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The Secret Behind Indians Performing Well Academically

Updated on July 20, 2009

Hillary Clinton & Aamir Khan On Education

Parents are the First Teachers

Nandan Nilekhani,former CEO,Infosys, On Indian Education

Indian Parents & Education

Education in India is imparted in Government run schools and for those who can afford it,expensive private schools. From the time a child is born,the parents set about the task of educating the child. It is well known that parents are the best teachers,and so,as the child grows, the child is slowly taught everything according to the age. When the child is at home upto the age of two and a half, the mother teaches the basic alphabets,colours,names of animals,numbers and a few rhymes. The child is encouraged to show off his knowledge everyday in front of neighbours,friends,family,who also heap praises. At Preschool,he learns more rhymes and begins to learn more vocabulary and learns to write alphabets and numbers-neatly. When gaining admission to a regular school at the age of three to three and a half,he faces questions at the interview on what he already learnt at the preschool. Thereafter begins his journey in education-primary,middle and high school,after which,he enters the two year PreUniversity Course and then the three year Degree Course.He may or may not go on into a Post graduate degree and a doctoral course.

Middle class parents and a small percentage of rural Indian parents know the importance of education in this journey of life. Most set aside a portion of their income towards school admission,tuition fee,transport fee,uniforms and stationary. Those that cannot afford will make arrangements for their children to be enrolled into a Government run school,where all supplies are provided free of cost in addition to the Midday meal(a hot nutritious lunch).

Many parents take an active interest in their children's day to day activities at school. If no pick up is arranged, they will personally drop and pick the child, enquire about homework and tests and sit with the child till he finishes the homework,assisting. Parent-teacher meetings are attended and if their child needs special coaching, to perk up his grades, a tutor is arranged. Exam days are seen as exams for the whole family.Everyone cooperates,by not watching television,no family outings,and extra glass of milk an nutritious food is supplied. Some parents stay awake while their child studies,or get up early to wake up their child during exam days.

Board exams in Grade X are seen as deciding factor to gain good marks to gain admission to the best colleges. This is also the time when students choose what stream they are comfortable with-Arts,Science or Commerce. Most parents decide on this too,irrespective of whether their child is capable or not. Ultimately,the deciding factor becomes the marks obtained in each category and the cut off grades at the college of their choice. And also,the II year Pre university,where the marks obtained + the grades obtained in All India Entrance exams ensures seats to the best Professional colleges such as IIT,Engineering,Biotechnology,Medical Sciences. Some parents do not give the student any choice,they enroll him to be a doctor or a software engineer,because it gives them a status in society and the income is supposedly better than in other streams of study.

Indian parents are thus very pushy when it comes to their children studying to become an engineer or doctor.

Hillary Explains Obama's Comment

President Obama's Take On Education

Recently,President Obama of the United States, extolled American parents to take responsibility of their children's academic performance. Academically,Indians and Chinese are known to outperform the Americans. It is also common knowledge that most Indians speak good English and are better educated -the reason for more jobs being off shored to India. Obama also gave this reason,"Their kids watch a lot less TV than our kids do,play a lot fewer video games,they are in the classrooms lot longer." Indians are more disciplined when it comes to studies,career and family values. And this is being seen by the number of Indian students gaining higher education studying abroad,in some of the top Universities and doing very well for themselves career wise as well. They are most often seen in the top level management of several companies,even MNC's. Many Silicon Valley startups were pioneered by Indians.

Indian students are academically inclined as they are supported by the society in which they live,which is appreciative of the value of a good educational background. A highly educated person is extremely valued. Most have had their medium of instruction as English which makes them comfortable in the language at an early age.

Education Is The Key

Each One,Teach One!

Large corporate houses adopt or build schools and colleges,both in rural and urban India. On a personal level,local businessmen or people of a community get together to build and start a school. Several NGO's are doing their bit in teaching children from slums or very poor children. Local churches,take up a community project in funding Adult or school education. Some of the people sponsor a child from a local orphanage or through an NGO and look after the complete education. Some like to sponsor their maid's child and send him/her to a school and provide the necessary supplies. And some, give up an hour's time each day in teaching a child or helping with homework. School children are also encouraged to do their bit in teaching another less privileged child as seen in the video alongside.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i am an indian!!!!!!

    • profile image

      assefa danna 

      9 years ago

      i would like to say that:education is the key to life,life with out education is moving in dark you remember those people how are blind.They are differentiate things by their skins,like that we can do our daily activity bout that is not satisfactory to live.being smart our life we souled attained education in school.

      by the way eduction is found in every where,that means you can gather education from you society,peers,parent,teacher and working places.

    • Purple Perl profile imageAUTHOR

      Purple Perl 

      10 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Thanks Sherri for stopping by. I am glad to provide a possible insight into the Indian's view on education.

      It is true that even in India today,there are distractions such as internet parlours,cricket stadiums,cafes to hang around in,apart from pursuing interests such as dance,modelling,DJing,etc.,but these are always seen as a refresher,not the main interest.The society accepts newer career pursuits such as modelling and acting,but,always coupled with at least a college degree. Parents,teachers,and any elders one comes in contact with,will always ask what they have studied,and always have a word of advise that the education is mainstream and all else is just an additional interest. People often discuss the benefits of becoming a respectable software engineer or doctor at every opportunity. Youngsters themselves know that this is true for all around them,there is an awe and certain respect when one comes in contact with an engineer or doctor or a Government official. And in their own families,everyone will be well educated and well placed. Also, if one has to get a well paying job or good life partner also well placed,you have to be educated and well placed yourself. Unless,of course,you are stinking rich or have family businesses to run. In general,those who fall behind in education do not come into the mainstream,they are shunned and so keep to themselves unless they make something of themselves.

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thank you for this introduction to education in India. I found your words and the video clips interesting and informative. Especially the Hillary / Khan clip.

      Hillary and I shared a childhood which was very different from what it is today in America. As she says, there were fewer distractions, fewer temptations than there are now, and so we studied; we did not play video games or scan hundreds of TV stations, and we had few if any soccer moms.

      As India continues to make its increasingly large mark on the world's economy, how do you think this family-focused, even "pushy" as you say, emphasis on education will survive or transform?


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