Friday, June 16, 2006

Outsourcing of Indian education

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, recently in the news for putting in his papers from the Knowledge commission, writes. Some excerpts...

Since the market for talent has gone global, many of India’s premier institutions fail to attract bright students within their own borders who usually make their way to universities in the US, China and Europe.

India misses out on opportunities as Indians abroad file for patents and create businesses. One reason is the government’s rigid control over educational policy. To meet the demands of globalization, the government must spend more on education, increase student access, yet also extend greater autonomy to its universities. More funding combined with greater flexibility will strengthen research capability and secure talent within the country’s borders. India’s rigid regulation of education retards the intellectual growth of its institutions, diminishing their ability to compete for global talent.

Its share in the global higher-education market is miniscule, and there are significantly more foreign students in China than in India. According to a study by the Association of Indian Universities of 300 universities, the number of foreign students in India shrunk from 12,765 during the 1992-93 academic year to 7,745 in 2003-04.

The Indian regulatory system is very much modeled on central planning. It assumes that regulatory agencies can second guess the sectors where demand is likely as well as the appropriate content of education. Ironically, India met some demands of the IT sector, because a large number of private institutions managed to dodge the regulatory system by offering diplomas rather than degrees – which can only be conferred by government-regulated institutions.

The Indian education system is one of the most tightly controlled in the world. The government regulates who you can teach, what you can teach them and what you can charge them. It also has huge regulatory bottlenecks. There are considerable entry barriers: Universities can be set up only through acts of legislation, approval procedures for starting new courses are cumbersome, syllabi revision is slow, and accreditation systems are extremely weak and arbitrary. The regulators permit relatively little autonomy for institutions and variation amongst them.

A pretty good analysis of Indias education system - the same system that cranks up thousands of engineers who find IT jobs that has brought outsourcing to India. I hope some private initiative or idea like the NIITs and Aptechs gets around the artificial shortage of seats created in Indias choked education system. Should be easy, once companies start recoginzing them and then it doesnt matter anymore.

1 comment:

Niti Bhan said...

Here's the link to Pratap Bhanu Mehta's full article