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Dumb question, but

  • Thread starter bennington
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Main Question or Discussion Point

are the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) some of the best science schools in the world? My parents want me to prepare for the entrance exam to get in, stating that it is better than Harvard, MIT, Duke, or other Ivy League schools. I really didn't take them seriously until I found http://media.www.texasbusinessweekly.com/media/storage/paper480/news/2003/01/29/News/Iitharvardmitprinceton-354976.shtml" [Broken]. What is your opinion about the status of these schools? I am thinkin gof studying physics, so this might be a good option for me.
 
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Answers and Replies

22
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I think it may not be a good idea unless you speak punjabi fluently... stick to USA
 
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The IITs are certainly some of the most difficult-to-get-into institutions in the world, but I don't think think that indicates that the education is particularly high quality. In a country of 1 billion people only the very best students go on to an IIT - these are students who would probably be successful in their careers no matter where they went to school and it's questionable that education at an IIT has greater "value added" than at any other university ranked in, say, the top 100 in the world. I did graduate work with a Bangledeshi guy who'd gone to IIT Mumbai. He's one of the smartest and most hard-working people I've met, but I don't think IIT made him that way.

The article you referred to acknowledges that "IIT's don't offer a well-rounded education".
http://media.www.texasbusinessweekly.com/media/storage/paper480/news/2003/01/29/News/Iitharvardmitprinceton-354976.shtml

Moreover, there has been a lot of criticism that the IIT style of education discourages innovation. And the IITs do not match western universities in terms of research quality. Western universities still have a funding advantage - they can attract capital to pay for the best people and equipment. I would also speculate that there is a cultural advantage to doing research at a western university where the atmosphere is much less formal and young researchers are not expected to be so obedient.

Finally, the student housing is pretty terrible compared with what you'd find in the US.
http://idlivada.blogspot.com/2005/11/lets-all-go-to-iit.html

Someone interested in studying physics - who has US residency - is far better off at a good private college or state school than at an IIT.
 
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25
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The IITs are certainly some of the most difficult-to-get-into institutions in the world, but I don't think think that indicates that the education is particularly high quality. In a country of 1 billion people only the very best students go on to an IIT - these are students who would probably be successful in their careers no matter where they went to school and it's questionable that education at an IIT has greater "value added" than at any other university ranked in, say, the top 100 in the world. I did graduate work with a Bangledeshi guy who'd gone to IIT Mumbai. He's one of the smartest and most hard-working people I've met, but I don't think IIT made him that way.

The article you referred to acknowledges that "IIT's don't offer a well-rounded education".
http://media.www.texasbusinessweekly.com/media/storage/paper480/news/2003/01/29/News/Iitharvardmitprinceton-354976.shtml

Moreover, there has been a lot of criticism that the IIT style of education discourages innovation. And the IITs do not match western universities in terms of research quality. Western universities still have a funding advantage - they can attract capital to pay for the best people and equipment. I would also speculate that there is a cultural advantage to doing research at a western university where the atmosphere is much less formal and young researchers are not expected to be so obedient.

Finally, the student housing is pretty terrible compared with what you'd find in the US.
http://idlivada.blogspot.com/2005/11/lets-all-go-to-iit.html

Someone interested in studying physics - who has US residency - is far better off at a good private college or state school than at an IIT.
I know it doesn't offer a well-rounded education (after all, its an institute of technology), but how does its science education rank. I am hoping to have a science career, so I'm interested in IIT, but I need to know its quality of education.
 
231
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I think it may not be a good idea unless you speak punjabi fluently... stick to USA
The IITs all have English as the language of instruction....

I know it doesn't offer a well-rounded education (after all, its an institute of technology), but how does its science education rank. I am hoping to have a science career, so I'm interested in IIT, but I need to know its quality of education.
Well, I guess the point is that universities in the US think that a well-rounded education is necessary to a scientific education.

I've never seen a study that proposes to measure the "quality of education" for undergrads in universities around the world.
 
I've never seen a study that proposes to measure the "quality of education" for undergrads in universities around the world.
I'm waiting for one. I want to see some substance on all these claims that US schools suck, and China and India are blowing us out of the water.

I wouldn't be surprised if their students are simply more industrious, given the cultural values, the environment in which they grow up in, and the fact that, as you mentioned, the competition will be higher since these countries have a much greater population to draw from.

But the idea that even our best schools are lacking certain quality is a bit unbelievable. Perhaps I'm just in denial, because I want to believe my education that I work so hard for doesn't suck?
 
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Bennington, are you a native Indian? If that's the case, then yes IIT is a great school.

But if you live in America, my advice is to go to school in America. Our schools are the best in the world. That's why everyone else in the world comes here. To be sure, IIT will give you a good physics education. I was recently contacted by an MSc student at IIT who's interested in working on his physics PhD at my department, and he seems very prepared. But really, few things can beat an American education. I had an uncle who went to IIT (my parents and uncles are first generation immigrants from India). He graduated in electrical engineering, and then sold air conditioners for the next twenty years. He then came to America and got a two year degree in nursing just so he could get a job. So you can see that going to IIT doesn't equal instant success.
 

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