Industry & Economy - Economy
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Upgrade content delivery to push technology-driven economy
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug. 8 Upsurge in the domestic services sector and consequent boom in economy are as much attributable to low capital demand as it is to an education system based on English-based content delivery.
The IT outsourcing phenomenon made the boom visible to the common man. But the moot question is whether software/third party directed work could alone place India into a strong position in science, technology and education by 2015, says Dr T.R.G. Nair, leading educationist and academician.
For a better tomorrow
Science, technology, economics and education are undergoing rapid transformation these days. This has brought about decisive changes to the society as a whole, thanks to seamless bandwidth communication and transportation.
Higher education is the medium which positions pillars to support all these changes, said Dr Nair, Director of the Bangalore-based DS Institutions. But this sector is forced to square up with restricted content delivery, blocking critical thinking and evaluation. Evidence is from the fact no breakthrough product from Indian science and engineering has gone on to take the world by storm.
Speaking to an invited audience here recently, he said that unconventional content delivery is what will equip people to take up the challenges posed by science, technology and education in a fast-evolving 21st century.
Explaining, Dr Nair said that a super economy is evolving around modern science and technology, which measures quality in microns and nanos. The thin line separating science and engineering in this domain is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
The notion of educational rigidity itself is under severe challenge. A nano engineer works in his room not anymore in a mega factory or loco shed to make his dollar-million. If the 20th century models are policy driven and rigid, they need to be market driven and liberal in the 21st century.
Accountable research and development, supported by funding schemes, need to be formulated in universities. The State would have to come up with enabling legislations.
Entrepreneurial thinking has to be indoctrinated into higher education, enabling and empowering seekers to find opportunities and exploit them. A multi-cultural orientation is called for if only to share knowledge and practices using the bandwidth. The aim must be to reach international content delivery standards. Liberalisation and internationalisation will enable more institutions to set up shop, Dr Nair said. Considering the population level and the geographical spread, a cluster of 300 to 400 universities should not be too high for the country.
More so when around 10 million in suitable age group are seeking knowledge. By todays standards, a trained group of one million can easily generate a turnover of $100 billion.
But all these thoughts have implications at three levels national, State and university. Appropriate political will, intellectual support and funding can pave the way for a better 21st century India.
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Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Aug 27, 2004