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Quality of Education Between Countries

 
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Quality of Education Between Countries Reply with quote

Roughly half of the world's top universities are in the U.S. A quality education, or investment in human capital, is expensive, which many countries cannot afford. China and India can produce all the engineers they want. However, do they really compete with American engineers?

The New York Times
November 30, 2006

A College Education Without Job Prospects

MUMBAI, India, Nov. 29 — The job market for Indian college graduates is split sharply in two. With a robust handshake, a placeless accent and a confident walk, you can get a $300-a-month job with Citibank or Microsoft. With a limp handshake and a thick accent, you might peddle credit cards door to door for $2 a day.

India was once divided chiefly by caste. Today, new criteria are creating a different divide: skills. Those with marketable skills are sought by a new economy of call centers and software houses; those without are ensnared in old, drudgelike jobs.

But the chance to learn such skills is still a prerogative reserved, for the most part, for the modern equivalent of India’s upper castes — the few thousand students who graduate each year from academies like the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology. Their alumni, mostly engineers, walk the hallways of Wall Street and Silicon Valley and are stewards for some of the largest companies.

In the shadow of those marquee institutions, most of the 11 million students in India’s 18,000 colleges and universities receive starkly inferior training, heavy on obedience and light on useful job skills.

But as graduates complain about a lack of jobs, companies across India see a lack of skilled applicants. The contradiction is explained, experts say, by the poor quality of undergraduate education.

A lack of communications skills may be the most obvious shortcoming, but it is not the only one. A deeper problem, specialists say, is a classroom environment that treats students like children even if they are in their mid-20’s. Teaching emphasizes silent note-taking and discipline at the expense of analysis and debate.
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