Which country has the most Indian students?
Lessons from India’s dark educational realities
country has the most Indian students
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Here are two anecdotes that show the current state of education in India. An Indian student applied to MIT in the United States. During the admissions interview process, an MIT professor asked an Indian student. “There is a famous Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in India, so why did you come all the way to MIT?” The student said, “I had no choice but to come to MIT because I failed at IIT.”
The rich and the poor in education in India
Morning view of an elementary school in rural India.
Although exaggerated, it is an anecdote that metaphorically shows the status of Indian IITs. In October 2006, The Times ranked India’s IIT at 57th in the list of the world’s top 100 universities. South Korea’s Seoul National University ranked 63rd, although it jumped 30 places from 93rd in 2005.
The competitiveness of Indian IITs lies in the selection of excellent human resources. Talented people from all over India, with a population of 1.2 billion, study all night only with the goal of entering IIT. Admission to the IIT itself is key to ensuring future success. Companies that guarantee hundreds of millions of won in annual salary are waiting in line for IIT graduates who have passed the ruthless undergraduate course that creates the elite.
The second case concerns education in the state of Bihar, one of the most underdeveloped states in India. A girls’ middle school in Bihar. This school building, which was built 60 years ago, in a word, reminds us of ruins, with the roof leaking when it rains. In a dark classroom without electricity, students sit on the bare floor and take lessons. Only 200 students attend school, which is only half of the school’s capacity. At least a lot of people come during lunchtime to get the free lunch provided by the government.
Bihar has the worst social infrastructure among India’s 28 states. The percentage of residents below the poverty line is 42.6%, far above the national average of 26.1%. The elementary school enrollment rate of children is also 41%, far behind the national average of 66%. Instead of going to school, school-age children look after livestock or work in weaving mills in large cities near their parents’ wishes.
Madrasa Elementary School built on the roadside in Bihar to attract more students. Rural school-age children take care of livestock or work in nearby urban weaving mills instead of going to school.
For the lower classes, Muslims, and lower castes, who make up most of the entire population of Bihar, the issue of survival is urgent: how to live each day. For them, education to ensure their children’s future is just a piece of cake. The situation is not particularly better for the lower castes of other states.
The passion for education is the exclusive property of the middle and upper classes
India has as much passion for education as Korea. In New Delhi, during the final exams of middle and high schools, various academic competitions, and college entrance exams, the road traffic in front of the school is so crowded that it is paralyzed. Newspapers and broadcasters are also reporting extensively on the schedule and results of major university entrance exams, as well as the top successful applicants. However, this fervent enthusiasm for education only applies to middle- and upper-class families who send their children to so-called prestigious schools.
There are more than 4,000 universities across India, including 3,877 colleges, 108 universities, and 11 specialized vocational colleges, with about 3 million students. The college entrance rate is only 4%, but it is a very insignificant figure considering the total population of 1.2 billion. If the admission rate of prestigious universities such as IIT, Nehru University, and Delhi University is calculated separately, the figure drops even further.
India is often referred to as a country rich in talent and manpower. However, the actual figure may be close to an illusion. Out of 1.2 billion people, even if we count 10% of some well-educated and trained people, it is more than 100 million people. People pay attention to the figure of 100 million and do not show special interest in the remaining 1.1 billion people, who are the majority.
India’s prestigious Delhi University campus with 85 years of tradition.
These marginalized and uncertain futures have long been forgotten. In India, all states are promoting free education for elementary school (ages 6-11), and most states subsidize education costs for middle school (ages 12-14). However, the middle school enrollment rate remains at the 40% level.
Now, on the wave of change, marginalized classes such as lower castes and untouchables in India are voicing their voices demanding equal opportunity. The government is also implementing a policy that considers the lower class in the university entrance exam and employment at government agencies. However, the reality facing India is not very favorable.
Polarization of education in India, which is difficult to find a solution to
In March 2006, the central government of India formulated a policy to increase the special rate of university admission for lower castes from 22.5% at the time to 49.5%. However, the implementation of this policy has been postponed due to the decision of the Supreme Court in the face of national opposition from the middle and upper castes.
Medical and engineering students from leading universities in India led a violent protest against the policy, and the slogans they put up at the time were ‘Reserve vs. Deserve’ and ‘Freedom from Britain in 1947′. , 2006: Freedom from Caste Politics’ (1947: Freedom from British, 2006: Freedom from Caste Politics).
Delhi University students are busy moving according to their class schedules.
Incompetent and inefficient administration of the government, especially the state government, also plays a part in India’s dark educational reality. Lalu P. Yadav, who served as State Prime Minister for many years in the aforementioned Bihar state, was ridiculed as the biggest failure of Indian democracy for his incompetent and corrupt administration.
Prime Minister Lalu Yadab was a man who insisted on ideal education policies without considering the state’s financial situation. He recklessly promoted the establishment of a forest school for shepherds in remote areas, cutting the salaries of university professors or delaying them for several months, resulting in an unprecedented six-month strike by university professors in Bihar. .
What is even more bizarre is that 25% of all primary school teachers in India are ghost teachers who are paid but do not attend school. In a report titled ‘Corrupted Schools, Corrupt Universities: What to Do’, published in June 2007 by the UNESCO Institute for International Education Planning (IIEP), Gujarat has the lowest percentage of ghost teachers in primary schools in India, with 17% and Bihar with the highest at 38%. He also accused the pathetic disease of reaching the moon.
Deep-rooted poverty and inefficient social structure are the roots of unfair gaming
The overall reality of education in India can be seen as a vicious cycle of poverty and fundamental discrimination. The children of lower castes, untouchables and Muslims, who make up a large part of India’s population, are being born into the world deprived of equal opportunities for education and competition. There is a limit to how they can carve out their own destiny and future with only will and effort.
Delhi University Central Library.
In other words, if children from high castes or good families are already standing at the halfway point in a marathon race, it is like an unfair game where children from underprivileged families must start at the starting line. At the root of the unfair education game in India lies the selfishness of monopolizing most of the wealth and social status of the upper class and passing it down from generation to generation. Of course, the current situation has improved to some extent compared to the past, but there is no fundamental solution or cure yet.
Recently, in Korea, a book titled ‘People Who Forsaken God’ written by the president of Pune University was published and attracted our attention. This book depicts the tearful challenge of the descendants of Dalits (untouchables), who were fundamentally deprived of educational opportunities, to overcome all kinds of discrimination, cold treatment and inequality in Indian society and achieve success. The heroic drama of Narendra Jadhav, the protagonist of the book, hides the sacrifice and resentment of his father, who never even went to school.
The cover of the book ‘Those Who Forsaken God’ written by the president of the University of Pune, who was an Untouchable, was recently published in Korea.
India’s ancient Hindu scriptures (Manu Code) stipulated that the lower caste Shudras and Untouchables Dalits could not have property other than ‘dogs and donkeys’, and could not receive education. The Manu Code also mentioned the following specific rules to fundamentally block the opportunity for sudras and dalits to receive education.
“If you hear the Vedas, lead will be poured into your ears; if you recite the Vedas, your tongue will be cut off; if you remember the Vedas, your body will be cut in two.”
Although much has improved, the lower classes of India are still blocked by a wall of structural discrimination. In the midst of deep-seated poverty, ignorance, and inefficient social system, the conditions for them to develop their own future are not being created. In particular, the reality that fair competition opportunities are not given due to the huge polarization of education remains the biggest problem.
In India as well as in Korea, the responsibility of the state and society to guarantee equal opportunities for education is more urgent than ever. This is because the critical issue of education must be approached from the broad framework of the state and society. The arrogant attitude of some Korean universities, which stubbornly rejected the government’s three-dollar policy and insisted on selecting students by ranking them up to high school for reasons of education and university development, is reminiscent of India’s inhumane education polarization, and I cannot help but feel bittersweet.
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