Education in India

May 26th, 2008

One of the central themes of Nussbaum’s book is the failure of state education in India. She takes it to task for rote learning and a total absence of critical thinking.

What is interesting is that private education in India is booming. In fact, it’s a thriving industry. The signs are everywhere. On the streets, next to the mobile phone ads, are billboards advertising private schools (known, thanks to the British, as “public schools”), private institutes, private academies. Indian newspapers and magazines have been featuring rankings and reviews of schools. This week’s India Today centers on the best schools in India.

Nonetheless, Nussbaum’s larger point seems to hold. The billboards on the street promise technical training, American English, business and science education. It is hard to see how Tagore’s emphasis on the cultivation of the imagination fits in to this boom in education.

No doubt there are exceptions. Here’s a billboard from the street in Haridwar that caught my eye a few days ago. Whizzkid International School

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