India looks to loosen restrictions of foreign universities

It’s might soon be easier for colleges in the United States and elsewhere in the world to set up shop in India. The government is considering amending its Foreign Education Providers bill, reports the Business Standard, decreasing the amount of money a university must have before it is allowed to invest in an Indian campus.

Since the Foreign Education Providers bill was introduced last spring, the government has said that 50 overseas universities have expressed interest in expanding into India, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and Columbia University, Education Investor says.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean changes are guaranteed, or even going to happen soon: “About 15 bills related to education are waiting to be tabled before the Parliament during the ongoing monsoon session, including the Universities for Innovation Bill that would allow setting up of special universities with a focus on innovation and research.”

Tags: India

India’s research angst

In India, there is a lot of hand-wringing about the country’s ability to keep pace with the rest of the world in academic research. Experts worry the country doesn’t spend enough on research, that the number of students doing doctoral research is too few, that there are not enough incentives for young people to pursue PhD’s and that once professors are ensconced in universities, they do not spend enough of their time researching and writing academic papers.

Here are some statistics from a recent op-ed in The Hindu:

"India has 7.8 scientists per 1,000 population compared to 180.66 in Canada, 139.16 in the Russian Federation, 53.13 in Korea and 21.15 in the U.S. Though the number of institutions participating in research in India increased in the last 10 years, 80% of the publications come only from 10% of the institutions. In terms of publication output measured by the number of papers published in journals indexed by Web of Science, the Indian share has remained flat under 3% for the last 10 years. The share of Brazil, South Korea and China has substantially increased during the same period, putting India in the 13{+t}{+h} position."

-Sarah Garland

India and U.S. want to to tighten their higher education bond

Canada may be attracting more Indian students, but the United States still receives more than 100,000 Indians in its institutions of higher learning every year. With that number in mind, the two countries are holding a summit this fall, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal at the helm, to talk about how to tighten the bond.

From the press release:

"The Summit will explore how government, universities, and business can collaborate to create innovative and sustained higher education partnerships between the United States and India. The two governments also announced an expanded U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue as a forum for deepening linkages and cooperation. The dialogue will occur annually and will incorporate U.S. and Indian higher education officials and members of the private sector on a rotating basis."

Indian students head to Canada

The International Herald Tribune tracks Indian college students to Canada, where people are friendly and tuition is low. While I was in India, quite a few students talked to me about their aspirations to attend graduate school in Canada; MBAs seemed to be the course of choice.

-Sarah Garland

Tags: India Canada MBA

Government complacency and the brain drain in India

A Gallup Management Journal Q&A delves into the issue of the brain drain in India, and the 5 percent of the population there who wants to leave. That may seem like a small proportion, but given the population size there, it actually represents a huge number of people. Should the government be worried? Here’s an excerpt from the interview with Rajesh Srinivasan, Gallup Regional Director, Asia:

"The government knows the number of Indian citizens leaving and the number coming back. What they don’t know is what proportion of the larger citizenry would want to leave if they had the opportunity. And because there are limits to how many people actually leave, both based on demand — conditions outside the country — and supply — migration control within the country — the government hasn’t had as much to be concerned about…However, the downside of being complacent — assuming it won’t happen, so we don’t have to do anything about it — is that many of the people who want to leave but can’t are essentially disengaged or unproductive, or they just haven’t realized their true potential as employees or citizens, wherever they are. If India can’t figure out how to channel them and make them feel that they are productive citizens, they won’t be very useful within their organizations, the community, or the country. So from that perspective, the government should be actively thinking about how to create opportunities so the aspirational needs of its citizens can be met within India."

-Sarah Garland

In India this year, new census numbers came out showing that the country added nearly 200 million people to its population over the last 10 years, or about the population of Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country. That was a whopping 17 percent increase in the country’s population. India is catching up to China and increasing the gap with the United States in terms of number of people.
India’s growing population, fed by a huge up tick in the number of young people, has been called both a curse and the country’s great opportunity. Providing high quality education for India’s youth is a huge challenge that the government is grappling with both at the K-12 and the college level. The state with the biggest growth in young children was Bihar (where I took this photo), one of the poorest and most educationally challenged places in the country.
Frequently during my time reporting in India, I’ve heard that the sheer numbers, though daunting, may also give India the advantage. Young people across India are demanding better schools and better lives, propelling the fast growing economy and improvements in the schools.
Experts and educators around India can only guess whether India’s growing population will prove to be a curse or a blessing, or a little of both in the next few decades. What do you think?
 -Sarah Garland
 

In India this year, new census numbers came out showing that the country added nearly 200 million people to its population over the last 10 years, or about the population of Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country. That was a whopping 17 percent increase in the country’s population. India is catching up to China and increasing the gap with the United States in terms of number of people.

India’s growing population, fed by a huge up tick in the number of young people, has been called both a curse and the country’s great opportunity. Providing high quality education for India’s youth is a huge challenge that the government is grappling with both at the K-12 and the college level. The state with the biggest growth in young children was Bihar (where I took this photo), one of the poorest and most educationally challenged places in the country.

Frequently during my time reporting in India, I’ve heard that the sheer numbers, though daunting, may also give India the advantage. Young people across India are demanding better schools and better lives, propelling the fast growing economy and improvements in the schools.

Experts and educators around India can only guess whether India’s growing population will prove to be a curse or a blessing, or a little of both in the next few decades. What do you think?

 -Sarah Garland

 

Tags: India

In India, a U.S. journalist fields questions from private-college students

The tables were turned on me today in a visit to Arcade Business College, a private college in Patna, India. I had come to interview students attending one of the increasing number of privately run institutions in India, but instead, a group of about 30 students grilled me for an hour about journalism ethics and press freedom in the United States, how to get into an American graduate school, and the state of the U.S. economy.

The reception was not quite what I expected. The director, Aashish Aadarsh, had told me the school’s goal is cater to “average” students who don’t make it into more competitive colleges. Admission requirements are relatively low. But these students were sharp and engaged. Most seemed determined to find their way to Canada or the United States one day to study or get a job. Most spoke excellent English, and their questions were probing and critical.

In Bihar, Arcade is still something of an anomaly, but other states in India have seen an explosion in privately run institutions as demand for higher education has exceeded the seats that government-run schools can provide. In order to grant degrees, the schools must be affiliated with a government-run university, the only institutions allowed to give degrees under Indian law. But the affiliation system is a loose one, and experts say it’s plagued by political patronage. The quality of these institutions varies, and educators and experts here say although educational institutions are barred from making profits, many get around the rules.

Arcade Business College has been around longer than many private schools; it was founded in 1996. Although students are not from the top rungs of Bihar society, annual tuition—at 24,000 rupees, or about $600 USD—costs slightly more than what it does at the public institutions I visited in Bihar. This price gap is similar to for-profit universities in the United States. And like for-profits in the U.S., Arcade and other private schools are often geared toward professional study, not academic research. Students can study business, journalism and computers. 

It was impossible to get a sense of the school’s quality during the brief time I was there, but it was clear the students are smart and ambitious. If they represent “average” students in India’s most educationally deprived state, the rest of the world should watch out.

-Sarah Garland, reporting from India

The Indian government is on a mission to lift the educational level of women, who still fall far behind men in literacy levels and educational attainment. Across India, one of the quality measures for school facilities is still whether schools have toilet facilities for girls or not. At Patna’s new Indian Institute of Technology, a replica of highly competitive IITs elsewhere in India, there are many fewer female students than male students. But the will to change these circumstances seems to be there. The other day, a state official in Bihar described his government’s education strategy to me as “feminist.”
-Sarah Garland

The Indian government is on a mission to lift the educational level of women, who still fall far behind men in literacy levels and educational attainment. Across India, one of the quality measures for school facilities is still whether schools have toilet facilities for girls or not. At Patna’s new Indian Institute of Technology, a replica of highly competitive IITs elsewhere in India, there are many fewer female students than male students. But the will to change these circumstances seems to be there. The other day, a state official in Bihar described his government’s education strategy to me as “feminist.”

-Sarah Garland

Tags: India

A child in Patna learns his ABCs, along with Urdu and Hindi, at a bridge program to help Muslim children who aren’t enrolled in school. In India, children must master multiple languages if they want to succeed. For children who speak local dialects or Urdu, they must learn Hindi (in the north) plus English, which is the language of the many textbooks at the college level.
-Sarah Garland

A child in Patna learns his ABCs, along with Urdu and Hindi, at a bridge program to help Muslim children who aren’t enrolled in school. In India, children must master multiple languages if they want to succeed. For children who speak local dialects or Urdu, they must learn Hindi (in the north) plus English, which is the language of the many textbooks at the college level.

-Sarah Garland

One of India’s great challenges, especially in poverty-stricken places like the state of Bihar, where I have been reporting for the past few days, is improving literacy at the same time as it strives to improve higher education. In the slums of Patna, where I took this picture, many children drop out of school by age 10, sometimes earlier. Girls are especially vulnerable. Over the past decade, the central government and the state government of Bihar have both put an intense emphasis on reducing the elementary school dropout rate. The central government passed a Right to Education law, which, among other things, requires that every child live within one kilometer from a primary school. The government of Bihar is working on some of the practicalities; it has given bicycles to thousands of girls living in villages and slums so that parents will be less afraid to let them venture out of their immediate neighborhood to attend school.
-Sarah Garland

One of India’s great challenges, especially in poverty-stricken places like the state of Bihar, where I have been reporting for the past few days, is improving literacy at the same time as it strives to improve higher education. In the slums of Patna, where I took this picture, many children drop out of school by age 10, sometimes earlier. Girls are especially vulnerable. Over the past decade, the central government and the state government of Bihar have both put an intense emphasis on reducing the elementary school dropout rate. The central government passed a Right to Education law, which, among other things, requires that every child live within one kilometer from a primary school. The government of Bihar is working on some of the practicalities; it has given bicycles to thousands of girls living in villages and slums so that parents will be less afraid to let them venture out of their immediate neighborhood to attend school.

-Sarah Garland