"Our university system is, in many parts, in a state of disrepair...In almost half the districts in the country, higher education enrollments are abysmally low, almost two-third of our universities and 90 per cent of our colleges are rated as below average on quality parameters... I am concerned that in many states university appointments, including that of vice-chancellors, have been politicised and have become subject to caste and communal considerations, there are complaints of favouritism and corruption" - Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
Also read: Why Indians opt for higher education in US
India has the second largest higher education system in the world second only to US. Still, every year, thousands of Indians travel to US and other countries to pursue higher education. This article will give a detailed comparative view of the higher education in India and US and give insights into what led our Prime Minister to give such an extreme statement.
Quality of education comparison
Indian education system is inherently a theoretical system of education. In all the examinations and tests, memorizing power of the student is tested. This is true for all the levels of education right from primary school till higher education. Very little stress is given to practical applications and practical oriented education. Compare this with US education system, where a much more practical oriented approach is followed. Open book tests, oral exams and other types of tests are taken for judging the students. The syllabus and curriculum are frequently updated in US to keep up with the latest social and technological developments in the society. If you look at the Indian syllabi, hardly any changes are made. Simple reprints are made without any major modification or reforms. The overall result of this is that the quality of education in India is much less when compared with the quality of education in US.
Quality of teachers
Indian culture gives the highest respect to teachers, even more than what is given to parents. But when it comes to job preference, teaching is the very last profession that a person would choose in India. The primary reason for this is the meager salaries of teachers in India. At the primary and secondary level of education, teachers have very little salaries and hence, there is a huge lack of quality teachers at the basic level. Even at the higher educational level, very few people prefer teaching as a career option in India. Hence, the quality of teachers in most Indian Universities is very poor. Compare it with US education system. Every teacher right from Kindergarten till post-graduation gains immense respect and equal salary packages if not more. In fact the professors of Universities earn a lot more than their employee counterparts. Since the professors receive funds for research activities from the Government, teaching is a job of responsibility in US. Teaching is considered a very lucrative profession in US. To summarize, the teaching profession in India requires a lot of reforms, particularly pertaining to monetary benefits to teachers and research funds to improve quality of faculty in Indian Universities.
Infrastructure and funds comparison
Similar to the quality of teachers, Indian schools and Universities lack quality infrastructure. If we compare the infrastructure, laboratories, workshops, computer centres and other facilities in Indian and US Universities, there is a huge difference. US Universities never compromise on the quality of infrastructure and provide the best labs and facilities to their students. In India, priority is not given to build and maintain quality infrastructure. Hence there is lack of state of the art labs in India. Our instruments and components never work. Water and electricity problems are very common in Indian schools and Universities. The basic reason for these problems is lack of funding. Even if the funds are allocated for any good developmental work, they are either misused or taken up by the middlemen. The funds are never used for the purpose for which they were released. As long as the Indian Universities and schools do not improve the infrastructure and other facilities, we can never compete with other countries in the field of higher education.
Admission process comparison
There is no single entrance examination for higher education in India. For IITs, NITs and other technical institutes, the all India exam GATE is considered. Apart from this, many other institutes like IIITs, BITS, etc conduct their own entrance exams. For other less reputed institutes, admissions are based solely on an interview where if one is ready to pay donation, he gets admission. For management based courses, again there are dozens of entrance exams like CAT, SNAP, XAT, etc and a student has to travel and apply to each and every Institute separately. In US, for technical courses one has to take the GRE and for management courses GMAT. No other entrance exam is required. All the US Universities consider these test scores for admissions. Also, the admission in US Universities is based on the complete profile of the applicant and not just his test scores. Academic record from high school, recommendation letters, GRE/GMAT score, statement of purpose all have equal importance when considering for admission. In India, admission is based purely on GATE marks for initial screening in most Universities.
Also read: Why Indians opt for higher education in US