While on one hand the news of executives of Indian origin - Citi's Pandit, Pepsi's Indra Nooyi, Vodafones' Arun Sarin to name a few - reigning on top of the business world behemoths, says something of our Indian education system, the ghastly news, of perhaps the first incident of its kind in the country, which brought to light a high school student being shot  by his unrepentant classmates, probably speaks otherwise. While this post offers no knee-jerk reaction to the latter, it makes an attempt to bring forth the dual side of Indian higher education system's achievements vis-a-vis that of from other parts of the world.

The feats of Indian engineers and business professionals abroad speaks enough of our highly acclaimed higher education system. On a lighter note, it is interesting to note that our IIT engineers have made appearances in the Dilbert cartoons. However, when these feats are put on a wider spectrum, irreconcilable diverse points of view come to light. As soon as one ferrets through some of the statistics of post graduates from our colleges and universities, moribund nature of our quality of research and value system emphasis becomes evident.  

On the numbers front, India's production of 2.5 million graduates each year, trails behind only US and China. On the quality front its a mixed bag with skewed statistics. While IITs, IIMs and ISB have become truly global brands, the quality of many other 300 universities and more than 15000 colleges is questionable to mention the least. What needs pondering is whether the quality of our research, the breadth of our innovations, the number and frequency of entrepreneurial incubations, and the depth of our faculty reached anywhere close to that of Harvard, MIT or Stanford?

If one takes management education itself, with 1400 B-schools in India, we produce almost seven times the number of B-school graduates in UK. If one were to measure the quality of our management education in terms of return on investment and number of graduates managing to get glamorous jobs with top investment banks and consulting firms, then we can definitely pat our back. But if this was the only yard stick then we would have long back been on the much coveted B-school rankings. Sadly for  our Indian B-schools, the rankings take a holistic view of the school and their management professionals.

While we still fight to find a remote mention in these rankings, I wonder whether today's "supposedly" creme de la creme graduates from IIMs and ISB are well equipped with social , environmental and economic perspectives which are required for business success in a competitive and fast changing world.

We have the numbers; We have the talents; Do we have the motivation? (More of Indian B-schools and their social & environmental stewardship in coming posts) 

~ Santosh

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