Amidst all the discussion on public education and the need to develop human capital, here is an example of the adverse consequences of over-investment in public education. The example has to do with the paradox that while India has a lower GDPPC than Mexico, Indian immigrants in the United States tend to hold higher-skill jobs (such as IT technicians),
In the 1950s, India pursued an aggressive development program by expanding educational facilities at nearly 11 percent per year. This growth rate doubled the annual enrollment about every six and one-half years. Trilok Dhar and colleagues contend that “next to the United States, India probably has more students in universities than any other country, though the proportion of university students per 1,000 population is amongst the lowest.” The ensuing mismatch between highly educated persons and actual labor needs prevented India from absorbing all its university graduates. By 1967, one out of every ten university graduates went abroad. The emigration of scientists was 11 percent; of doctors, 10 percent; and of engineers, 23 percent. Of those who remained, the proportion of unemployed within the stock of educated labor rose from 14 to 15.7 percent between 1955 and and 1961.
— John M. Liu and Lucie Cheng, “Pacific Rim Development and the Duality of Post-1965 Asian Immigration to the United States,” in Paul M. Ong, et. al. (eds.), Struggles for a Place: The New Immigration in the Restructuring of Political Economy (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994), p. 87.
An additionally important statistic would be how many educated Indians did not enter employment fields in their areas of expertise (i.e. how many took “lower-tier” jobs).
I still hold that the idea that the government should invest in human capital by subsidizing higher education puts the cart before the horse. You cannot create demand for engineers by training more engineers.