'Schools terrible, faulty faculty lowering education quality'

Indian higher education establishments are "not doing well" at all, the school system "is terrible" and in urgent need of reforms, says noted mathematician M.S. Raghunathan.

"Our institutions of higher education are not doing well at all, by and large. The problem is we are trying to grow too many institutions rapidly without the right human resources to back us up," Raghunathan said here on Tuesday in the Presidency University lecture series, held to mark 200 years of the iconic institution.

"School system is terrible, particularly, schools which can be accessed by economically weaker sections of the society. School education is in urgent need of reforms," he added.

"Once you have people who are not of high quality, the chances are the decline will start and that is what has happened. The people who are responsible for the recruitment are themselves not of right quality," said Raghunathan, head of the National Centre for Mathematics, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

Noting that higher education institutions that came before Independence seemed to have maintained better standards than the ones that followed, Raghunathan said recruitment of faculty is not satisfactory.

"There is also interference of political and administrative organisations which really makes it difficult to hold on to high standards. If you look at the colleges in the pre-Independence period they seemed to have maintained better standards than what we are doing post-Independence," he observed.

In the field of mathematics, he lauded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Indian Statistical Institute for "performing at highest levels" but said others are "dismal".