The solution to the resentment towards Indian students who can afford education abroad does not lie in diplomatic efforts. That’s a stop gap and contingent solution. But the real long term solution lies in India improving the educational infrastructure in the country.
With the type of media coverage it is getting, there is likelihood of this resentment spreading to other parts of the developed world which have been wooing Indian students both for the revenue (income from international students is a major source of revenue for Australia) they bring and their contribution to research. But racist attacks are often beyond the control of the governments. Its increase in these difficult times of financial meltdown is an indication of the rightful-heir-being-denied –the -legacy –by-the-adopted syndrome. This is the most dangerous type of resentment ‘cos at the bottom of it is the feeling of righteousness, of fighting and killing for a just cause.
In addition to this is this branding of Asians as terrorists. The Indian students in Australia have reported that they often have had to confront hostile queries about whether they are Afghans or Pakistanis, and whether their jacket conceals bombs!
It is the most undesirable situation that we have here.
Why does a country like India which exports such a huge number of techies and researchers to the world, depend on these developed countries for quality higher education for her students?
Sixty years of independence is a long time. The issue should be addressed aggressively. We have the educational infrastructure. It’s not as though we have to start from the scratch. We have to bring them up to international standards. There are a few suggestions to address this very serious issue.
· Keep Centres of learning totally free from politics. No unions, be it those of students, employees or the teaching faculty.
· Invest hugely in research infrastructure.
· Provide sufficient funding for deserving researchers in place of the shameful pittance doled out to them now. A decent package will attract to our universities the best hands that, in the present scenario, go to foreign universities for quality, state of the art education and become vulnerable to shameful racist attacks.
· Offer enviable package to the faculty. This will attract the best hands to the teaching profession. This move is already set afoot in the country under pressure from the UGC.
· Attract funds by offering very attractive tax benefits to corporates who donate to the cause of education in proportion to the profit.
· Have in place a fool proof accountability system for the universities.
· Ensure efficient administrative machinery in the universities. The red-tapism that is the bane of any university with government funding is a huge drain on the resources of the university in terms of time and performance.
· Every state should have such universities in proportion to its population.
None of these is impossible or unrealistic suggestions. WE only need the political will to do it. It is time the people of India began to clamour for it. If we let things by, the status quo will continue.
Only the crying baby gets milk.
Perhaps the wails should emanate from the blogsphere.