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India does not have an adequate number of PhDs in computer science. It's an issue the country needs to address, if we want to invigorate India's innovation drive.
The rate of innovation in any country depends a lot on its research capabilities. And to increase research activities, a country should have a good strength of researchers-a precondition that India has not fulfilled in the computer science domain. This is one big reason, cited repeatedly by industry leaders, for the lack of innovation in the country. In fact, both industry and government are well familiar with this fact. Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp, and Kapil Sibal, Union Human Resource Development Minister, government of India, recently shared some insights on the subject.
Bill Gates expressed his concern over the lack of PhDs in computer science at an event held in New Delhi recently. According to him, research activities could bring fruitful results in different fields if India had a good number of homegrown PhDs in computer science. He said, "There is a shortage of homegrown PhDs in India in computer science. The ratio of PhDs compared with engineering graduates is very low. If 70,000 students enroll as engineering graduates, only 1500 go for higher programmes. But the irony is, out of those 1500, only 250 enroll for PhDs."
Kapil Sibal listed comparative statistics about India and China in support of this. Sibal said, "For research activities, you need a good number of PhDs in India to allow you to move ahead as a country. During 1991-2001, the number of PhDs in India increased only by 20 percent, whereas in the same period, China had an 80 percent increase in its PhD researchers, which is unacceptable for us. Similarly, between 2001 to 2006, China's GER (gross enrollment ratio) improved to 10-20 percent, whereas in the 11th Plan we have set a goal of achieving a GER of a mere 5 percent." GER is the total enrollment of pupils in a grade or cycle or level of education, expressed as a percentage of the corresponding eligible age-group population in a given school year.
Sibal also urged corporates to come forward and help government set up world-class research institutions in India.
Most experts believe that if India could invest more into its research and development activities, it will be able to drive growth through innovation. But they also point at the low level of research infrastructure in the country and believe that the government needs to address this issue. So it remains to be seen as to how the government and industry collaborate and work together to increase the number of researchers and the research activities in the country. If and when it happens, it will surely give a huge push to India's economic growth.