Prabhakar Raghavan has a very good story ” India has the brains, but where is the beef”, in Forbes.Â He is talking about the pathetic situation about higher education in India.Â I believe that he is very kind about efforts in primary education — because despite all the talks there is really little action at any level in education.Â More on that some other time.Â What I liked about Raghavan’s article is his direct analysis of the situation:
India’s real infrastructure problem–with no solution in sight–is not airports or electricity; it is the virtual nonexistence of graduate education and research in information and other crucial technologies. Consider this for starters: The U.S. produces about 1,400 Ph.D.s in computer science annually and China about 3,000. By stark comparison, India’s annual computer science Ph.D. production languishes at roughly 40. That number is about the same as that for Israel, a nation with roughly 5% of India’s population size.
Perhaps more significant, the quality of graduate research in India lags significantly behind the U.S. and Europe, with a few rare exceptions. This seems paradoxical, considering that American academia and industry thrive on Indian scientists. The reason is that graduates from the top Indian science and engineering schools tend to head abroad to do their graduate work, where they frequently excel and settle.
He is very right in analyzing the effect of the lack of higher education:
Beyond the higher value and wages that these more advanced jobs command, they often have a “drag” effect–a typical software architect is backed by a team of engineers. This in turn leads to the creation of defensible product and intellectual property assets in the locale, rather than having the ideas hatched in Silicon Valley and then sent to India for the more routine stages of development. The lack of these advanced functions means there are virtually no instances of home-brewed IT innovation in India.
But I disagree with his concluding comments:
The hardest infrastructure challenge facing India is graduate education and research.
In my opinion the hardest infrastructure challenge facing India is EDUCATION.Â At every level, even in major cities.