New Delhi prescribed education curriculum not enough! Our education must meet our current inspirational goals!
We live in a new world. A globalised world. India is enjoying an outsourcing boom and we are created unprecedented wealth for the first time in India’s history! The time has come to ask for some radical change in our education system. All our current thinking in our education is about reaching some laudable UN Millennium Development Goals. Education for all, education of the girl child etc are all no doubt noble goals.
But here we like to put before the Indian people certain radical new thinking. There is the current globalisation processes and the changes that have come about in the Indian economy. See the four-page special essay in this issue. What we have not noted in the essay is that owing to the fact that globalisation had transformed India in many ways. For the first time in Indian history, India today is looked upon by the West, as well as the rest of the world, as a country of enormous capabilities. Our IT skills had beaten the West in a significant ways. USA and UK are now looking to India in the outsourcing business.
For the first time in history there is a worldwide phenomenon of the largest migration population of 200 million people working and earning higher incomes and thereby their home countries, their families enjoy higher standards of living. Indian remittances a now amount to 22 billion dollars, the highest among the other similar nations, China second, Mexico third places!
For Indians who had been occupied by one foreign power or other, the British rule had completed sapped our self-confidence. The Brits, because they were the occupiers for over 300 years, they displayed so much sense of superiority that whiteskin had almost made Indians feel so inferior before the Westerners.
So also the Macaulay English language-based education had produced a class of inferiors like the clerks and also another class of equally inferiority-driven ICS officers. These then and current middle class of bureaucrats had come to look upon the rest of Indians as generally and inferior class of Indians. There are reports that about 200 retired IAS, IFS and IPS officials are also circulating in the Delhi corridors of power seeking jobs for themselves.
In this environment, what sort of education policies we can have? Certainly, the New Delhi-based perspectives, in our view, are thoroughly out of tune with the current realities in the Indian economic development scenario.
Globalisation had come to India, not as seen from the Delhi policy makers’ perspectives but by the perspectives of the people who have seized the opportunities completely without the knowledge and understanding of the politicians and the policy making class of Delhi.
That is why we see, for instance, in Bangalore, the India’s own Silicon Valley, an unceasing activity that is marked by series of high profile CEOs, from all top IT companies visiting Bangalore and the pace of activity is really unbelievable. The latest to come was Bill Gates, the Microsoft chief architect, the world’s richest man.
Not a day passes in Bangalore when the traffic is not halted owing to some head of state visiting the city and traveling all the way to the Electronics City, just outside the city limits.
Globalisation had created an unprecedented concentration of world’s top MNCs along with, side by side, so many start-ups, often one-man shows but with global reach. The city is India’s current real pulse and the dynamism these developments had created is having an unprecedented impact on the minds and imaginations of the you8ng men and young women. Every educated young person in the country today seems to be heading towards Bangalore and there is this ferment that cant be described in few words.
Indians had developed enormous confidence in themselves, the airport is bursting in its seams and there are now international flights from all leading air carriers and there is a steady inflow and outflow of talents of diverse types. IT, Biotech, Pharmaceutical R&D and there is a whole lot of latest research activities for which Bangalore is home now.
Our conventional education, even with the new curriculum etc, is not meeting these current needs. Our education is still geared to prepare students for government jobs. IAS may be a good job. But only in Delhi. Not, it had never been in Mumbai. Not at all in Bangalore.
Even New Delhi, in our view, hadn’t grasped the full implications of the current globalisation opportunities for our economic development and social transformation. So, what sort of education policy we are likely to get from the New Delhi mindset. The official mindset is still of pre-IT days! No IT bigwig, no Narayanamurthy or Azim Premji are advising the Central government.
So we say: let us take to a new education development model, based on Internet-driven delivery of knowledge and services. Only the satellite-based education delivery can tackle teachers shortages, class room shortages etc.
So, we ask the schools and colleges: start teaching straightaway globalisation and its benefits for India and for the current generation. That should be the first lesson in all schools and our universities.
Also a warning. Don’t trust what the USA/UK experts say of globalisation. These two countries are jealous of India’s emergence as an outsourcing destination. Indians must learn to know for themselves what we have achieved so far and what we are capable of achieving in the near future. Indians are hardworking, our wages are low and so we have an advantage over the US/UK workers. Let us learn to appreciate the positive side of the globalisation.
The point is that education today is changing radically. Gone are the old models of education development. Today, parents look to quick education sikills that can fetch a high paying job. The high paying jobs require, yes some traditional skills in English language, maths and a bit of sciences but above all the IT jobs require high interpersonal skills, teamwork and many other skills that are not taught in any of our traditional schools.