As I read and listen to the debate on education in India, there is much appreciation for the Right to Education Act. The concern is about the quality of that education. Following are voices that directly or indirectly address the issue.

  • An ESL scholar to a doctoral candidate on teaching English in India: Nobody has any idea of what the children know, what they don’t know and what they need to know.
  • A senior American software consultant on Indian software professionals: They don’t ask questions. Nor do they know what questions to ask. Is there something in your education system that discourages students from asking questions?
  • A senior manager on Indian industrial workers: We don’t want them to think! When they think, they ask all the wrong questions and make a mess.
  • An academic dean: The students lack curiosity.
  • A government schoolteacher: Even if a student hands in a blank answer sheet, we are expected to write answers and pass the student.
  • A young graduate at an interview to an MBA programme: Hitler is my role model among leaders. He was a greater leader than Gandhi.
  • Google search: 60% to 85% of Indian graduates are unemployable

While the student’s words are dismaying at the very least, the responsibility lies with educators. Clearly, we need a better understanding of curriculum development and quality in education at all levels.