WSJ’s caste obsession
Or to be a bit fair perhaps, more accurately the caste-obsession of its writer Paul Beckett. I have ranted his earlier inane WSJ article. This latest one is pretty terrible as well (H/T: Rohit). Doesn’t add anything new – India is growing at a good rate, opportunities for everyone yadda yadda. But the Beckett chaps keeps dragging in the caste-issue, beginning at the beginning:
Since it gained independence, India has been defined by socialism, poverty and a Hindu caste system that determined a person’s place in society from birth.
And here I thought wild elephants roaming in the street defined India ! And then again later:
Under the ancient but still-influential caste system, Brahmins like Mr. Bhat are at the top
Ironically, the next few sentences go on to describe how the Bhats have had to live in tents for a major part after being driven out of Kashmir! So much for being at the top.
The article however does raise a fair and important point about the education system in India, especially the failures at the primary and secondary levels:
One of the most critical reforms needed to ensure India’s continued economic growth is fixing a public-education system riddled with problems. Many teachers regularly fail to show up to class because it is difficult to fire them and they can earn more in private tutoring. Only 17% of Indians in their mid-20s and older have a secondary education, according to the World Bank.
Education reform is crucial if the government wants to gain the benefit from its youthful population and not simply end up with more uneducated workers to find jobs for. Reform also is needed to meet the rising demands and aspirations of India’s own citizens, even the poorest of whom now view education as the ticket out of the slums or impoverished hamlets.
The Indian government, economists and business leaders all have identified the need for better education, especially at the elementary and high-school levels. But many are disillusioned with government efforts. That has prompted calls for the private sector to take a more active role in promoting private schools even in remote and poor parts of the nation.