Friday, October 16, 2009

Education for growth opportunities - The Economic Times

The recent meltdown has forced a new debate among rich nations — about missed economic opportunities due to an underperforming education sector. It has spurred a new vigour in official spending on education. According to a McKinsey report, the current US GDP would have been higher by 9% to 16%, that is, $1.3 to 2.3 trillion, if the high school pass outs had been equipped with the requisite skills. Strangely for us even as a developing economy, spending is not the issue, but educational reform is, if we want to spur our economic opportunity. Despite an impressive annual $55 billion outlay for education, India suffers from a double whammy of missing social and economic opportunities. A national average dropout rate of 50% means about $15 billion spent annually on education is unproductive, if not a complete waste. Each percentage reduction in this rate can add our GDP — some say, at least a 25%.

In spite of a mammoth spend, we continue to have large disconnects in our system that stymie student development. These force a mismatch between the student’s developmental needs and economic requirements of employment.
Educational reforms need to focus on these disconnects in our system. Some simple yet far reaching take-aways from over two decades of global research across over 1,00,000 schools, 300 colleges and 130 universities by MGRM, (Global Education Research ©MGRM 2009; recognised by Ministry of Science & Technology) a global educational rehabilitation based research initiative, are relevant here. This work suggests that education system should adopt a framework of continuum for all its key stake holders — namely students, teachers, administrators and alumni to address issues of educational reforms including regulation, capacity building and inclusion.

Read complete article by Ashwani Windlass in The Economic Times, October 13, 2009.

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