Indians opt for cash over study

August 4, 2006

An increasing number of India's graduates are opting for lucrative jobs in the information technology sector rather than moving on to postgraduate study.

"It is a very serious problem," said G. Krishnamoorthy, dean of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai. "On the one hand, the Government is investing heavily in sciences and, on the other, there are hardly any young fully fledged scientists."

This is partly down to parents, who wield tremendous influence over Indian youngsters, placing an emphasis on financial gains.

The gap between academic and industrial salaries has widened recently.

Engineering graduates are offered anything between R230,000 and R606,000 (£2,600-£7,000) a year as a starting salary in industry.

In comparison, doctors of philosophy or PhDs who have worked for ten years in science universities manage at best to get R303,000 a year as teachers, Professor Krishnamoorthy said.

This situation will not only hit research institutions, which will have to scale down their activities, but it will also make it harder for every college and university to recruit staff.

To counter this, the TIFR has started to admit undergraduates to its doctorate programmes. Of 20 students on a PhD programme in physics last year, eight did not have a masters.

A new centre attached to Mumbai University and, from next year, the state-run Atomic Energy Department will recruit high-school graduates onto a five-year integrated masters programme, with full scholarships.

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