50% can’t read, 75% can’t be hired, 100% bull

Every third lie is a statistic, and the provisional figures of the 2011 census brings home the truth. In the decadal account book, literacy is up by 9.21% in India that is Bharat over the previous ten years, to stand at 74.04%. Time to bring out the sherbet?

Not quite, writes Geeta Anand in The Wall Street Journal:

“India projects an image of a nation churning out hundreds of thousands of students every year who are well educated, a looming threat to the better-paid middle-class workers of the West…. But as India liberalized its economy starting in 1991 after decades of socialism, it failed to reform its heavily regulated education system.

“Business executives say schools are hampered by overbearing bureaucracy and a focus on rote learning rather than critical thinking and comprehension. Government keeps tuition low, which makes schools accessible to more students, but also keeps teacher salaries and budgets low. What’s more, say educators and business leaders, the curriculum in most places is outdated and disconnected from the real world.

“Muddying the picture is that on the surface, India appears to have met the demand for more educated workers with a quantum leap in graduates. Engineering colleges in India now have seats for 1.5 million students, nearly four times the 390,000 available in 2000, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies, a trade group.

“But 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates are unemployable by India’s high-growth global industries, including information technology and call centers, according to results from assessment tests administered by the group.

“Another survey, conducted annually by Pratham, a nongovernmental organization that aims to improve education for the poor, looked at grade-school performance at 13,000 schools across India. It found that about half of the country’s fifth graders can’t read at a second-grade level.

“At stake is India’s ability to sustain growth—its economy is projected to expand 9% this year—while maintaining its advantages as a low-cost place to do business.”

Read the full article: India graduates millions, but too few are fit to hire

Also read: Yella not OK, guru. Nanna makkalu is not learning

Don’t gift them fish. Teach them how to fish

Can Azim Premji do what the government can’t/ won’t?

Do our netas, parties really care about education?

When will our kids start questioning? Don’t ask

11 reasons Right to Education is not what it seems