Quality of Indian PhD students

Recent reports in the popular press have expressed concern about the quality of PhD students in India. If one accepts that the quality of students has dropped over the years, one possible contributing factor is our education system and how it influences career choices. The majority of our educational institutions, beginning with primary school, rely on rote learning rather than comprehension and problem-solving for student assessments. This attitude towards learning results in the generation of students that have not learnt to think for themselves, which is a problem if you want a career in research. Teaching that is geared towards testing basic concepts and the ability to think would prepare students for any career they choose to pursue, not just a career in research. The ability to think and reason can be taught, but it is better to teach this early rather than late, i.e. when students enter a Ph D programme. This has to be addressed
from the ground up as setting up another 20 IITs or IISERs will not solve the problem.

Read the full editorial in Current Science