Sunday, October 29, 2006

Further reflections on solving India's talent shortage (aka education crisis)

I have already argued earlier, in this Blog, that the single most effective move for sorting out the talent shortage (or educational crisis in India) would be to entirely deregulate primary and secondary education. Let the market sort out what works and what does not. There should only be final exams at state and national levels, so that there are comparable results.

The present system of inspections and controls only tends to extreme corruption in our BIMARU states, though in other states the situation is not as bad – I make both statements on the basis of recent personal experiences in India.

State aid and subsidies should be gradually withdrawn, and incentives and rewards given to entrepreneurs willing to create schools that take educationally and economically poor students and get them through the state/national exams at above average levels. That will only work if there are state-wide and nationwide exams at which students are incentivised to do as well as possible, so that it is clear who is doing well and who is not – say at ages 8, 12 and 16.

Alternatively, entirely abolish schools and move to internet-based technical and vocational education – and why should a gifted child of, say, 12 have to sit through 4 more boring years of irrelevant and unhelpful subjects in order to study for a Bachelor's or a Master's degree?

Rather than spending government money in creating more schools, colleges and universities, why not offer tax-incentives for IT/ Pharma/ Space/ Nuclear and other knowledge-intensive companies to set up their own programmes for gifted 12-year olds that will produce first-rate scientists and technologists by the time they are 16 or 18 or 20 in the fields in which the companies want or need them? Sphere: Related Content

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