From the Chronicle of Higher Education News blog, April 26, 2008:

India’s prime minister, who last year described the country’s universities as dysfunctional, has again lashed out at them, calling them “teaching shops and degree-giving authorities” that have lost their tradition of research-oriented teaching.

“I say this as someone who has been a teacher,” Manmohan Singh said on Friday in a commencement address at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. “I have often said that I have strayed into politics by accident but my preferred career was teaching. I recall that in the days I used to be a student and a teacher, universities placed great emphasis on doing research along with teaching.”

Since taking office in 2004, the prime minister has often criticized the state of India’s higher-education system. Last year, he lambasted the governance of state universities and described them as below average. “A dysfunctional education system can only produce dysfunctional future citizens,” he said then.

On Friday Mr. Singh said his government had spent more money on public education than any other recent administration. But “it is not enough to spend it on buildings and salaries alone,” he said.” Some of it should be earmarked for research … and for providing scholarships to promising students.” —Shailaja Neelakantan

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