Transforming and Facilitating Quality Education in Developing Knowledge Economy: The Indian Perspective

Transforming and Facilitating Quality Education in Developing Knowledge Economy: The Indian Perspective

Ekta Sinha (University of Mumbai, India)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 37
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8873-3.ch004
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Abstract

In 2015, world leaders gathered at the United Nations (UN) to adopt 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve several extraordinary things by 2030. Among these 17 goals of sustainable development, ‘Quality Education' has been recognized as the fourth most important thing in order to transform our world. Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people's lives and sustainable development. India, which is now one of the fastest growing economies of the world, is continuously thriving to transform and facilitate quality education for all, irrespective of the gender, caste, and socio-economic status to leverage county's demographic dividend. Such initiatives have been helpful in creating and sustaining a knowledge society and economy where people learn and build their capabilities to add value through knowledge development, improvement, and innovation. The efforts taken by India to improve the creation, storage, and dissemination of knowledge have helped her to build human capital and face the challenges of dynamic and ambiguous environment. This chapter discusses critical activities contributing to the desired change, highlights prevailing structural and socio-economic issues, and in the course of the analysis identifies some critical areas for improvement.
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Introduction

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” ___ Albert Einstein

“The Highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” ___ Rabindranath Tagore

“If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.” ___ Kuan chung (7th century B.C.)

In 2015, world leaders gathered at the United Nation (UN) to adopt 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve several extraordinary things by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals, n.d.). Governments, businesses and civil society together with the United Nations are mobilizing efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030. Among these 17 goals of sustainable development, ‘Quality Education’ has been recognized as the fourth most important thing in order to transform our world. Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development (United Nations, n.d.).

A society and economy driven by quality education and eventually by knowledge stands strong in the changing economic and social landscape and is capable enough to cater human welfare. When delivered and absorbed well, education cures a host of societal ills. For individuals, it promotes employment, earnings, health, and poverty reduction. For societies, it spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. When we talk of education there are two major stakeholders – ‘Students’ and ‘Teachers’. It’s important to focus on both to make the process of learning smooth and fruitful. It is to be noted that Each additional year of education increases wages by an average of 10% and an extra year of school raises a country’s GDP on average by 0.5% annually (Desai, 2014).

Today we talk of knowledge economies, which are helpful in creating an environment where people learn and build their capabilities to add value through knowledge development, improvement, and innovation (Drucker, 1993). Knowledge is the driving force in the rapidly changing globalized economy and society (Gupta and Gupta, 2012). But like every other country, in India also education is influenced by the existing culture and framework of the society. For example, women in India are supposed to play family-centric roles and take care of the family and household chores. This scenario exists in almost every segment of the society but is a little more practiced and believed in rural parts of the nation. Inclination towards government jobs is another social bias that exists in India. This mindset inhibits the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Some societal and cultural practices such as, early marriage of a girl child and large number of children in the underprivileged family (more the children, more the earning members) impact Indian education system. But slowly with the help of government interventions, we are coming out of that rigid structures. Efforts towards promoting girls’ education, quality of education and entrepreneurial education have started bearing fruits. India as a country has realized the value of generation and dissemination of knowledge. According to Gupta and Gupta (2012), the emergence of India as a knowledge-based service driven economy has made its human capital its major strength and opportunity for growth. Unlike China or other Asian economic giants, India’s growth has not been led by manufacturing. Instead, the nation’s pool of skilled workers has allowed India to move quickly up the economic value chain in several knowledge-based industries such as, information technology and consulting.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Life-Skill: It refers to the large group of psychosocial and interpersonal skills that can help people make informed decisions, communicate effectively, and develop coping and self-management skills that may help lead a healthy and productive life. Life Skills education is a combination of learning experiences that aim to develop not only knowledge and attitudes but also facilitates positive actions with the potential to change surrounding environment and negative behaviour.

Intervention: Actions or set of actions which improves the current state of functioning. Timely and focused interventions help in achieving goals much easily. These interventions can be in the areas of Production, Capacity Building, Human Resources, and Technologies.

Census: A survey of population done after every ten years in India. It includes all the demographic profile of the Indian citizens, like age, caste, religion, education, and income.

Sustainable Development: It is the process of utilizing scarce resources optimally in order to meet the present needs of development without compromising the needs of future. It can be measured on triple bottom-line framework: social, economic, and environmental.

Entrepreneurship: The process of channelizing different factors of production or resources in order to create a business which provides innovative and sustainable solutions to the end user and narrows the gap between demand and supply. It is also known as ‘Entrepreneurial Behaviour’.

Human Capital: People who know how to learn and who continue learning by upgrading existing skills and acquiring new skills. There is a strong relationship between human capital and economic growth. Because people come with a diverse set of skills and knowledge, human capital can certainly help boost the economy. This relationship can be measured by how much investment goes into people’s education.

Transformation: The process of profound change in appearance, functioning, nature and form in order to improve the current state in order to achieve profound shared goals.

Liberal Arts: An area of learning which promotes and cultivates general intellectual abilities rather than technical skills. Like, painting, language, humanities, and drama.

Vocational: Education or training which is directed towards particular occupation. Such kind of education helps in proving the learner with the means to earn his/her livelihood. This training could be in different sectors like; manufacturing and service and helps the learner find a job or start something of his/her own.

Family-Centric Roles: Roles, responsibilities and duties towards family takes the centre stage or becomes the priority. Family members and their needs are considered to be more important than anything else, thus taking precedence over other aspects of life, such as education.

Skill: The ability to do something nicely. There could be different skill or set of skill to do a task. Special training and knowledge can improve one’s skills. Skills can be learned lifelong.

Facilitate: To ensure easy access of the facility to the end user without any discrimination.

Knowledge Economy: The economy where the growth is directly proportional to the availability of the information, access to it, and quality of the information. Such economies rely on creation, assimilation, and dissemination of information to create value and promote innovation and sustained growth.

Research: It is a scientific process to discover and investigate underlying pattern(s) of an entity or phenomenon through experimentation, exploration, structured observation or in a descriptive manner. Research helps us to understand the phenomenon more deeply and draw conclusions which can be tested and results can be reproduced by using same investigating methods, techniques and tools.

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