A recent India Times Article revealed that students in India rank second to last (ranking only above Kyrgyzstan) when tested against a global student population. These results are jarring but many Indian citizens may believe they could not be true. After all, we have proudly proclaimed our elevated status for decades. But, test results don’t lie!
So, how is it that we could have been so wrong about our educational system and the caliber of students it produces? In truth, the misperception is a result of numbers. It is true that India is considered a powerhouse of engineering and software and other skills around the world. India’s citizens hold visas and work around the world in technology businesses with great success.
But, the idea that our educational system produces superior students and candidates should not lead us to the conclusion that all of our students are successful. Those who excel and succeed are a small percentage of our huge population of more than 1.3 billion people.
If one looks only at an absolute total count of successful students, as opposed to a percentage of our population, the numbers do seem large! With such a large population, absolute numbers always look good compared to countries having much lesser population than India, but ratio in percentage to total population, for ratios such as number of graduates, number of engineers, number of people employed in IT and engineering, number of research papers published out of total population of 1.3 billion is not impressive.
You can read the details of this global student ranking and India’s comparative results here: India Times Education Article
If we are to improve our global competitive position and the opportunities for and potential of India’s students and young people, we need a comprehensive educational reawakening. That reawakening must include a review of our curriculum, public funding, private sector participation in the educational system, and pay scales and support for our teachers and professors. If we want to rise in the global ranks, we must take on these issues and resolve them.
The time has come to face the truth. We can no longer afford to promote misconceptions. Our students, our businesses and our country will benefit from a reimagining of our educational systems.
Good enough is NOT good enough!