India's Achilles Heel
By Arnold Kling
This article would be good to give to freshman econ students–and others.
India has technical institutes that seldom have electricity, and colleges with no computers. There are universities where professors seldom show up. Textbooks can be decades old.
Instruction is by rote learning, and only test scores count.
…From the outside, this nation of 1.03 billion, with its immense English-speaking population, may appear to have a bottomless supply of workers with enough education to claim more outsourced Western jobs.
But things look different inside India, where technology companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars in frantic attempts to ensure that their profit-making machine keeps producing.
…A shortage [of trained workers] means something feared here: higher wages.
Much of India’s success rests on the fact that its legions of software programmers work for far less than those in the West – often for one-fourth the salary.
If industry can’t find enough competent workers to keep wages low, the companies that look to India for skills such as software development will turn to competitors, from Poland to the Philippines, and the entire industry could stumble.
Read the whole thing.