Education for growth

O.N Koul
Education is the potent tool for growth and development of individual, social, cultural and last but not the least economic. Education should as such be for the all round growth of individual and country in the final analysis. Education should be directed towards problem solving whatever their nature. The problems of the Indian economy are being attributed to world trade cycles and its factors, internal structural problems, and bad policy that includes demonetization and complex goods and services tax. In response to economic slowdown and the problems facing the economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has tried to boost economy. But her policies will not have the permanent effect. After a brief revival, growth will decline or remain standstill. In all probability the noble vision of Prime minister of five trillion dollar economy will remain just a vision. The story of east Asian economies was possible and rests on at least four basic policies of land reforms, export driven growth, high savings and human capital formation. Except big savings in the past decades, India has failed on all other fronts. Now savings too are falling. It is a settled fact that for long term growth, human capital formation is the main constraint. Human capital is the basic requirement for economic growth. India because of its huge population has no dearth of human capital. However what is needed for the success of the economy is a healthy, educated, and skilled manpower which is not in India. Such a manpower is vital for production sector, services and for today’s agriculture.
In the absence of this populace India cannot sustain the growth rate of 7-10 percent. The World Bank 2018 report lists India 115th rank but India is reluctant to accept this rating and has rejected. The government says that Modi’s various health and education schemes have been ignored by the rating agencies. In the ultimate analysis schooling and university education is in doldrums. Our schools ,colleges and universities are in disastrous condition. However one can say that there are exceptions here and there. There are government and private schools that show excellent results and there are colleges and universities that give good education. But majority of our educational institutions lag behind and they have no recognition globally. Average Indians fail to recognize this. Our children go to good and excellent schools, colleges and universities for education. Many go to foreign countries for higher education and they after success give a rosy picture of education which is not a reality. If we take this feeling away then we will have the real picture in mind. Our educational institutions are poorly equipped and lack proper infrastructure. Universities are also poorly provisioned and maintained. The teacher absenteeism is seen in the schools and the heads of the institutions do not have the skills of school management and administration. Language and mathematical skills are a sorry state of affair and children are not able to read texts and do basic mathematics. Same is the case of university students who are not able to write a good essay. They cannot write in any language even in their mother tongue and this is a cause of concern. In university education like as schools there is poor infrastructure, teacher absenteeism, and lack of management skills. And as a consequence Indian employers say that the Indian graduates have no skills and they have to be retrained at work. India needs education reforms and education for growth and Modi should lead this education reform and change as he has the required will and determination to do it.
(The writer is a Retired Education Officer)