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India Sends Us Best and Brightest, We Send Them Back English Majors

Monday, October 17th, 2011

For anybody into it, the Times recently had an interesting article on the international politics of higher education. In India, due to the flawed admissions process, an enormous applicant pool, and an absurdly rigid university system, more and more high school students are applying to American schools.

American colleges seem to be equated with “safety schools” among the Indian upper- and middle-classes. Still, many are drawn to the “intellectual freedom of an American liberal arts education.” In prestigious Indian universities, humanities are generally dismissed, while “economics, commerce, engineering and medicine have a certain cachet.” There is a complete lack of mobility within one’s major beyond 11th grade, and the actual admissions examination leaves many students “traumatized.”  I didn’t particularly enjoy my college process, but “traumatizing” is not the first word that comes to mind. “Pain-in-the-ass,” maybe.

The article also includes the best quote ever:

“If somebody majors in English here, it’s like, ‘O.K., she’ll get married,’ ” said Ms. Sachdeva.

Oh, if only it were so easy here! What I would do to have some handsome, strapping pre-med sweep me off my useless, new historicist feet.