Bloomberg: India producing graduates with worthless degree

Bloomberg: India producing graduates with worthless degree

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday (19 Apr 2023) that India’s US$117 billion education industry is producing graduates with worthless degrees and an unemployed generation in India.

Desperate for jobs, some of these Indian graduates are paying for two or three degrees. Many are attending “colleges” popping up inside small apartment buildings or inside shops in marketplaces.

Bloomberg found out that many of these small private colleges, in fact, don’t have regular classes, employ teachers with little training, use outdated curriculums, and offer no practical experience or job placements. One of the students told Bloomberg that it was easy to secure admission and get a degree without attending class.

Tanmay Mandal, 25, told Bloomberg that he paid US$4,000 for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He ended up learning almost nothing from teachers who appeared to have insufficient training themselves. He couldn’t answer technical questions at job interviews, and has been unemployed for the last three years.

“Many of my friends are also sitting idle without a job,” said Mandal.

Pankaj Tiwari, 28, said he paid 100,000 rupees (US$1,200) for a master’s degree in digital communication because he wanted a job.

Though his college had promised campus placements, no company turned up and he’s still unemployed four years later. “I feel like I wasted my time,” he said. “I just secured certificates on paper, but those are of no use.”

According to a study by talent assessment firm Wheelbox, half of all graduates in India are unemployable due to problems in its education system.

Anil Swarup, a former secretary for school education estimated that of 16,000 colleges handing out bachelor’s qualifications for teachers, a large number existed only in name and one study by the human resource firm SHL found that only 3.8% of engineers have the skills needed to be employed in software-related jobs.

Fake patients and fake degrees

Even some of the more reputable universities and colleges are engaging in dubious practices in order to maintain their accrediation.

In 2019, the Supreme Court barred the Bhopal-based RKDF Medical College Hospital and Research Centre from admitting new students for two years for allegedly using fake patients to meet medical college requirements.

The college initially argued in court that the patients were genuine, but later apologised after an investigative panel found that the purported patients weren’t really sick.

“We have noticed a disturbing trend of some medical colleges in projecting fake faculty and patients for obtaining permission for admission of students,” the court said in its judgement.

The medical school is part of RKDF Group, which has a wide network of colleges in areas from engineering to medicine and management.

In May last year, police arrested the vice chancellor of RKDF Group’s Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan University as well as his predecessor for alleged involvement in giving out fake degrees.

Still, students could be seen flooding into several of RKDF’s institutions undeterred.

String of institutions in various Indian states are also drawing scrutiny. In some parts of India, students have gone on hunger strikes protesting the lack of teachers and facilities at their institutes.

In 2017, one institution in the eastern state of Odisha gave fake job offers during campus placements leading to protests by students.

And in January this year, charges were finally filed against Manav Bharti University and its promoters for allegedly selling fake degrees.

Their alleged fraud was actually discovered in February 2021 when during a routine investigation of a fake degree case, the Indian police actually uncovered a much bigger case of Manav Bharti University having sold 36,000 fake degrees across 17 states in over 11 years.

At the time, TOC did a cursory check on LinkedIn and found that there were already a number of graduates from Manav Bharti University working in Singapore.

Later in July 2021, Singapore’s Manpower Ministry (MOM) released a statement saying that it had conducted an investigation into 23 foreign individuals with qualifications from Manav Bharti University.

Two Indian nationals were jailed, and 19 others were permanently barred from future employment in Singapore for using fake degrees to apply for work passes.

In one case, an Indian national submitted his fake degree to MOM in his S Pass application in 2015 to work as an assistant warehouse manager in Singapore. MOM took some six years before discovering his fake degree.

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