Anyone who has studied in Indian schools and colleges will vouch for the fact that Indian Education system churn out more engineers, doctors and MBAs in comparison to any other country in the world. This has partly got to do with the mentality of Indian parents who believe that sole purpose of educating their kids is to find a well paying job. In India, parents have a huge influence on the major life decisions of their children including which school or college they attend, what branch of education their kids pursue and even which job they take up later in life. No doubt this creates a huge pool of educated individuals but the quality leaves a lot to be desired.
Indian Education System
From a very young age it is ingrained in the minds of Indian children that the purpose of education is to find a suitable job. This creates an impression on the minds of these children which is difficult to correct at a later stage. Individual aptitude towards any vocation, interests in any particular stream is sacrificed in the pursuit of a degree, which makes them job ready. The consequences towards this approach of education is that in the short term there is a boom in the number of professionals however in the long term areas like researches, arts and allied areas take a beating. This is dangerous for a developing economy like India. This creates a rat race to get admission in reputed educational institutes right from school level putting pressure on youngsters to perform in subjects which might not necessarily appeal to them resulting in disappointment when unable to perform.
Foreign Education System
Foreign education, on the contrary in general and western education in particular focuses more on individual interests, learning abilities and aptitude towards any vocations. The social system also supports individual education to a great extend unlike India, the purpose of foreign education system is not to land a job to make a living but holistic development of individuals. The performance measurement and grading system in foreign countries encourages blooming of individuals talents in diverse fields and does not restrict children to mere classroom studies. This approach is more practical and suited to overall individual development. Hence the focus of foreign education system is creating individuals with a broad outlook towards all aspects and does not narrow the purpose of education just for the purpose of getting a job.
Both approaches have their pros and cons while education system might create more professionals it definitely needs to broaden its scope and focus more on grooming tomorrow’s citizens who can lead the country in all areas. Foreign education system is more liberal in its attitude which can sometime proof counterproductive especially when children from different educational backgrounds experience it for the first time. If we are to compare both education systems, both have their own merits however looking at the broader picture all we can say is it is up to the individual. As Mark Twain, once said, “Don’t let schooling interfere with your child’s education!”
Education is the key foundation for the success of any country and the betterment of any individual. However, given the culture and mindset of different races, there is a different approach towards education. And to be more precise, there is a difference between the approach towards education in the western countries and in India. Apparently, the fundamental is that there is a chalk and cheese difference in the objective of education in both sides.
Apparently, the foreign students treat education more like a learning process. On the other hand, they choose the line they are interested in and go only for that course and line of career. In this process, they tend to wait for the right kind of job and don’t really consider time as a hindrance. On the other hand, the objective of education in India has more to do with a fat salaried job, overseas chances, better marriage prospects, status in society etc.
However, analysts on both sides say there is a lot of difference in terms of competition, aptitude and the job markets in both hemispheres. While things are rather relaxed owing to the lesser population, more streamlined procedure and lack of unfair means, things are quite different when it comes to India. As such, money becomes the root cause since most of the higher end courses are taken on study loan. So, it is more about circumstances than choices for many students.
However, to those who manage to get admission in the foreign schools, once adaptability is achieved, the path is set and clear. Also, given the infrastructure, access to various resources and other facilities, the quality tends to be higher in terms of conducive learning. Though changes are being noticed in India with top league B-Schools focusing on quality and better infrastructure, there is still that gap between foreign schools and Indian educational institutions. With globalisation happening rapidly and economies getting tighter in developed countries, changes are being noticed so let us see how things take shape.1)The big difference is whatever discarded theories we learn in india those theories are not lernt by foreign people 2)Most part of their education is covered under practicals
Well to be practical foreign education is a bit better than Indian education but in a certain aspect.
Let me just put some flashlight on few areas why Indian’s prefer foreign education:
Jobs: This is the main reason why people go abroad and spend millions of money on it. Many students are directly placed in foreign companies and so they prefer foreign education.
Other reasons why it is better is that there is a better understanding and relationship between teachers and students. Schools have an open environment of teaching and has got no shyness on topics such as sex. In India no topic such as sex is taught in any school.
Students are encouraged to work on their own projects on science and incentives are provided to them. Here ther’s no such sort of a thing. You are on your own.
But recently there has been a boom in our Indian education as we are developing and becoming better than other nations.
Due to recession many students are now preferring to stay in India now and pursue their course here as in abroad IT sector is the major head of earnings in companies. Foreign companies are suffering a blow down thereby leading to decline in jobs.
If we consider the management area, then yeah we may say that foreign is better in providing management degrees than India. We have here only 10-15 reputed colleges which offer good MBA degree. Of these 10-15 the competition is killing and you really need to tie your boots if you wanna get into them.
Regarding Science scenario we are in with other nations.
Consider for example the CERN EXPERIMENT. This experiment consisted of colliding two protons. The experiment was successful which was feared by many people as it would lead to collapse of earth planet. The CERN association consisted of more than 200 Indian scientists.
I totally agree with Lenin’s statement about what he said on professional value of degree. If we do Phd. or masters degree from abroad it has a greater value than the one done from India.
Rest I would say that its totally the mindset of the person who wishes to pursue his education either from India or foreign. Mostly students who pursue from abroad have a greater bank balance and so utilize money by showing their standards. Other reasons are that often students of rich families who are not able to get into top Indian colleges in engineering and mbbs head for abroad. Believe me its true. It happens in medical field. Many students pursue their MBBS from abroad due to non selection in Indian colleges.
The basic and most important difference between the two educational systems is the stress on math that is given in India (and Europe, I have been told) at the elementary and high school level itself. Mathematics, in my humble opinion, teaches students logical and rational thinking – it lays the foundation of independent and lateral thinking. Indian schools start teaching maths, like multiplication tables, at the elementary level itself. It is given a lot of importance and is a must for students who plan to do science related study in college.
On the other hand, high school in America is so flexible that a lot of students who end up majoring in sciences in college do not take advanced maths and calculus in high school. In general, I found that at the end of their 1st year of university, math majors in the US are equivalent to high school graduates in India in terms of math study. This emphasis on maths in high schools and engineering programs is also the reason why India produces so many “good” software engineers. The analytical thinking taught by mathematics is exactly what is required for software development.
The flexibility of the American education system is its greatest strength and also its greatest weakness. Students can choose among a host of classes and courses in high school and college. This means they can change their major (i.e. field of study) midway through college. This usually means that students in the US receive more exposure to a variety of subjects and hence, are more aware of their career options and opportunities. However, the downside is that they can avoid taking courses which are hard in their major. The computer science students in my department in the US are often criticized for avoiding a lot of important computer science courses by taking easier courses from other departments that fulfill their degree requirements.
On digging deeper into the root of the problem, I realized that the general problem with the American education (high school and college) system is that it is designed so as not to reduce/hurt the self-esteem of any kid in class. So, the system is designed in such a way that nearly everyone can pass the high-school level. This leads to lowering the standards at the high school, which in turn leads to lowering the standards for college entrance too and subsequent college programs. So, college students in, say, computer science, are learning much less and at a much slower pace than the students in computer science programs in India and Europe
This is one of the main reasons why most of the graduate students in computer science in the US are foriegn students; American students are just not able to compete with the quality of foriegn student applicants. College education is becoming common place, with a large proportion of high school graduates opting for it. Universities are under pressure from state governments to take in more students, that is, in turn, leading to reduced quality and lower standards (quality*quantity=constant).
Universities are just not able to cope with the quick increases and the corresponding lack of good faculty. The situation is not improving either ! People kick and scream about the fact that immigrants are taking over the country and the hi-tech jobs, but very few people are examining the reasons why this is happening. Most people are fiercely defensive about the country and refuse to believe that anything can be wrong with the country’s education system since they are the technology leaders. However, nobody realizes or admits that this, to a great extent, is due to brain inflow of immigrants from Asia (India included) and Europe.
However, the flip side of the coin is that the Indian education and social systems are very hard on kids and completely ignore their feelings, opinions and ambitions. Kids are pushed to study from the age of 3 and non-performers are treated as dolts and ostracized by parents and society. The preferred choice of learning and teaching is memorizing facts. These facts do help in the long run; the multiplication tables we learned in elementary school keep us ahead of our American peers who need a calculator to find out what 6 times 7 is ! However, the memorization approach to study does not allow and teach kids to think independently. The American school system lays stress on individual ability development and encourages kids to express themselves and their opinions from an early age. As a result, most Americans are way better at getting their point across as compared to people from other countries.
However, again, the downside of this is that students in the US who are more out-spoken do well in class and outside class too only because they are more effective speakers. In the Indian system, individuals are not asked to stand up infront of the whole class and recite something. Instead, the whole class reads books out aloud together in unison. This allows more timid students to participate and overcome their fear of public speaking (since they are actually speaking with a group). Individual speaking is only done with the teacher one-on-one during “oral” examinations, where students are asked questions on the subject matter. Both systems work, however, in the Indian system, just because you can’t speak well, does not mean you don’t do well in class.
But students in the US build more self-confidence and are much better at public speaking. Indian students on the other hand find it hard to learn to speak up or express their opinions (I know those are really broad generalizations). Classroom discussion and asking questions to the professors is encouraged. However, in India, professors expect you to treat them like God and often use their almost dictorial powers against students who upset them in some way.
On a different note, another observation I made, while I was a teaching assistant (TA) for a senior level (3rd-4th year) class of computer science undergraduates, is that their focus in class and attitude towards the course was completely exam-oriented (ofcourse, there were some highly motivated and intelligent students too). They constantly wanted to know if what was being discussed would be on the quiz or the final. Almost no one in the class was attempting to understand concepts. They wanted to learn to solve all the kinds of problems that may appear in the quiz.
One may argue that this is a natural thing for students to want. But the fact of the matter is that the American college education system is industry-oriented and hence, is structured so that it produces people who can do a certain type of job efficiently. So it is like a custom-design factory which produces engineers/workers who can do one or two jobs very well but require massive retraining if they have to do something new. In contrast, the education in India (and Europe) is more towards teaching the basic concepts and a broader mass of information.
The products of this education system, are therefore capable of taking up several different types of jobs and are not masters of any single job. To do any single job well, they have to go through some amount of training at work. Another realization that the other TA and myself made was that the students wanted to be “spoon-fed” and told exactly what they needed to do, in order to do well in the course.
This mentality of always being told to read something, do some assignment and essentially, being given goal-oriented tasks to perform, works great when students are being trained to work in the industry. And this is an admirable goal – America is built on the strength of these students who can perform what they have been told to do. However, in the long run, these people are not able to adapt quickly to changes in the industry. And they are definitely not prepared to go to graduate school (for a master’s or a Phd).
Graduate school is very different from undergraduate school. There is no single book being followed; the reading and writing assignments require paper chases and are ambiguously defined. Also, most courses do not have regular evaluations such as quizes etc. but rely on a final project or term paper – this makes it very hard for one to know how much effort one needs to put into the course. One has to come out of the “spoonfeed me” mode and learn to think independently.
This lack of spoonfeeding in graduate school also means that one has to be motivated by themselves – especially in PhD programs. The amount that you get out of your master’s or PhD depends on the amount of work you put in (more work also means faster graduation). There is no one motivating you to work harder or checking on your progress regularly. (By the way, my arguments in the Master’s versus PhD debate are available here) Something I would like to stress is that the situation I have described is for public universities in the US.
Private liberal arts universities provide much better personalized attention to students besides a broader education. Also, non-science programs are stronger in general in the US due to the fact that they follow regular quarter or semester systems – in India, non-science programs usually have year long schedules with exams at the end of the year, whereas in the US, these programs have regular quizes and exams like all other science programs. On the other hand, most university students in India waste their whole year doing nothing; attendence requirements are very low and usually can be bypassed.
Overall, I feel that the high school system in the US leaves students at a disadvantage when compared to their peers in India, Europe and perhaps the rest of Asia too. Some Americans cannot point out all the states in the United States on a map, let alone know anything about India (read the humorous commonly asked questions about India or watch Jay Leno’s street
This leads me to conclude that an Indian education is overall better atleast till the undergraduate degree (for engineering). However, graduate programs in the US are probably far ahead of most other countries due to the critical mass they have and the fact that they attract the best students and faculty from all over the world.