Saturday, September 30, 2006
In a strongly-worded letter to deputy chairman of Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Rao said, "I find that the document as a whole is rather weak and not sufficiently focussed. I feel that few important aspects need to be highlighted... some sentences are confusing."
He took exception to the commission's view that while some institutions of higher education compare well with the best in the world, the average standard is much lower.
Rao said, "There are no institutions in India, as far as I know, which are comparable to the best of the institutions in the advanced countries."
He also highlighted stark disparities in regard to educational and R&D institutions. "Over 60% are located in just six to eight states.
The planning process needs to address these institutional disparities for their influence is so great on the distribution of employment opportunities in the country," the note states.
"It is timely and important that India invests imaginatively and largely in higher education, with research of quality. The numerical challenges are daunting. Annually, we produce around 5,000 Ph.Ds in science and about 800 Ph.Ds in engineering.
"If India has to lay claim to being a knowledge-based economic power, the number of Ph.Ds of quality by world standards should be five times the number that we are currently producing," it states.