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Brain Drain: India needs to Empower its Educational Institutions

With a a pay scale ranging between 5000 and 15,000, it is not surprising that the teaching profession is no longer attracting the best talent.

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Indian school children in Mizoram Image Source: Wikipedia Commons
  • Each year, at least 125,000 students go out leading to an outflow of ₹200,000 crore annually
  • While those in the big private schools are well paid, the teachers in most of the private schools get a pay scale ranging between 5000 and 15,000
  • The only way to control the spiraling cost of education is to create good state supply at a cheaper cost

Many well-to-do families send their kids abroad for higher education as they feel Indian educational institutions lack infrastructure and scope for better education. These children go abroad and spend almost Rs 1.5 crore for an undergraduate course. According to a survey, each year, at least 125,000 students go out leading to an outflow of ₹200,000 crore annually and with each passing year numbers are rising.

As a result, the best of Indian minds do get access to the good educational facilities in India and as they result, either they struggle to make their way to a foreign university or their lives are doomed due to lack of financial support. When looked at on a broader prospect, this has resulted in brain drain, in true sense of the term.

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Except for Supreme court that is working to bring a transparent system, Government officials are not showing active involvement to counter the drawbacks of India’s education system. The trend of accepting ‘donations’ by Government Institutions is so rampant, they it fails to focus on the quality education. ‘Bribe’ in the form of ‘donation’ are forced on the students, once they make their way to these institutes.

According to the 2014 educational statistics report from the Ministry of Human Resource, the number of schools in the country at 14,25,564. The pupil to teacher ratio at the primary level is 28 while at the senior secondary level is 40. And 43% of school teachers in India are now working under privately managed schools. That’s about 4.2 million teachers, of which 3.1 million teach in elementary schools.

The government school teachers get pay scales ranging between Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 per month depending on their level of qualification and experience and get additional hikes and pension plans after each government re-election, while most of the private school teachers suffer due to underpay.

Apart from few Big private schools that pay their teachers well, most of the teachers in private schools get a mere payscale ranging between 5000 and 15,000. Hence, it is not surprising that the teaching profession is no longer attracting the best talent. Here, what India needs to know is that there is a difference between buying teachers and bringing good teachers to a institution.

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People have the notion that teaching is a “noble-profession” and education being “non- profit”. This has cost us dearly with the loss of beautiful minds and will continue to hurt us in our global ambitions. The government must empower institutions and let them compete in the market. The good ones will survive and the bad ones will die, and that is a good result.

There are not more than 20,000 students travelling to India to study here. Most of these students are from South Asia and Africa, driven primarily by grants based on agreements between the two governments.

Main Building of IIT Kharagpur Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

“The IITs have been funded, subsidized, given land and buildings and still charge almost ₹8 lakh for four years, much more than the fees fixed by the empowered fees fixation committee (at times it is as low as ₹32,000 per year). The IIMs, fully funded, subsidized with zero cost of infrastructure and capital creation charge upwards of ₹15 lakh, while states impose a fees cap of around ₹2 lakh for an MBA. The real cost per student for an IIM is upwards of ₹1 crore. Ever wonder why education is so bad? The only way to control the spiraling cost of education is to create good state supply at a cheaper cost. They should act as a correcting force and a deterrent through market forces.”, says Mahesh Peri of the Huffington Post.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

ALSO READ:

  • AJ Krish

    India should level up on the standard of educational institutions and provide better facilities to keep India’s youth within the country. Quality education in one’s motherland, who would say no to that?

  • Aparna Gupta

    This is true. If we want to strengthen our education system, we need to make some changes in it otherwise it will be quite impossible to urge the students to study in India.

  • Aayush Anand

    Brain drain is as much a statistical issue as it is psychological. Teaching is looked down here as a profession not of first choice but last. This leads to uninterested individuals taking the blackboard and spoiling the subject for students by teaching in a non passionate and uninteresting fashion. Its also the reason of such small number of students pursuing research in India.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Empowering the educational institutes is one of the best ways to empower the children because schools are like the 2nd homes for kids. There should be ways to bring about changes

SHARE
  • AJ Krish

    India should level up on the standard of educational institutions and provide better facilities to keep India’s youth within the country. Quality education in one’s motherland, who would say no to that?

  • Aparna Gupta

    This is true. If we want to strengthen our education system, we need to make some changes in it otherwise it will be quite impossible to urge the students to study in India.

  • Aayush Anand

    Brain drain is as much a statistical issue as it is psychological. Teaching is looked down here as a profession not of first choice but last. This leads to uninterested individuals taking the blackboard and spoiling the subject for students by teaching in a non passionate and uninteresting fashion. Its also the reason of such small number of students pursuing research in India.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Empowering the educational institutes is one of the best ways to empower the children because schools are like the 2nd homes for kids. There should be ways to bring about changes

Next Story

More Science Careers: African School Of Physics on Mission To Educate New African Generation Through Traveling Program

"Science is increasingly recognized as an important engine of economic growth and societal advancement," she wrote in an email. She noted "increasing numbers of such programs on the African continent, where there is a surging young population entering the workforce."

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Africa
Ketevi Assamagan, a particle physicist at the U.S.-based Brookhaven National Laboratory, co-founded the African School of Physics, a training program for graduate students in math and sciences. (Photo courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory) VOA

Africa-born particle physicist Ketevi Assamagan is a man on a mission. His goal is to bring science education to a new generation of young Africans through a traveling program known as the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications, or ASP.

“Sometimes, people just need some help to be able to find the right resources,” said Assamagan, an ASP founder who works at the U.S. Energy Department’s Brookhaven National Laboratory here on Long Island. “So, together with some colleagues, we decided to create this school.”

Born in Guinea, Assamagan grew up in Togo and earned a doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1995. Gratitude to past mentors fueled his desire to start the ASP, he said.

Positive elements

The ASP program runs for three weeks every two years in a different African country. The first was in 2010 in South Africa, with subsequent gatherings in Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda and Namibia. The next is planned for July 2020 in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Each workshop brings together up to 80 students, who are treated to intensive lectures and training by top-flight physicists.

Physicist Ketevi Assamagan demonstrates how a cloud chamber works. (A. Phillips/VOA)
Physicist Ketevi Assamagan demonstrates how a cloud chamber works. (A. Phillips/VOA)

“We get students from all over Africa [who] have at least three years of university education,” Assamagan said. “The majority of them are usually at the master’s level and they come from different fields: nuclear and high energy physics, medical applications, computing, mathematics and theoretical physics.”

The students’ expenses are covered by roughly 20 international sponsors, including the Brookhaven lab; the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy; the South African Department of Science and Technology; and Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics.

Another sponsor has been the European Center for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, in Geneva. Assamagan worked on CERN’s particle accelerator for several years while conducting research on the elusive Higgs boson subatomic particle. He left in 2001 to join Brookhaven.

Sustained support

After the program, participants are paired with senior mentors who offer advice on additional education, teaching and research opportunities, both in Africa and abroad.

For Zimbabwe native Last Feremenga, participation in the 2010 ASP workshop served as a springboard to a doctorate in physics from the University of Texas. Now he’s a data scientist with Digital Reasoning, an artificial intelligence firm headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I sift through large datasets of written text in search of rare forms of conversations/language. These rare conversations are useful for our clients from health care to finance,” the 32-year-old told VOA in an email. He added that he’s using “similar tactics” to those he learned at ASP.

Julia MacKenzie, senior director of international affairs for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says training programs such as ASP are especially important in developing countries.

“Science is increasingly recognized as an important engine of economic growth and societal advancement,” she wrote in an email. She noted “increasing numbers of such programs on the African continent, where there is a surging young population entering the workforce.”

“A potential impact of graduate training is exposure to new ideas and people,” MacKenzie added. “Any time graduate students can come together, it’s likely that new friendships will form, and those relationships can provide support through inevitable challenges and spawn new collaborations.”

application learning
“We get students from all over Africa [who] have at least three years of university education,” Assamagan said. “The majority of them are usually at the master’s level and they come from different fields: nuclear and high energy physics, medical applications, computing, mathematics and theoretical physics.” Pixabay
Hands-on learning

Assamagan says that when he was in high school in Togo, science was taught from second-hand textbooks from abroad. There was no experimentation.

“Direct involvement … in terms of playing with things and getting mental challenge to try to figure it out was not really there,” he said. “We want to resolve that” through ASP.

The 70 or so science teachers at the workshop last year in Namibia learned hands-on experiments that could be replicated with scant equipment and resources.

For example, using only a small plastic box with an aluminum plate, tin foil, Styrofoam, pure alcohol and dry ice, high school students could build a tabletop “cloud chamber” to simulate the detection of cosmic particles from outer space. Another experiment taught physics to elementary school children by way of art. The children could drip paint on a canvas tilted at various angles, then observe the patterns the paint made as it descended.

Also Read: E-Commerce Policy: Centre To Regulate Cross-Border Flow Of Data

“You can then start introducing the idea of gravity,” Assamagan said. “And then relating things falling down to the Earth going around the sun as being driven by the same force.”

Assamagan predicts a bright future for physics research in Africa. He says he sees talent and commitment, but that more digital libraries, along with continent-wide access to high-speed internet connections and the political will to provide them, are needed. (VOA)