Just wanted to alert you about a couple of thoughtful comments on this post linking to Gautam Desiraju's article about China's great strides in science education.
Here's Rahul on the need for a standardized exam:
... I was shocked to discover a year ago that, at least in physics, the syllabus is basically high-school syllabus -- not even undergraduate. This is why all the elite research institutes have their own entrance exams.
It's the same thing at the high-school level -- CBSE exams are a lottery, state board even more so, so you have a whole host of institutional entrance exams to deal with. We badly need standardised tests; I'd argue that just introducing something like SAT or GRE in individual subjects, well-administered and mandatory for admission to any reputable place, would do wonders in keeping our school and college teachers (and curriculums) honest. [Bold emphasis added]
Pratik, on the other hand, has some harsh things to say about the level and rigour of undergraduate education:
The undergrad courses themselves, in my humble opinion, is mired in the dark ages. Often, the challenge in undergrad courses is much lesser than what we had during high school. This rather takes away from the fun of doing things. Its a pity that elite institutes like IITs, BHU and NITs take students through a gruelling entrance and then subject them to a plethora of sub standard courses which require much less application and evoke lesser interest than the basic science courses at school. No wonder that after such a largely disguisting college life (academically) by and large students prefer to stay away from academics for the sake of academics.
Well, these are just short excerpts from the comments. There's more here.