Along with Tommy Hilfiger, several new private “universities” have also opened up recently in Himachal. According to a local daily, the Tribune, one of these institutions enrolled students and started offering courses even before it came into legal existence. You might put down this haste to the high demand for quality education among India’s overwhelmingly youthful population. But as the Tribune described in a series of reports, the universities not only lack faculties, laboratories and libraries; a few do not meet the criteria for acquiring property in the state.
In other words, private universities have become a pretext for real estate speculators to acquire expensive land from the government: another example of the collusion between state and private business manifested recently in some of India’s biggest corruption scandals. These sweetheart deals would be somewhat excusable if, unlike most Indian institutions of learning, the private universities offered an education rather than degrees. But they are only interested in extracting steep tuition fees from parents anxious for their children to join India’s new economy. Not surprisingly, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates in India are unemployable.
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