I am not sure if it's the recent trip to US & Canada. It gave me several opportunities to debate--with senior professionals of global firms- the benefits of population vs employment opportunities vs quality of education. Are they inter-related? Is it because a job is very influential in seeking one's own identity?
There is a common thread as we lamented on the lack of 'quality talent' -period. Be it white collar or blue. The work ethic seems to be increasingly disturbing....
I have a nagging feeling it has something to do with our education system in India. Maybe there aren't enough opportunities for all the deserving...
It is perhaps interesting to reflect on the recent developments in India:
- the approval of Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010. This seeks to regulate the entry and functioning of foreign education providers in India. (India has a severe shortage of higher education institutions for its booming population where more than 30% of its 1.1 billion people are under 14 years of age.)
-Georgia Tech choosing Hyderabad as its location for the only campus outside of its 400-acre campus in Atlanta, Georgia, because more than 40 per cent of the students who go to study at the Atlanta campus are from this city.
Even if the above will impact a small percentage of our population, I am positive that with the influx of such global investments, the education sector will open up the job market for sure. It will definitely provide a stimulus as liberalisation in the early nineties spawned improved professionalism. I have blogged about some of my impressions earlier, and here.
However, I am not exactly sure if such attempts suffice in improving the quality of education per se . Or is the malaise in the lack of a robust education system at the elementary levels? There are a lot of thoughts about the role that Government schools can play, as well as those in the private sector.
As a recruiter associated with some exciting work in the Education sector, I can see Private Equity being funnelled into the K-12 sector, ( eg 'Bottom of Pyramid' approach into 'low cost/ affordable 'schools), as well as initiatives being taken in improving Teacher Training. Personally, my mother has been running a primary school for over 33 yrs-and my wife is an educationist working with children of impressionable ages, as well as those with different abilities. So here are some of my observations...
a) there is a huge emphasis on 'rote' or memory-as most education has become 'exam centric' -far away from imparting 'learning'.
b) the increased pressure on remedial teaching and quick fix solutions has resulted in people clamouring for degrees from and association with premier institutes?
c)have placements become the means..or is it the ends?
d)the role of emotional intelligence & quality of work life balance has become minimised?
I feel we aren't yet addressing the right symptoms. Please correct me.
I personally feel -its perhaps time for getting back to first principles? A quick reference to Wikipedia gives me the following hints
Etymologically the word education contains educare (Latin) "bring up" which is related to educere "bring out", "bring forth what is within", "bring out potential" and decere "to lead".
Is the present education system in India, doing enough to 'bring out & lead"?