There is always a question surrounding Indians about what it will take for our country, which has a huge number of talented engineers, to take the next step and start competing with other top countries, by creating cutting edge technologies. However, India is said to be emerging as a superpower, but Indian business mostly focuses to make cheaper alternatives to world class technology, rather than developing a world class technology from the scratch, in India itself. As we Indians or most of them already know, one of the obvious problem with this is that the youngsters coming out of the Indian education system are usually academically brilliant, but rarely possess the skills and training to learn on their own, or to create something new.
Indians can’t be creative. This is an opinion of Steve Wozniak aka Woz who is the man behind Apple’s first ever computer Apple 1 and the company’s co-founder with Steve Jobs. He says that Indian education system is based around academics and doesn’t encourage creativity.
Woz was in India recently for the ET Global Business Summit in New Delhi. In an interview at the event, he spoke on India, and why he thinks India is not pushing the envelope enough. Wozniak also said that he does not believe that there will be any big tech company or breakthrough in India similar to Google, Facebook or Apple. According to Woz India has just Infosys as an example of the big tech company and even that is not innovative. He does not expect Infosys to be in the league of global tech giants anytime soon.
According to reports, When Woz was asked about his views on India and if he think a global tech company can emerge from India? His answer was, “I am not an anthropologist and I don’t know the culture of India well enough. I don’t see those big advances in tech companies. What is the biggest tech company here, Infosys maybe? I just don’t see that sort of thing coming out of Infosys and I have done keynotes for them three times.”
If you see technically Wozniak is an outsider to India, but he pointed out that Indians lack creativity and that people in India aren’t encouraged to pursue creative careers. He said, “The culture here is one of success based upon academic excellence, studying, learning, practising and having a good job and a great life. For upper India, not the lower. I see two India’s. That’s a lot like Singapore study, study, work hard and you get an MBA, you will have a Mercedes but where is the creativity? The creativity gets left out when your behaviour is too predictable and structured, everyone is similar. Look at a small country like New Zealand, the writers, singers, athletes, it’s a whole different world.” Wozniak was also questioned about teaching coding in schools. For which he thinks that coding is very important, but it should not be taught to kids before the age of 12. He said that human brain gets the power to reason only after 12. Some people get there early, but most people at 12, and that’s why algebra can’t be taught till you are that age. And programming can be taught only when you are ready for algebra.
As Indians, in order to solve this problem, we need to have a change in our education system. Schools should start focusing more on learning outcomes rather than exams. Children should be allowed to think independently rather than completing the syllabus. If we think at some levels, Parents advise children to take the safer route, rather than the harder path of innovation. So, Parents too have to play an important role by allowing their children to venture into new areas.