I had written this sometime ago but is there a more relevant time to discuss this than at present when the media once again kicks up the euphoria over the huge salaries bagged by the students?  This is no diatribe against India’s loved and respected institutions. But it is a rant against the cult of mediocrity that we have come to accept.
Come placement time and our institutions lose no breath in pointing out the success of IITians overseas especially the software breed in the Silicon Valley. The media too readily laps up the story and reams are eloquently written on the success that our talent in its concentrated form of IITians & IIM’s reaps – in dollars nonetheless.

If one out of every six people in the world is an Indian and the best ones go to IIT and if the best among them go to the US, isn’t it quite obvious that they should do well regardless of the excellence of the institution? But where does IIT stand in terms of innovation and contributing to the Indian economy? What have their expensive, taxpayer-subsidized elite engineering education contributed to India?  Why does our best engineering talent remain hung in the middle management of IT companies?  

According to Dunu Ray, ‘IITians Are Big Fools’. A former IITian himself, Dunu Roy is post-graduate in Chemical Engineering from IIT Bombay & has devoted over three decades in the field of rural development. At the recently held Techfest at IITB, Dunu raised the dander up with his unique ability to debunk conventional wisdom and said “ IITians are victims of the politics of education and science”.  

The only industry that seems to have flourished, thanks to the IIT’s & IIM’s, has been the coaching institutions. Their claims to crack these entrance examinations have spell bound their target segment to such an extent that even normal school is considered a distraction.  Right, we sure are heading somewhere.   If we are going to let cramming power rule over and creativity, imagination, we might as well bid adieu to ever being even close to a super power.

Is the education these institutions imparting actually help groom entrepreneurs? If so, why are we still at the bottom of the innovation totem pole?

Are we as a country guilty of low expectations? Yes, I think we are.  

Cross Posted here