Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A critical gap in education policy

We badly need internationally comparable measurement of what Indian 15-year-olds know using the OECD PISA.

3 comments:

  1. The PISA home page does not contain "India" anywhere !

    Strangely enough, Indian students are subjected to some of the toughest exminations in the world viz. IIT-JEE, IIM-CAT.. etc. Indian students have usually excelled in GRE/GMAT too.

    Shankar
    L&T Infotech

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  2. That is my point - India needs to plug into PISA to know how Indian 15-year-olds compare with the global situation.

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  3. PISA, as far as I know requires 15 year old students to be currently enrolled in school of several types. India's inclusion would provide a lop-sided view of our education system. In all probabilities it would show how wonderfully advanced we are educationally. But we would not have a representative sample simply because millions of our children are still out of school and out of those who do get enrolled, most drop out before 15 years. Remember also that our right to free education is only from 6-14 years. It is assumed perhaps, that children finally become 'adults' after 14 years and are ready to join the labor market (not the job-market. That is reserved for people like 'us'!). With most of 'them' gone, people like us continue our education peacefully because our parents can pay for our education. But of course the voucher programs will slowly remove this terrible inequality from the face of the earth!

    With regards to one of the comments made in this section - just because a small section of our student population (even though large in absolute numbers) takes IIT entrance tests does not mean that we can or need to jump into the bandwagon as well. From my very personal experience (for I am surrounded by IIT-ans in my environment), I must also say (and of course many would disagree), that most who take IIT entrance exams and eventually get through are, in my strong opinion, an "uneducated" lot. Preparing for IIT since 6th grade onwards stunts their mental growth and they become automatons with absolutely no "knowledge" of the world in which they live. But of course it seems that in todays world this is exactly what we should be bragging about. So what if that hampers, IN THE LONG RUN, the "nation-building" that Ajay talks about. A nation does not get built by automaton-ed, irresponsible, socio-culturally uneducated human beings and the sooner we realize that, the better it is for us. But alas!...

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