50% can’t read, 75% can’t be hired, 100% bull

Every third lie is a statistic, and the provisional figures of the 2011 census brings home the truth. In the decadal account book, literacy is up by 9.21% in India that is Bharat over the previous ten years, to stand at 74.04%. Time to bring out the sherbet?

Not quite, writes Geeta Anand in The Wall Street Journal:

“India projects an image of a nation churning out hundreds of thousands of students every year who are well educated, a looming threat to the better-paid middle-class workers of the West…. But as India liberalized its economy starting in 1991 after decades of socialism, it failed to reform its heavily regulated education system.

“Business executives say schools are hampered by overbearing bureaucracy and a focus on rote learning rather than critical thinking and comprehension. Government keeps tuition low, which makes schools accessible to more students, but also keeps teacher salaries and budgets low. What’s more, say educators and business leaders, the curriculum in most places is outdated and disconnected from the real world.

“Muddying the picture is that on the surface, India appears to have met the demand for more educated workers with a quantum leap in graduates. Engineering colleges in India now have seats for 1.5 million students, nearly four times the 390,000 available in 2000, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies, a trade group.

“But 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates are unemployable by India’s high-growth global industries, including information technology and call centers, according to results from assessment tests administered by the group.

“Another survey, conducted annually by Pratham, a nongovernmental organization that aims to improve education for the poor, looked at grade-school performance at 13,000 schools across India. It found that about half of the country’s fifth graders can’t read at a second-grade level.

“At stake is India’s ability to sustain growth—its economy is projected to expand 9% this year—while maintaining its advantages as a low-cost place to do business.”

Read the full article: India graduates millions, but too few are fit to hire

Also read: Yella not OK, guru. Nanna makkalu is not learning

Don’t gift them fish. Teach them how to fish

Can Azim Premji do what the government can’t/ won’t?

Do our netas, parties really care about education?

When will our kids start questioning? Don’t ask

11 reasons Right to Education is not what it seems

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8 Responses to “50% can’t read, 75% can’t be hired, 100% bull”

  1. Mahesh Vijapurkar Says:

    Ramadorai of TCS had always lamented about the unemployability of Indian graduates. And he is right.

  2. Bhamy V Shenoy Says:

    How many of us will lose sleep over this stark truth about India’s dismal performance in education sector? The government gave a rosy figure of high literacy. It may or may not be true depending upon how one defines literacy. But the survey by Pratahm is authentic and significant even at the district level.

    For those of us who have the opportunity to interact with students at different levels, even the survey of Pratham does not give a true picture of India’s education sector. It is even more dismal.

    Why are our magazines not doing an in-depth analysis? Most give very superficial analysis like the one in WSJ. It is ok for WSJ to publish an article which grabs the attention. But we need a hard hitting article bringing out the real reasons for the sorry state of affairs?

  3. Balaji Says:

    So, all our education is about getting employed by TCS, Call centres and other out-sourcing units!!! Doesn’t the article have shades of Macaulay’s speech in British Parliament which laid the foundation for the current ill-fated education system?

  4. aks Says:

    If the IT industry is worried about unemployable graduates, then just think about manufacturing and infrastructure industries…Almost every electrical ,mechanical and electronic graduate is being employed by IT industry nowadays and there is huge gap between the college curriculum and industry needs in these sectors… It is true that IT sector is pushing our economy forward.. but is it doing more harm than good in the long term?? as graduates are attracted to better pays( which, atleast is changing..)..If India wishes to put up a sustained challenge to China’s growth, education really needs a revolution…

  5. Shrinivas Says:

    I don’t understand what IT and literacy have to do with each other? They have existed independent of each other in other parts of the world…

  6. Nastika Says:

    What is fuss about? If companies expect fresh grads to work like experienced professionals, then sky will be purple.

    The question is,
    1) Aren’t the students learning the syllabus well? Or
    2) Isn’t the syllabus good enough?

    Find the reason & fix it. No point glossing over the same figures again & again.

  7. karihaida Says:

    @Mahesh Vijapurkar,
    and those that are employed by Mr Ramodorai lament that they need not be educated to do their job.

  8. twistleton Says:

    “another brick in the wall”

    Why do some people have the mistaken notion that education is given so we become “hire-worthy”? Is that all education is meant to do? What a very narrow definition that…tsk, tsk.

    Imagine the diverse talent pool that is wasted because we want to make our youth into robots who will satisfy the parameters of a mean and not-so-lean business machine.

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