Effects of Technical Education on India
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India is well known for its large pool of technical manpower, a fair proportion of which finds employment in developed countries, especially in the West. As a happy sequel to the story, India has recently witnessed a big boom in the BPO/KPO sector. In order to sustain this trend, and to ensure that India does not throw away this key advantage, it is imperative that we continue to produce a critical mass of highly skilled manpower at an accelerated pace. An enabling academic and economic setting is a key factor determining the fate of our nation in the wake of the knowledge sector boom.
India's growth in recent years has been led by the services sector. The most noticeable aspect has been the recent big boom in the BPO/KPO sector. This off-shoring trend is certain to continue and India faces the challenge of generating an appropriate supply response to retain its existing advantage. It should be noted that Indian's spend nearly $4 billion annually to send their children abroad for higher studies and technical training while there is no reason for India not emerging as a global hub for higher education and technical training. The real challenge therefore, is to expand capacities in higher education to keep ahead of the curve of rising domestic and global demand.
UN Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commended that the technical education in India as the "best in the world", and she also suggested her country and India should work together in the field to help bridge the gap between talent and opportunities. "Technical education in India was the best in the world. We need to work together in the field of educational opportunities," she said at an interactive discussion on education organized by "Teach India", a NGO on 19th July 2009.
The term 'globalization' means integration of economies and societies through cross country flows of information, ideas, technologies, goods, services, capital, finance and people. Cross border integration can have several dimensions - cultural, social, political and economic. In fact, some people fear cultural and social integration even more than economic integration.
Nothing is permanent, only change is permanent. Globalization is a feature of changing world. It is no more a recent phenomenon in the world and since India is major player of twenty first
** Lecturer, Department of Commerce, Loyola College, Chennai - 34.
century we are facing its socio - economic impacts. Initial enthusiasm for globalization as a beneficial set of processes has yielded to an understanding that the phenomenon is largely associated with increasing social inequality within and between countries as well as instability and conflict.
Globalization is impacting the institutional framework in both developing and industrial countries. It is changing the way in which governments perceive their role in the society. It has also far reaching implications for socio economic development and educational systems of countries all over the World. With abundance of natural resources India has huge young and skilled man power to excel in every walk of life.
Globalization is a contemporary term that has attracted considerable attention of educators throughout most of the world. It is a set of processes to integrate the world into one economic space through increased international trade, the internationalization of production, and telecommunication system (Stromquist & Monkman, 2000). Although this definition is made from an economic view, globalization is increasingly connected to political, cultural, and educational influences. Recently, its relationship to education and culture has become important issues because information and innovation are the basic momentum of globalization.
GLOBALISATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION
According to the results of a special survey 'Higher Education: Free degrees to fly' , higher education is already a global business. The days when higher education was a matter of national policy and government regulation are rapidly fading. Higher Education provisioning is now globalised and in many ways, a commercialized affair and the way that the State had in the goings on is vastly diminished. According to Andreas Schleicher of OECD, a Paris based 'Think Tank' the numbers studying abroad were statistically negligible two decades ago. (Cited in the same survey in the Economist). According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the growth is now soaring: 2 million university students-approaching 2% of the world's total of around 100 million studying outside their home country in 2003 (cited in Higher Education in the same article in Economist). Since the late 1990s the higher education market is growing by 7 per cent a year. The Economist Survey on higher education further indicates that annual fee income alone is estimated at $ 30 billion. While private profit seeking companies have entered the education business, even government-controlled universities are seeking independence from governmental authority. However, many countries including India, continue to control the fee structure of their universities causing financial stress to foreign students, who are generally made to pay much higher fees than local students. This has resulted in many universities openly soliciting entry of foreign students. To facilitate this process they have even tailored their courses to international requirements besides appointing agents abroad and publicizing the offers widely in the media.
TECHNICAL EDUCATION IN INDIA
The history of imparting formal technical education in India can be traced back to mid 19th century, although it got momentum in 20th century with the set up of Constitution of Technical Education Committee of the Central University Board of Education (CABE) in 1943; Preparation of Sergeant Report in 1944 and Formation of All India Council of technical Education (AICTE) in 1945. With the country gaining independence in 1947, the development of technical education had become a major concern for the government of India to face the new challenges and move the country forward.
The set up of Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Science was a major step in the development of technical education in the country. The quality of education of these institutes have managed to change the outlook of India so much that this ancient country which was earlier known for yoga and mediation is now known for computer engineers. However, it does not mean that the challenge of making technical education accessible to the rural populace and other under developed sections of the society has been overcome.
In order to maintain the standard of technical education, a statutory authority- The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)- was set up in 1945. AICTE is responsible for planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and standards, quality assurance through accreditation, funding in priority areas, monitoring and evaluation, maintaining parity of certification and awards and ensuring coordinated and integrated development and management of technical education in the country.
GLOBALIZATION - EDUCATION AND HR DEVELOPMENT
Knowledge is the driving force in the rapidly changing globalised economy and society. Quantity and quality of specialized human resources determine their competence in the global market. Emergence of knowledge as driving factor results in both challenges and opportunities. It is well known that the growth of the global economy has increased opportunities for those countries with good levels of education.
Globalization has a multi-dimensional impact on the system of education. It promotes new tools & techniques in this area like E-learning, Flexible learning, Distance Education Programs and Overseas training. Globalization will mean many different things for education. In the near future, "it will mean a more competitive and deregulated educational system modeled after free market but with more pressure on it to assure that the next generation of workers are prepared for some amorphous 'job market of 21st century'.
Since "Life long jobs have been converted in to yearly contracts there is still possibility of even short duration jobs. Our education system should deliver such education and training so that professionals can adjust themselves as per market expectations. It has underlined the need for reforms in the educational system with particular reference to the wider utilization of information technology, giving productivity dimension to education and emphasis on its research and development activities.
The benefits of globalization accrue to the countries with highly skilled human capital and it is a curse for the countries without such specialized human capital. Developing and transition countries are further challenged in a highly competitive world economy because their higher education systems are not adequately developed for the creation and use of knowledge. Converting the challenges into opportunities depend on the rapidity at which they adapt to the changing environment.
India is also following the global phenomenon. As part of globalization, the economic reform packages were introduced in India in the beginning of 1991. These reform packages imposed a heavy compression on the public budgets on education sector, more specifically so on higher education. This has trickled down to public expenditure on education in general, and higher education in particular. Indian government and Indian corporate sector has recognized the importance of management education in the changing global scenario. Today under the reforming economic conditions, integration of the Indian economy with world economy presupposes efficiency and competitiveness in the domestic front as well as in the international arena. As the process of globalization is technology-driven, and knowledge-driven, the very success of economic reform policies critically depends upon the competence of human capital.
But, what is observed is the reverse. Even within the education sector, relative priority assigned to higher education has been on the decline (Table 1 and Chart 1). It is to be realized that higher education institutions play an important role in setting the academic standard for primary and secondary education. They are also responsible for not only providing the specialized human capital in order to corner the gains from globalisation, but also for training inside the country, provide policy advice, etc.
Globalization is expected to have a positive influence on the volume, quality and spread of knowledge through increased interaction among the various states. Today our educational system is strong enough but Central and state governments should change their roles within the education system, re-inventing themselves as facilitating and supervisory organizations. Teacher training, infrastructure and syllabuses need to be urgently upgraded. Industry should come forward to share experience with students and to offer more opportunities for live Projects.
The free market philosophy has already entered the educational world in a big way. Commercialization of education is the order of the day. Commercial institutions offering specialized education have come up everywhere. In view of globalization, many corporate universities, both foreign and Indian, are encroaching upon our government institutions.
Our Institutes like IIM'S and IIT'S have produced world class professionals. These institutes imparts quality education as per industry expectations and give due importance to Institute Industry Interface. Under the new scenario, Government - Private partnership is becoming important in Management Education. Now India is a transforming country. We are near to achieve status of developed nation.
The demand for higher education has been growing rapidly with comparatively faster growth in enrolment in higher educational institutions than the growth in number of higher educational institutions . The growth rates are doubled among the students enrolled in post-graduate and research, while the number of institutions for post-graduate and research studies has grown at a slower rate in 1990s than in 1980s.
Globalization leads to challenges and threats also. The major concern is to deliver world class education with updated curriculum and practical exposure. This is possible only by attracting talented & experienced persons in to academics. At present it is difficult to assess not only the nature and dimensions of globalization, but also what it means to the field of education. A few educational researchers have attempted to make connections between the several dimensions of globalization and the policies of education.
India is witnessing new era in the field of Management Education. Many Corporate groups like Reliance, Nirma, Tata, Sterlite etc. have promoted Management Institutes. Some reputed foreign universities are also coming to India. But Government should issue some guidelines so that fees structure remains with in certain limit and those who are from economically poor background have same opportunity.
In the wake of globalization process and to cope up with the changing priorities of the people, the planners are bound to revise their strategies in the education sector. Thus, several specialist committees, involving the elites and captains of industry and education, constituted by the Union ministry are engaged in the process. Whereas, the public interest demands a wider domain for the national debate on syllabus and curriculum reform among other related aspects. As usual there are several viewpoints of conflicting nature expressed by the captains of industry and education like Azim Premji, Prof.N.S.Ramaswamy, Kabir Mustafa and others. While there is a broad consensus on some points, some are almost at variance with each other. The common educational reforms that were endorsed by some of the eminent industrialists and academics include:
Liberalize and deregulate the education system to encourage promotion of new schools, colleges, vocational and other institutions of higher education.
Diligence higher education, confer institutional autonomy and decentralize syllabus design.
Central and state governments should change their roles within the education system, re-inventing themselves as facilitating and supervisory organisations.
Teacher training, infrastructure and syllabuses need to be urgently upgraded.
The rapid growth of the software development and electronic communications industries is one of the few achievements of Indian industry in post-independence India. Further, because of strong hold of the English language in MNCs and corporate circles, the divide between rural and urban is almost complete in the field of education. In consequence, this great reservoir of skills and expertise offers the opportunity to utilize them for the spread of quality education through several technologies. Obviously, F.C. Kohli, the vice chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recommended, "Through the wider use of computers and technology, curriculums and faculties can be shared by schools and colleges across the country". Again the pace is set by a variety of private 'educational entrepreneurs', otherwise known as, 'Edupreneurs', who have promoted internationally recognized institutions of higher education such as the S.P. Jain Institute of Management in Mumbai; Amity University, Delhi; Indian School of Business and ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad; Mahavir Academy of Technical Sciences and Presidency College, Bangalore and the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, among others. Besides, some Indian 'Edupreneur' are venturing overseas. These are all certain recent trends that undermine the very social obligations of our governments.
OUTCOME OF GLOBALISATION
The ramifications of globalization in India have been uneven. Education, as a service industry, is a part of the globalization process under the umbrella of General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).Thus it is of now wonder that like in any other sector, globalization has bred inequality and dependence in the education system of the nation, especially higher education. Thus while a section of the population has benefited from globalization in their academic pursuits, the under privileged section has struggled to receive proper higher education due to excessive corporatization of education ,increasing fees and unavailability of opportunities in the lower strata of the society. India has some very bright spots of excellence in its technical education sector. The IITs and their alumni command great respect in the global market. Globalization has created a market based educational system in India. Thus there has been incredible growth of the number of technical colleges and universities providing technical education especially in fields like IT, Computer Science, electronics, architecture. As the job market in these sectors is flourishing, students after getting mere Bachelors degree hardly opt for higher education. Thus India over the years has produced some brilliant technicians but hardly any excellent educationist or a genius teacher. Moreover, as the cost of receiving such technical education is sky high, poor students have been out of the competition to receive higher education.
Given the importance of technical education in the further development of the nation, the Government of India is keen on developing some more institutes in the line of IITs, IIMs and IISCs. The Prime Minister of India has unleashed a plan to establish 8 IITs, 7 IIMs and 5 IISCs to improve the spread and quality of technical education in the country. These institutes along with various private institutes and foreign technical colleges have the potential of making technical education accessible to all sections of society in India without compromising on the quality of education.
Education is an important investment in building human capital that is a driver for technological innovation and economic growth. It is only through improving the educational status of a society that the multi-faceted development of its people can be ensured. In the post-industrialized world, the advanced countries used to derive the major proportion of their national income not from agriculture and industry but from the service sector. Since the service sector is based on imparting skills or training to the students and youth, the education sector is the most sought after. It must provide gainful employment so that the sector is developed in a big way. It has also given rise to controversies relating to introducing changes in the inter-sectoral priorities in the allocation of resources leading to the misconceived policy of downsizing of higher education. It has also advocated privatization of higher education without realizing the danger of making the system a commercial enterprise.
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