India’s Education System

Amartya Sen has some interesting things to say (pointed out to me by Neil Jain) about education system in India.  It is common for us Indians to brag about our education system, without realizing that we are taking less than 5% of the top to represent the average.

When asked about the positives in India’s education system he responded:

Positives? First, our higher education system is widespread, and while the quality of it is very mixed, there are still a lot of people getting reasonable higher education.

Second, in some fields, especially in technical education, the quality of what is offered is indeed fairly high. Against these “positives” stand the huge neglect of primary education and also secondary education, and of course – as already mentioned – the highly variable
quality of university education (some of it not worthy of that name).

He further added, in response to other questions, on this topic:

The pitfalls of illiteracy include functional handicap, intellectual deprivation, and social disadvantage. When large groups are systematically neglected, like girls, especially from economic and social underdog families, the social penalties are gigantic.

The main causes of our uneven and highly unequal educational system are not technological underdevelopment but political and social neglect.

These remarks are quite accurate, maybe not as harsh and critical as they should be, in describing the situation.  Quite sobering.  But if you objectively analyze the situation, even for the positive aspect you see that it is the number of people and competition that brings out top people from the so called Great Institutions, rather than the quality of those institutions.

4 thoughts on “India’s Education System

  1. Pingback: Education and Neglect at Blogbharti

  2. Alex M Thomas


    “It is common for us Indians to brag about our education system, without realizing that we are taking less than 5% of the top to represent the average.”

    This is a very valid statement that you have put across.

    Very often, the plight of the majority of the populace living in the country is neglected and a good picture is portrayed.

  3. Sumit

    Bragging about education system when we lack so much in research.. All we do at IIT and IISC is to imitate/re-engineer already done research work in MIT or CALTECH.. and never come up with a new idea/concept. If we were dependent on our technical universities to invent computer or satellite, the world would still be waiting twindling thumbs.. Thanks heaven that foreign institutes gave us these technologies. We definitely need to start questioning the output of our “top” universities. Even our graduates when we go abroad never do anything new, but engineer as a high class labor..

  4. Ananth


    I want some prominant personality to write about the dark side of the education system in whole of India, in private schools especially, I have faced the following system in a chennai, Tambaram based school not naming it coz am not sure if its an offence:
    1) Private schools get popularized normally with the result they produce for class 10 and 12
    2) I studied in a school where they have a filtering system on class 9 with sections A, B, C and D, class A students are ppl who score above 80% always, class B will have 60% and above, class C will have 45% and above and class D will have students who fail
    3) Class D students can be rest assured that they will not be promoted to 10th std and class C failing cases also have reduced chances
    4) The school will produce excellent results most obviously 100% passed out
    5) My question is actually in the current competitive world students scoring 45% and above always mostly will pass with average teaching or sometimes without teachers as well
    6) How much competitive are the teachers who does not take up challenge of teaching a student who is failing? is this a commercial market? where is our education system going? can anyone guess the donation for entering such schools? and it is a reputed school !!!! hope some action happens against such child crimes !!!

    Kindly put this across as a new blog in a appropriate format after your valuable research and let us see the responses…..Regards, Ananth.

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