Are Our Graduates Unemployable? An Examination of the Quality of Indian Education

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of E​PW.


The annual Pratham–Annual Status of Education Reports (ASER) survey repeatedly points to learning deficiencies prevalent in Indian schools. Rohini Sahni and V Kalyan Shankar’s 2015 article, “What Does an MA Know?” is a study of this report. The authors’ article is based on a survey conducted by them among postgraduate economics students in a state-run university. Their findings are worrying: students enrolled in institutes of higher education are often unaware of basic course concepts. The authors argue that Indian education suffers from the “diploma disease,” the ritualised process of qualification-earning. They add that higher education is often designed to conceal a student’s academic shortcomings.

Rajesh Mishra and Supriya Singh respond to Sahni and Shankar. They agree that India suffers from a paucity of academically skilled students in universities, but argue that this is not the main factor behind substandard education. Hari Nair, Sayantan Mandal, and Jayanti Datta’s respective articles also respond to Sahni and Shankar’s article. They highlight where the deficiencies in Indian education lie, and also suggest a framework for a possible solution.

A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:


  1. Right To Education: Are We On The Right Track? Disha Nawani, 2017
  2. Challenges Facing New Education Policy in India, Arun Kumar, 2015
  3. Idea of Education, Amita Sharma, 2003
  4. A Better Economics For The Indian Context, Amit Basole and Arjun Jayadev, 2018



Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line—“Education and Employability”.


[Curated by Kieran Lobo (]

Must Read

Do water policies recognise the differential requirements and usages of water by women and the importance of adequate availability and accessibility?
Personal Laws in India present a situation where abolishing them in the interest of gender justice also inadvertently benefits the reactionary side.   
Concerns have been raised about criminalising triple talaq now that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 has been passed as an ordinance. This reading list is to help...
Back to Top