Digby Jones · Indian students · New York Times

A tale of two cities

Morrisons announced this week that it had had to send back three-quarters of its new recruits from Salford for remedial training before they were ready to start working for the company.

Out of two hundred and ten staff recruited, a hundred and fifty had to be sent for ‘remedial training including refresher course in literacy and numeracy’.
The Telegraph quoted Norman Pickavance, the human resources director of Morrisons, as saying that “Many of the people were just not job ready. They lacked a lot of confidence and social skills. It is quite clear the education system has failed them.”

Heres a story that might give Michael Gove and Nick Gibb pause for thought. On October 13th the New York Times ran a story on Moulshri Mohan, an Indian student from New Delhi, who had received multiple acceptances from universities in the States. She had applied to the US because even though she had a cumulative score of 93.5 percent in her final high school examinations from a private school in India, she couldnt get into Delhi University! Eventually, she was enrolled at Dartmouth in the USA.

Half of India’s estimated population of 1.2 billion is now under twenty-five and, with the middle class growing at an ever increasing rate, competition for places in India is daunting, hence the growing numbers of Indian students applying to US and UK universities. According to the article in the NYT, some students accepted by Delhi University had to achieve ‘the almost impossible’ cut-off scores of 100%.  Moreover, the Indian Institutes of Technology are now having to turn down 98% of applicants.

Indian students now represent the second largest grouping of students in the USA, with ‘almost 105,000 students in the 2009-2010 academic year’, coming only after the number of Chinese students.
This news is both good and bad: on the one hand, countries like the USA and the UK will benefit hugely (for the time being) from the income earned from these students; on the other, when these students return home, they will be the ones generating the new business start-ups, and filling the top slots in established companies and the universities, against which the West will have to compete.
What was it again that DigbyJones said back in 2006? Something along the lines that, unless we pull up our socks, ‘India will have our lunch and China will have our dinner!’
Thanks to Kitchen Table Math for the heads-up on the NYT story.