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Chapter 4: Contributing Factors: Inside Job

Bengaluru, July 2013: Anjana Kapoor and Partha Basu returned to India after completing their PhDs at the University of Texas (UT), Austin. At UT Austin, they got hooked on research, teaching, and each other. For family and personal reasons, Partha and Anjana wanted to return to India. For professional reasons, they both really wanted to work at either an IIT or IISc. Life had other plans for them and they ended up joining a multinational company (MNC). Higher education institutions in India, including premier institutions, continue to lose the best and brightest talent to industry.

By now, you know that India’s higher education is pivotal to addressing its numerous mega challenges, spurring the economy, and unleashing the potential, power, and passion of hundreds of millions of Indians. You also know that it is broken on all fronts that matter and is disconnected with the needs and aspirations of its people and nation. Finally, directly or indirectly everyone is paying a price for the system.

What has made India’s higher education system broken and disconnected?

In Chapter 4, I describe five key reasons that are contributing to India’s messy situation. Regulations are fragmented, prescriptive and constraining. Corruption in the system is rampant. Political leaders and bureaucrats are mismanaging the system and institutional processes and culture. Faculty salaries lag those of the industry and the incentives are dysfunctional. Finally, the vested interests to keep the system broken have created an ultimate stranglehold on the system. How did we get into the ditch? Find out in my book.

(Shail Kumar is the author of Building Golden India: How to unleash India's vast potential and transform its higher education system. Now. To find out more about the author and the book, visit:

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