In India, hundreds of millions need to read English better.

Here is a link to a comprehensive article, "India: Learning a Hard Lesson," about education in India today.  This appeared in the Financial Times, in May of 2015. 

Elementary school pupils across India could benefit enormously.  Programmers need to be fluent in reading English to take the Udacity courses that could enhance their careers. 

Searching the Internet in English is a rich experience for anyone.  About 52% of the pages on the Internet are in English, compared to .5% in the Indian dialects.

Nobel Prize winner, and Harvard Professor, Amartya Kumar Sen

Nobel Prize winner, and Harvard Professor, Amartya Kumar Sen

Professor Sen is a penetrating observer of conditions in India.  He is also an articulate reporter of what needs to be done.

He offers many interesting facts and figures.  The more we understand the problems, the better we can address them successfully.

Here are four paragraphs from a November 2015 article quoting Professor Sen:

“India is the only country in the world which is trying to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labor force,” says Amartya Sen in a recent discussion at the London School of Economics. The Nobel laureate and author of The Argumentative Indian is in the habit of bringing up inconvenient truths and this was one of them.

Professor Sen’s ironical point was that it couldn’t be done. India can’t sustain economic growth without improving the quality of its workers.

You would think this is a situation crying out for tech startups to step in. A huge population hungry for education as an escape from poor living standards, a new government promising economic reforms to spur growth and development, and a booming tech startup scene attracting billions of dollars in funding – they make a heady cocktail for edtech entrepreneurs and investors.

The media is full of stories about how edtech is transforming education in India, and how edtech startups are “raising millions to provide millions with world-class education.” The reality is sobering. Edtech, despite its great need and potential in India, isn’t setting the venture capital scene on fire.

Here is a link to the whole article, which contains links to many other interesting sites.

(article sent to me by Robert Levin, one of our outstanding consultants)

Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University. He is the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics and an honorary fellow of LSE.

So far, ed tech investment in India has been minimal, and so has the progress in education there.  But as Charles McIntyre of IBIS Capital has documented, digital media is now 40% of global media - and digital education will surely catch up from its lowly 4% today.

July 8, 2014

"A third of all grade-three students can't read at all in their native language."

More Children Are Going to School in India, but They're Learning Less

According to a Time article in July 2014, there's a literacy problem in Indian schools, and not just in English.  A third of all grade-three students can't read at all in their native language.  Roughly half of all grade-five students cannot manage a grade-two text.

The reasons for this decline in literacy problem include the rush to build schools and bring back children to the education fold, student absenteeism and teachers misconduct, where teachers were found to have forged their degrees in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.  Increase in investments and further professional developments would likely be needed to help solve the problem.

Please kindly find the link to read the entire article.