Australia get around three thousand times the number of students per capita compared to India. (India is approximately 60 times Australia’s population.)
How much do Indians spend in studying abroad? Estimates range from a conservative $5 billion to a generous $10 billion per year. That a humongous sum. Why do Indians go abroad to study? Because they are forced to. India does not have the colleges and universities for them. Why? Because the government does not allow free entry into the education system. It’s the Congress party with its Nehruvian licence-quota-permit-control raj. It makes them money. It helps them get votes by restricting supply and then doling out the limited supply to favored vote banks based on religion and caste. They — the people of the Congress party — make money while the country suffers huge losses.
2) You need to build a system of lifelong education.
3) You need to build a framework of continuing education by establishing "professional societies" of equal credibility as in west.
3) Get the existing faculty to deliver. Put the content for free on the internet
4) Let Private sector manage this all. Don’t regulate the fees like a pseudo-socialist. The fees can be offset by the whole ecosystem of Govt. sponsors and banks.
5) Let Banks fund the education with liberal repayment.