Time to Liberalize Higher Education in India?

I’m sure many readers saw the article in the New York Times on the coming skills gap in the IT sector in India. The basic gist is this:

Software exports alone expanded by 33 percent in the last year.

The university systems of few countries would be able to keep up with such demand, and India is certainly having trouble. The best and most selective universities generate too few graduates, and new private colleges are producing graduates of uneven quality.

With the number of technology jobs expected to nearly double to 1.7 million in the next four years, companies are scrambling to find fresh engineering talent and to upgrade the schools that produce it. (link)

A shortage of 500,000 high tech workers is predicted for 2010. Perhaps the only way to forestall a huge wasted opportunity would be if the government were to liberalise its policy on foreign universities, and allow for-profit foreign institutions to open up campuses — with some regulation. According to this Rashmi Banga editorial in the Financial Express, the many thousands of Indian students who don’t go to IIT currently spend $3 billion on education in the U.S. — money which could be spent in India itself. Banga also outlines some of the basic problems in the Indian system as it operates from an insider’s perspective.

This is not a new idea. Proposals have been floated, committees have reported, and bills have been passed — though none of it has really led to anything. The many U.S. universities that have pondered building campuses in India (including both Stanford and Yale) have all been repulsed by the continuing ban on for-profit enterprises and the miles of regulations, regulations, regulations. (You can follow the saga on the T. Satyanarayan’s excellent Education in India blog) The arguments against liberalization seem weak. Standards are really not that hard to ensure, and a set of simple regulations or guidelines to ensure an orderly process shouldn’t be that hard. The charge of “cultural sensitivities” is raised, but are cultural sensitivities served by the current system, where thousands of students go abroad to study? (And many of them end up sticking around in the places where they get their degrees?)

It also needn’t be solely about filling the voracious staffing needs of the big consulting, outsourcing, and banking companies; I imagine that a Yale or Stanford campus in India would be much more than that. I’m sure many U.S. academics in the social sciences and humanities would jump at the chance to have rich, lively intellectual exchanges with Indian students and researchers — without having to go through a lot of bureaucracy.

48 thoughts on “Time to Liberalize Higher Education in India?

  1. Time to Liberalize Higher Education in India?

    no, time to invest in lower education in india. also, time to invest in alleviating chronic undernourishment which leads to intellectual ret*rdation.

  2. A study commissioned by a trade group, the National Association of Software and Service Companies, or Nasscom, found only one in four engineering graduates to be employable. The rest were deficient in the required technical skills, fluency in English or ability to work in a team or deliver basic oral presentations.

    The problem is not lack of colleges but of quality and the lack of regulation by government. Right now the higher education is a big business with zero or no regulation (almost every medium sized town in South India has an engineering college). Most people just want a degree in engineering rather than in traditional 3 year degrees. So there is no incentive for the private colleges to give any quality education apart from printing the degree certificates.

    Foreign investment might improve the average quality of education provided but I don’t think by itself it is going to be of much help without regulating the existing colleges for quality.

  3. Circus in jungle,

    I agree that there should be regulation of the new domestic private engineering colleges, and the govt. should be working on that. The Times article itself points out the limitations of one particular college in the South.

    But I think allowing foreign institutions to enter the market would increase competitiveness overall, by giving students more options. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  4. no, time to invest in lower education in india. also, time to invest in alleviating chronic undernourishment which leads to intellectual ret*rdation.

    Absolutely correct

    But I think allowing foreign institutions to enter the market would increase competitiveness overall, by giving students more options. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    How about bridge programs that prepare graduates to function in multinationals? The IIM in Kerala has one such program for tribals and dalits, and they seem to have done fairly well.

  5. I imagine that a Yale or Stanford campus in India would be much more than that

    While ago, MIT (Massachussetts Institute of Technology) had offered to open a satellite campus in India. The powers to be – CPI/ CPI (M) shoot it down at the cabinet level. However, since 60s, IITs have always had long term visitors (6 months to 1-2 years) and exchange from all over the world.

    There is a lab at IIT (Kanpur or Klayanpur) which is joint HP, MIT, etc. just being opened. Dude, current staffing of HP is close to 10,000 in India.

    Education is big, big business in India……….every second building is a college these days. Some examples MIT = Meerut Institute of Technology.

  6. A major reason for dismal quality of engg colleges is the lack of qualified staff (infrastructure is another). There just isn’t a magical way to produce enough M.Techs and Ph.Ds overnite to meet AICTE regulations for the existing colleges, leave alone new ones. The real reason for dismal state of Higher Education 1. Middle class unwilling to pay for true cost of services. Everyone loves the idea of market, but doesn’t want to accept its implications. Why would we need foreign universities, if the industry is profitable in the first palce. There would be enough domestic investors ready to fill in the gap. 2. Dismal salaries for the teaching profession.

  7. no, time to invest in lower education in india. also, time to invest in alleviating chronic undernourishment which leads to intellectual ret*rdation.

    Yes! Let’s work on the basics too, like food, shelter, health, literacy.

  8. While I agree that solid attention should be given to the “basics” mentioned in comments above, I think higher education is equally important. Afterall, civil society needs educated individuals who can lead the way to a better quality of life for their own compatriots.

  9. It is not just higher education. It is time we allowed for profit organizations to enter into primary and secondary schools. The education in the schools is very important . These are the formative years during which talent needs to be nurtured and the right culture cultivated. The number of good schools in India are very low. For Higher education, there are number of problems as outlined by Rashmi Banga. But the most important to me is the quality of the teaching staff. Even in my college(COEP, College of Engineering Pune) which is ranked about 15th or so in the list of engineering colleges, the quality of teachers is very poor. In every branch of study I could think of maybe one or two professors who were good. The others were mediocre. Another problem is our exam system. The exams are such that one can clear the exams by studying the last 5 years question papers. Prepare for it in the last month and you can score well. There is very little emphasis on the actual learning part. In every class there were only a handful few understood concepts. Most of the others just had a knack of clearing exams. The whole learning concept over the entire year somehow gets skipped. IITs are no good either. Especially the M Tech programmes. Having gone through that I can tell you it doesn’t encourage learning as well.

  10. no, time to invest in lower education in india.

    Why should it be one or the other. Why can’t we liberalize higher education and invest money in lower education. In fact, I would think that the enhanced revenue can be used for investment in the lower education. We should still have strict entrance criteria (like JEE and other entrance tests) and also provide cheap loans to deserving students.

  11. How much are tuition fees today? And how much do tuition fees contribute to the university’s revenue stream? Surely raising tuition fees can’t makeup an investment gap but is the raising of such fees not politically viable?

  12. No Von Mises, There’s a helpful chart of averaged expenses here; it’s based on this study, which looks like it was done around 2002. At the high end, total expenses (including accommodation, food, and books) will come out to US $1000 max. But that’s a high end estimate. (My wife is a graduate of Bombay University. She paid Rs. 4000 a year — less than US $100.)

    The public universities derive something like 10-15 percent of their actual revenue from tuition fees. The rest is subsidized.

    The new private universities are more expensive, I believe.

  13. The public universities derive something like 10-15 percent of their actual revenue from tuition fees. The rest is subsidized.

    Yes. Also, there is a fair amount of fees write off for students who cannot afford. There are book banks that loan you books for a year or semester.

    The biggest hurdle for the poor is to be competitive for top tier Universities.

    Most of the technical universities in India are private sans IITs, and RECs (Regional Engineering Colleges). Some like BITS, Pilani are excellent. Sabeer Bhatia was @ BITS, Pilani for freshmen, and then he transferred to Caltech. I think the private universities can be quite expensive.

    However, most of the liberal arts Universities in India are public.

  14. IITs have been raising their tuition fee every year..but they’re still largely subsidized by the government. Nowadays, tuition in IITs is at par with some private colleges (including BITS Pilani).

    Government should slowly do away with this subsidy…and instead offer loan programs to poor students. Everyone is practically assured of a decent/high paying job after IIT… and there shouldn’t be any problem in repaying the loan. Same is true with IIMs too.

    The private engineering college scene is appalling. Poor quality professors (most of them are not even PhDs), poor infrastructure and an overall emphasis on rote learning. The only thing going for them these days is the job placement (mostly in lower rung software companies).

  15. Despite the existence of a few preimer institutes for engineering, the majority of engineering institutes are not very much into quality. There is a great number of colleges which allow admission through donations. Southern and Western India have plenty many such colleges. I am not completely sure of the quality of education in such colleges. Have heard from some students from my own village back in India that its no good. In Punjab there are so many engineering colleges, but the seats are not being filled-why, because many of these colleges have hardly any infrastructure. there are engineering colleges in remotest possible areas. am not sure if such colleges are going to do any good for the future of their students. There is quantity but no quality. do we have anyone monitoring what goes on in these colleges??

    why only engineering colleges,the state of higher education in India in general is a bit dismal. Recently, tehre has been much buzz about the Biotech/Bioinformatics industry, while a few good Institute are there for Research level studies, at Undergraduate level the scene remains pathetic. There was a summer student in my lab in India who once enrolled for MSc in a local Biotech college and had to leave soon because the teacher was unaware that Calcium chloride is CaCl2 and not CaCl!!. Fortunately he got enrolled in a good Insititute. Another trainee who spent a month or two in the lab and was fired because of lack of interest ended up joining such a college as a lecturer. so you can well imagine the standard of education. Quality is therefore the key.

    I’m sure many U.S. academics in the social sciences and humanities would jump at the chance to have rich, lively intellectual exchanges with Indian students and researchers — without having to go through a lot of bureaucracy.

    I wish so, but am not sure when we’ll usher in such an era without much red-tape…..

    how i wish the future of many students would be brighter with better choices.

  16. Prof and Kush, many thanks. The “10-15 percent of their actual revenue from tuition fees” is indicative that the current arrangement will be less warm to significant tuition increases. It seems that heavily subsidized systems that try to significantly increase tuition (beyond normal inflationary increases) for structural reasons are met with a lot of political obstacles. The top-up fees issue in the UK comes to mind. If I’m thinking about it correctly, then it makes sense to seek funding from a willing cash cow with a for-profit model, ie. the US.

    It’s problematic because universities are very expensive nowadays, esp. if you’re focusing on India’s comparative advantage in IT and lab-based courses. And libraries, by god, I only recently learned how expensive libraries are.

    and, brown_fob,

    Government should slowly do away with this subsidy…and instead offer loan programs to poor students.

    I agree but to offer loan programs requires a sufficiently mature financial lending institutions in general and, more specifically, institutions that universities can depend on because they will be pegging enrollment to the quantity of loan programs. I think the need for more developed and integrated lending institutions can’t be emphasized enough, esp wrt to improving the university itself.

    so Professor….

    IÂ’m sure many U.S. academics in the social sciences and humanities would jump at the chance to have rich, lively intellectual exchanges with Indian students and researchers

    …sabbatical sometime in the future?

  17. Apart from tech and science careers…

    it would be awesome if universities from overseas could set up bases for liberal arts students to encourage people to study the Humanities. I’m probably saying this because I haven’t lived in India since I was v young, but I think making an education in English or Political Studies or History a more academically appreciated (not to mention socially and culturally appreciated) option would be really good for Indian students.

    Comments on here from an IIT grad saying that learning isn’t encouraged, are to me, symptomatic of an education system that churns out hampster-on-wheel students who haven’t been able to take a breather in between memorising formulae and learning state languages to even contemplate the luxury of being able to think critically, write well, and communicate effectively.

    I don’t know much about the situation in India, but I’m guessing that if Zadie Smith claims that reading English in England is an option chosen by fewer and fewer young people these days, studying the humanities in India must be a very remote possibility.

  18. …sabbatical sometime in the future?

    Hey, I’ve thought about it.

    Tash,

    I don’t know much about the situation in India, but I’m guessing that if Zadie Smith claims that reading English in England is an option chosen by fewer and fewer young people these days, studying the humanities in India must be a very remote possibility.

    The numbers are low relative to the size of the country, but even in this era of “IT or bust,” India does produce some great humanities and social science graduates — especially from Delhi University, Presidency College, and Xaviers. But a lot of people come to the U.S. to do Ph.D.s., and many of those students end up staying here.

  19. Comments on here from an IIT grad saying that learning isn’t encouraged, are to me, symptomatic of an education system that churns out hampster-on-wheel students who haven’t been able to take a breather in between memorising formulae and learning state languages to even contemplate the luxury of being able to think critically, write well, and communicate effectively.

    Tash, what’s that about learning state languages? Even if it were true, what harm can come from that? From what I can make out, “learning isn’t encouraged in IIT” is completely off the mark. Memorising formulae – off as well. Maybe a qualifier on Polite Indian’s remarks won’t hurt. B. Tech and M. Tech programs are radically different and it’s the former that IIT is well-known for. There’s also a big difference in your learning experience/environment depending on which field you study as the learning/work culture of some departments is different from others.

    Anyway, I think the discussion on Indian higher education on SM lurches way too much towards IIT. While it certainly shows the capabilities of Indians, and is great for image, I’m not sure it’s that great for India in real terms, esp. the B. Tech program as most of its products don’t work in the field they are trained for. The emphasis on keeping an elite brandname at the taxpayer’s expense is not healthy either. There was an uproar from IIT alumni and the IIT establishment when it was proposed that REC’s be made into IIT’s, for example. IMO, the spread of IIT’s famous problem-solving-based learning methods to as many other colleges as possible and giving access to the research network that IIT has access to, is IMO a good thing. It’s better to make this transition carefully soon than to sit around fearing “dilution of quality”.

  20. From what I know, there are very many spiffy engineering colleges in and around Chennai (brand spanking new facilities). Some of them have done better than others in multinational placements. Keep in mind that the competition at even the tier below the IITs is intense in engineering. And in medical school admissions in TN, even the tribal cutoff is above 90%!

  21. Speaking of foreign investments in universities:

    Anil Agarwal, an Indian magnate, has put up 1 billion bucks for Vedanta University, which will be a western-style “multidisciplinary” university in Orissa.

  22. Yes Tashie, you seem to have some kind of disdain for Indian languages. Why? (I mean Indian languages OTHER than our beautiful uber-Indian mothertongue language of English of course!)

  23. Having gone through a BTech in IIT and stuff, I should have something to say here, no?

    God alone knows what good these foreign universities with state-of-the-art facilities would do if nobody could afford them. As, brown_fob pointed out, student loans may be an idea to start with. I wonder how they’d be implemented, though.

    More importantly, I’m not sure who’s going to teach at those institutes, you need a lot of good teachers to provide that kind of education. There have to more incentives for academic teaching positions, that would attract a lot of NRIs to look at those options.

    Also, Indian education system is probably far more well-setup for the sciences than liberal arts. I have American/European friends studying English/linguistics/history etc who’d love to visit India to study/teach their subjects, but complain about the difficulty of finding organized information about liberal arts programs in India, even on the web. Ultimately, that’s not really surprising, liberal arts studies are meant for more privileged societies anyway.

  24. I mean Indian languages OTHER than our beautiful uber-Indian mothertongue language of English

    Amitabh, I do appreciate that sentiment, (assuming you’re not being sarcastic about English, of course :) )

  25. Amardeep,

    I work at one of those publicly-funded Institutes in India, and judging by my experiences, this Banga dude’s article misses the point. To me, it seems part of the privatisation-uber-alles rhetoric that one hears so much of these days. Banga’s case seems to be blind to two key realities:

    1) The fundamental: As pointed out so accurately by razib:

    no, time to invest in lower education… undernourishment which leads to intellectual ret*rdation.

    2) The socio-economic: Assuming Banga’s vision of who the private players are, most deserving Indian kids would not have the kind of money to go to the type of schools Banga seems to have in mind. With the type of collateral that even moderately progressive banks like SBI require, I don’t think most Indians would be able to take out the necessary student-loans.

    On a more philosophical note, one would also have to contend with 3) The socio-structural: While this does not directly compromise the class of views that Banga’s falls under, it casts doubt on whether the sort of expertise India’s tech sector requires will be generated in adequate numbers in the absence of a more bottom-up shake-up of academics. “This”, over here, relates to the phenomenon:

    IITs are no good either. Especially the M Tech programmes. Having gone through that I can tell you it doesn’t encourage learning as well.

    A good learning experience at the M.Tech. level can only be fostered, in part, if professors are more willing to allow students be participants rather than note-takers. However, the deference to hierarchy is so extreme in India that most faculty — even some of those at the IIT’s — respond poorly to “talking back” from their lecture audience. This has the consequence that all but the most exceptional students end up so ground-down that they either: a) Pick up whatever on-the-job initiative that they may later show from their corporate “training” programmes (!); or b) Are doomed to being perpetual who can only function “under” somebody.

    (Admittedly, however, (a) and (b) are based on anecdotal evidence and from my experiences reviewing postdoc applications, where one rarely encounters a more coherent research plan beyond the assertion that the applicant wants to work “under” me.)

  26. See (b) in my last comment: “Are doomed to being perpetual who…” Meant to say: perpetual DRUDGES

  27. Technophobicgeek, I was being sarcastic…I remember in a previous discussion, Tashie seemed to think of Indian languages as being ‘village dialects’ in apposition to English. Objectively, I love English, I speak it better than any other language, and I’m not too bad at it, BUT, in relation to what it is doing to REAL Indian languages (I will never consider it an Indian language no matter how much of a minority voice that makes me), I HATE it. You can’t really blame the language though, just the people. Anyway, I don’t want to start another debate on this, I just wanted to call Tashie out on her negative bias.

  28. I should also add that yes, I am well aware of all the advantages that knowing English has given me in life…and continues to give me..that doesn’t mean I want to sit back and see my mothertongue (and other desi tongues) be strangled.

  29. The loan program isn’t that difficult to implement after all. We had a similar program back in the mid 90s at IIT Bombay…most of my friends managed to repay their loans within 2 years of their graduation.

    I too would like to see RECs and other top engineering colleges being transformed into IITs. This will NOT dilute the brand name in my opinion. A huge country like India deserves to have more than a handful ‘IITs’ (or for that matter elite institutes in other fields).

  30. (I will never consider it an Indian language no matter how much of a minority voice that makes me)

    Unfortunately, you will have to fulfill your desire of being a minority rebel elsewhere, most Indian people would agree with you, as I find out regularly to my chagrin.

    I guess we will have to disagree here, then. I was hoping to find a kindred soul who would not doubt my Indian-ness coz I speak English better than any “real Indian” tongue. I see languages as market-governed entities — they evolve and die in response to competition. I do think that English has become a language as Indian as any. Sure, feel free to hate on people who think speaking English makes them better than those who don’t…am with you on that.

  31. Technophobicgeek, thank you for your very reasonable response…that’s how disagreements should be expressed. And for whatever it’s worth, I don’t doubt your Indian-ness (I feel arrogant just saying that, since I have no business to judge it).

  32. brown_fob:

    I too would like to see RECs and other top engineering colleges being transformed into IITs. This will NOT dilute the brand name in my opinion. A huge country like India deserves to have more than a handful ‘IITs’ (or for that matter elite institutes in other fields).

    RECs are being transformed to IIT like institutions. Rourkey has become one. Few RECs (REC Warangal for example) have become National Institute of Tech (NITs) and are on the way to become like IIT institutions with independence on educational matters.

    Amardeep:

    But I think allowing foreign institutions to enter the market would increase competitiveness overall, by giving students more options. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    Agreed that the two are not mutually exclusive but they are not mutually dependent either. If there a is lack of domestic investment then I would agree that foreign investment would increase investment and competition. What is useful might be the expertise that foreign investment might bring along and not necessarily the dollars.

    Lower and middle schools also concentrate only on sciences at the detriment of arts (most entrance exams to best schools are for science and not arts). Students that enter technical institutions lack written and communication skills that arts programs supposed to impart. But most technical schools themselves don’t have any strong arts program themselves to compensate and so people that come out of engineering schools lack most basic written and communication skills.

    Will foreign investment in higher ed alleviate quality issues and address this lack of arts curriculum? I suspect not, because these are for-profit and would like to churn out degree holders more efficiently than before and in the process increasing the cost of higher ed.

    From the article:

    Indians account for among the largest groups of foreign students in the United States, and India increasingly sends students to other countries, like Australia and Canada.

    The article doesn’t really connect the foreign investment to solve any of the problems mentioned except obliquely (But I don’t think it is the point of the article either). If there are better/more colleges in India, would most of the students that go abroad for higher-ed would stay home? I think not. Parents send them abroad with the intention to settle abroad rather than come back to mother land.

  33. A good learning experience at the M.Tech. level can only be fostered, in part, if professors are more willing to allow students be participants rather than note-takers. However, the deference to hierarchy is so extreme in India that most faculty — even some of those at the IIT’s — respond poorly to “talking back” from their lecture audience. This has the consequence that all but the most exceptional students end up so ground-down that they either: a) Pick up whatever on-the-job initiative that they may later show from their corporate “training” programmes (!); or b) Are doomed to being perpetual who can only function “under” somebody.

    A good learning experience can be fostered by making the coursework a hell of a lot more stringent at most of the places. The reason people that come out from IISc are better than those that get their master’s degree from an IIT or somewhere else is because IISc puts their grad students through the wringer. Getting a Master’s degree from an IIT is a breeze in comparison.

    Also, there is the issue of selection bias. The undergrad programs are a lot more competitive and hence are guaranteed a good selection of students. The acceptance rate of the Master’s program is around 20% in the IITs, whereas the acceptance rate to the Bachelors program is close to 2%. Go figure.

  34. A good learning experience can be fostered by making the coursework a hell of a lot more stringent at most of the places. The reason people that come out from IISc are better than those that get their master’s degree from an IIT or somewhere else is because IISc puts their grad students through the wringer.

    Yes and no. Most M.Techs. at the IIT’s need take courses that are on par with 1st-year Ph.D. courses at a top-25 university in the U.S. — and that’s not non-stringent by a long shot. You are probably comparing the Ph.D.’s out of IISc from those out of the IIT’s; if so, you’re absolutely right. Even so, I’m quite underwhelmed by the average Ph.D. from IISc in that s/he seems so very much a pale shadow of his/her dissertation adviser. And this is at the premier science institution in India! This is the reason for venturing the opinion that, perhaps, students aren’t adequately provoked to think for themselves. While all this is somewhat tangential to the present thread, it might herald disturbing news for true tech inovativeness in India.

  35. Opening eductaion in India to open private players will drive up education costs and it will be more and more elitist. Those who are for it say it for their dhanda and kayemi shwartho.

  36. It gives me such a kick to see my alma mater being discussed so much on Sepia Mutiny.

    And to all ur other IITians, IIT M is the best ;)

  37. Technical education in India is nowhere as cheap as it used to be, even in publicly funded institutions. If I remember right, tuition fees at IIT and IIM increased by several orders of magnitude post liberalisation. This is also true for state-level engineering colleges. The UGC has been pushing for more and more self-funding for technical colleges. When I did my masters, I had to pay barely Rs.2,500 per semester. For my juniors, it was Rs.10,000 (of course, that’s still miniscule). When my sister enrolled in an MBA program a few years ago, it was Rs.160,000 (and this was just tuition).

    Mind you, it was a struggle for many nevertheless in my time (early ’90s) and continues to be so, even those from the middle class (those families who haven’t been touched by the IT/Finance/Telecom booms). Not many are aware of loan schemes that they can avail of from PSU banks. SBI, for example, has a scheme (used to be known as Gyanjyoti) for meritorious students (60% marks at every level) to assist with professional/technical education. The catch is that they may insist on some kind of collateral (life insurance policies can be used), which usually means really poor people may not be able to avail of it.

    As for quality of education, one obvious problem is rampant AICTE corruption. A friend of mine who runs a college that hands out bachelor degrees told me there were ‘fixed rates’ for securing affiliation depending on the programs offered. There are several other stories. Thankfully, for colleges that want to offer BTech/MCA/MBA degrees, AICTE officials apparently are a bit stringent on the minimum infrastructure. Quality of teaching is an altogether different matter. Students at state colleges as well as shoddy private colleges have mostly given up on this and fend for themselves.

  38. It gives me such a kick to see my alma mater being discussed so much on Sepia Mutiny. And to all ur other IITians, IIT M is the best ;)

    Let us not belabour the obvious :)

  39. …puts their grad students through the wringer
    Is this supposed to be good?

    Pretty much yeah, Neale. The point of grad school is that you like this shit and you want to do your very best to be an expert in your field. That immediately implies that for a particular PhD program to be strong, they must also be very rigorous so that graduates of that program are, in fact, experts – i.e. they can take on most challenges in that field. Ultimately, when you apply for faculty/researcher positions (the main point of a PhD program), you pit yourself against kids from all the top programs in the US, Europe and Asia (the Aussies and Kiwis tend to stay within the ‘continent’). If you need to succeed, therefore, you need to be on par with peers in any of the best programs. Time is not a constraint in grad school – the focus is on quality output, at your pace. Hence the wringer analogy.

  40. It gives me such a kick to see my alma mater being discussed so much on Sepia Mutiny.
    And to all ur other IITians, IIT M is the best ;)
    Let us not belabour the obvious :)

    Huzzah to all the IITs, I say. I haven’t really found a significant difference in the rigor of the education or the quality of the students (primarily engineering skills) between the established IITs (I just haven’t met too many people from IIT Guwahati).

    There might be differences in quality across IITs if you look at it department by department. For instance, the department of Computer Science at IIT Bombay is probably the best.

  41. the focus is on quality output, at your pace. Hence the wringer analogy

    These two statements are contradictory.

  42. the focus is on quality output, at your pace. Hence the wringer analogy
    These two statements are contradictory.

    Good undergrad engineering programs tend to be intense in terms of the level of work. Grad programs can be a little bipolar. There are times when it is super-intense, and then there are times when you can work at your own pace. If you catch one of the lean periods, is nice! two thumbs up

  43. “Indians account for among the largest groups of foreign students in the United States, and India increasingly sends students to other countries, like Australia and Canada.”

    i cannot help but agree with these kind of statements. being a high school student myself i feel the IITs are a bit overrated. another reason is a large part of the yearly education fund budget prepared by the Govt. goes to these ‘elite’ n ‘prestigious’ institutions.i guess the reason for this maybe because excellence in teaching is not rewarded as much as it shud be.

    Quality of education is good but i dont think anyone can say that its the best anywhere in the world.

    i think that foreign universities in india would surely improve standards of education but the govt. shud surely regulate the fees of such institutions