And India’s higher education system badly needs shaking up. Setting aside issues of quality (as if those can be set aside), India does not come close to providing sufficient seats to those aspiring to higher education — a glaring shortcoming as India’s burgeoning middle class strives to prepare their children for the opportunities of the future.
India’s system has its successes, of course, but they are narrow. Just nine Indian higher education institutions made the top 500 of the most recent QS World University Rankings. The top one — the Indian Institute of Science (at 155) — is a highly specialized institution focused on postgraduate studies and research in the sciences. The other eight are part of the well-known Indian Institutes of Technology, which specialize in engineering. The highest-ranked comprehensive university was the University of Delhi, falling in the 520s.
That is simply not good enough. All told, India has just over 1,000 institutions of higher learning. China, with a similar population, has three times that. The United States, with a much smaller population, has four times as many.
This all sounds find, but India will replicate some of the US’s pathologies in the education sector. The “consumer model” of higher education has been causing serious problems here over the past few decades. The op-ed even states that “Private universities, too, are overly regulated and cannot operate for profit. That deters the best entrepreneurs from entering the sector.” Entrepreneurs entering the sector was a disaster, and for-profit colleges were a way to absorb student loans from the public fisc.
But I wish India well.