India does a poor job of educating its masses. Only about 10% of those in the age group 18–23 years make it to college... The Knowledge Commission projects that to raise the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) from 10 to 15%, we will need about 1500 universities, instead of the 450 or so that we have now. The UGC reports make a determined effort to lay down the basis for the approach and strategy for the higher education sector over the next plan (2007–12) and beyond. However, to the discerning mind, what is clear is that as before, our efforts are half-hearted and nowhere near enough.
Apparently, Indian science and higher education have settled comfortably into a low-level equilibrium groove, driven by the tyranny of low expectations. We are complacent with the 10% of the age cohort getting a college education and with 0.6% of these going on to complete a Ph D. Instead of aiming higher, we are descending inexorably down into a spiral that takes us to a low-level equilibrium point.
These are points that I have make been making several times in this blog. The number of engineering doctorates graduating from India are lesser than the number of engineering doctorates awarded to Indians in USA alone. The total number of scientists in India is around 1,00,000 and this is lower than the number of Indian scientists in USA. While numbers may not serve as an useful parameter in determining the success of science or scientists, unless the base for science is expanded, we are stuck in the low-level equilibrium.