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Higher education: India lags behind China despite English language advantage

indian studentsDespite the English language advantage and the government’s enhanced focus on higher studies, India’s top educational and research institutes, including the IITs and IIMs, lag Chinese universities in global ranking.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings has nine universities from China in its 2012 list of Top 400 compared with just one from India. Another latest ranking by Guardian Higher Education Network shows nine Chinese universities among top 50 Asian universities, while no university from India makes it to the list.

China has been consistently scoring over India in higher education for several years, as reflected even in previous rankings.

The Times ranking, based on five broad parameters: teaching, research, citations, industry income or innovation and international outlook in terms of staff, students and research, covers subjects including engineering and technology, arts and humanities, health, life sciences, physical sciences and social sciences.

“China has invested heavily in infrastructure, research resources and that too from local councils and state bodies, not just from central government,” says Anil Gupta, professor and founder, Honey Bee Network, IIM-Ahmedabad.

The draft document of the 12th Five Year Plan proposes to increase investment on higher education to 25% of all government education spending, or 1.5% of GDP from the current 18% and 1.12% respectively. An increase of 0.38% of GDP means an additional allocation of about Rs25,000 crore to higher education for the Centre and the states together.

On the other hand, China’s expenditure in education from the central public budget reached more than 1.2 trillion yuan ($191 billion) during January-November last year, an increase of 25.8% from previous year, according to reports.

“The biggest gap (for India) lies in the quantum of research. A systematic approach needs to be taken to reform the structure of universities into teaching and research institutions,” says Devang V Khakhar, director, IIT-Bombay. He sees a need for a significantly greater financial support for infrastructure, faculty positions and research facilities.

AUGC report “Higher Education in India at a Glance” paints a dismal picture on student enrolment. While 86% of students complete graduation, mere 12% opt for post-graduate education and barely 1% go for research. (The Economic Times)

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