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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Private education rules supreme in India

Marginal Revolution links to a NYT article (free registration required) which talks about the trend towards private schooling in India:

The schools, founded by former teachers, landowners, entrepreneurs and others, and often of uneven quality, have capitalized on parental dismay over the even poorer quality of government schools. Parents say private education, particularly when English is the language of instruction, is their children's only hope for upward mobility.

Such hopes reflect a larger social change in India: a new certainty among many poor parents that if they provide the right education, neither caste nor class will be a barrier to their children's rise.

In another education related article, Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby narrates his experiences after his visit to the Vellore Institute of Technology in TN. Mallaby also mentions the increasing trend of people opting for private engineering colleges in India.

Vellore is a small town in southern India, poor enough for some of its buildings to have thatched roofs rather than the rain-proof metal sort. Until a few years ago Vellore was notable only for its large Christian medical center, erected with the help of foreign money. But now it has sprouted this 9,000-student technical college, complete with a sports stadium, an incubator for start-up high-tech businesses and a bio-separation lab. Everywhere you look, fresh buildings are under construction: over here a new laboratory complex, over there a gleaming student hostel with its own swimming pool.

The college started out in 1984 with just 180 students, and its extraordinary growth is a symbol of the modern India as much as forts and palaces symbolize the India of old. Its success is part of the explosion of technical schools all across this country, which in turn is part of India's technology-fueled economic miracle. In 2005 India produced 200,000 engineering graduates, about three times as many as the United States and twice as many as all of Europe. But the really astonishing statistic is this: In 2005 India enrolled fully 450,000 students in four-year engineering courses, meaning that its output of engineers will more than double by 2009.

Of course, India's progress isn't simple. The best engineers get snapped up by industry, so it's hard to find decent teachers to staff Vellore and other engineering schools. As a result, many of the new colleges teach kids little of value, and some science graduates end up unemployed. But the story of Vellore points to an important lesson. Apparently unconnected development policies -- cuts in tariffs and oppressive business regulation, or projects to build roads and power grids -- can sometimes stimulate new educational enrollment at least as much as direct investments in colleges or schools.


  • OT- Kaps, wish you and your family a very happy new year!

    By Blogger IBH, at 4:49 AM  

  • @IBH,
    Thanks and wish you the same.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 5:43 AM  

  • Interesting Article - Thank you.
    Wish you a Happy New year.

    On Private Schools and colleges - I went to a Private School..and to a Private college.! My parents didn't want me to go to a Public school / college.

    During my college days, The Engg. colleges were all ( or 90 Percent..not sure) Govt! and the same with Medical colleges..These days, every Tom/Dick/Harry has an Engg college.!! and the parents pay whatever they can...to get their kids in ( Those who can afford ). Not sure about the standards though.!!

    The Vellore story is very interesting and so is the Bihar Story in the article.!!

    By Blogger Narayanan Venkitu, at 8:13 AM  

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