Inside Higher Ed

Here is a link to an article that appears in Inside Higher Ed, the online Higher Education magazine. I was in Washington for the India-US summit on higher education, and Scott Jaschik, the magazine editor came by to chat. Some words got left out of the last quote, but the article gives you an idea of what I thought the summit was all about. And a bit more than that, of course.


4 thoughts on “Inside Higher Ed

  1. Your interview is excellent Sir, particularly the issue of the translation of research into products.

    We lack institutionalised, incentive oriented environment to go for product oriented research.

    Somehow we also fail to showcase Indian’s intellectual engagement with issues confronting globalised world and South Asia.

    May be colloboration with USA universities to augment infrastructure use and research are the need of the hour, which would benefit both the countries.

    All the best for the trip
    Murali Atlury

  2. Sir,

    Thanks for this update. I really liked your saying – “We don’t translate our higher education and learning into actual things”. In our University, converting research results into products is mostly happening in the science schools. Whereas, in schools like Humanities and Social Sciences, the products are in the form of published ‘books’.

    In some of the departments, like ours, we strive hard to integrate language/literature with science while making an interface to transform the research results into products, say, in context of Natural Language Processing and Ayurveda.

    As yourself and Prof.Murali Atlury opined, we lack proper infrastructure (including motivated office staff) to produce quality output. It seems, the only ‘incentives’ are the ratings of ‘Scopus’ and some DBT projects, at least in house.

    With regard to student’s contributions, I personally feel that many students lack good writing skills. So ‘English’ is the barrier as most of them are from rural areas and studied in non-English medium. Conducting periodical training in written/communication skills could be more effective measure to boost their morale and help the system, in turn.


  3. I am hardly in a position to comment on the contents of this blog for obvious reasons. As a fellow blogger however, I compliment you on keeping the blog design simple and uncluttered. It is a delight to read such blogs in the present blog world of complicated designs. Where I can, I shall comment and hope to receive your responses. All the best.

  4. Long ago (when we were Ph.D. students) we had a chat with Prof Felix Bloch (who received Nobel Prize for the discovery of the NMR) – we had many questions but there was only one theme: what is wrong with the Indian Education System. He spoke with us for over an hour and made a very convincing case. We need reform.

    At one point he mentioned that Stanford has been a good university but it could have been better only if there were fewer deans. He nevertheless added that he has been the dean twice and the best thing he did was to “do nothing”.

    However he added that “India and China” will take the leadership in science but the only thing that is needed is to “unshackle science from the bureaucracy” for the hoped for growth.

    He mentioned the story how he borrowed an oscilloscope from the neighbouring lab at night for the Nobel prize winning experiment.

    His comments remain valid even today: we need fewer deans and less bureaucracy.

    We need to learn from China, South Korea, Japan – all our close neighbours – how they have motivated a generation and cultured science.

    US is a poor comparison- we can just compare the culture of work and make our own conclusions.

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