INDIA: Poor pay discourages researchers

Increased job opportunities and fat pay packets for young graduates are turning out to be a bane for academic research in India. Alarm bells are ringing in higher education institutions over a sharp drop in the number of students enrolling as research scholars in recent years, reports The Times of India. According to the annual report of the Human Resources Development Ministry, during 2000-01 as many as 45,004 scholars were pursuing research in the country, but by 2005-06 the number had plummeted to 36,519.

"This works out to a 4.1% negative compound annual growth rate in the number of registered research scholars during the five year period," says professor P Duraisamy of the University of Madras, who co-authored a report for the University Grants Commission on the gross enrolment ratio in higher education. Academics unanimously cite poor career prospects for PhD scholars as the principal reason for this decline.

There is also a concern about the poor quality of research scholars. According to University of Madras vice-chancellor S Ramachandran: "The bright students land jobs in the software industry after graduation. A majority of those who join masters degree programmes are second grade students. When it comes to PhD the level is further reduced with only the bottom third taking up research."
Full report on The Times of India site