Special Subject Group on
Policy Framework for Private Investment in
Education, Health and Rural Development
A Policy Framework for Reforms in Education
VISION FOR EDUCATION IN INDIA
5.1 Indias Labour
Despite rapid advances
in industrial development, India is today still seen
as a non-competitive labour oriented society. Two
thirds of our work force is dependent on agriculture
for a living. In most industrial sectors, competitive
advantage is built around labour. A substantial part
of our exports are in the form of labour intensive
goods and services. In information technology, some
flag our vast pool of labour as an advantage while
others say that a majority of them are not working in
cutting edge areas.
A number of economic
reforms are hampered by their impact on labour and
employment be it privatisation of public
enterprises, reduction in tariffs, moving to a
quantitative regime or restraining wasteful
We have rigid labour
laws that protect the interests of 300 lakhs
employees in the government, public sector and
organised private sector. The large numbers of
workers in the unorganised sector and agriculture
have no such protection. These labour laws hinder the
creation of several hundred million new jobs that
will be required for our growing population. Rigid
labour laws are also hampering investments that have
high employment elasticity, much needed by a populous
nation. Labour related issues are centre stage in our
current phase of reforms.
But, at the same time,
the power of people in India is enormous. Imagine the
potential for growth and development if over a
billion people, one sixth of humanity, are educated,
creative and enterprising. We have the numbers, but
not the quality.
Labour is both as a
promise as well as a peril in Indian society.
5.2 Dawn of the
In contrast, the
developed world is shaping to be part of an
information society. In such a society intellectual
capital will be at a premium.
Businesses in the
information society will see employees work as
quasi-owners in small cohesive organisations.
Conventional models of employment that are labour
oriented will be unable to unleash the human
potential. Information intensive businesses will
demand the nurture of creativity and innovation.
Organisations in the
information society will tend to be smaller nuclear
outfits rather than large monoliths. Traditionally
organisations were designed for stability. In an
information led world, organisations would be
designed for change.
Innovation will be at
the heart of competitiveness in the information
society. Innovation is a commitment to create future
growth. Societies will tend to be research intensive.
Already, R&D expenditures are 1.8% of GDP in
Europe, 2.7% in USA and 2.8% in Japan and would tend
to move higher in absolute and relative terms.
Tighter patent laws will support the sustenance of
such expenditures. Innovation without knowledge and
people is unimaginable.
society will place emphasis on soft assets -
programmes that run computer systems, systems
solutions that integrate businesses, people who drive
innovation and ideas that create the future. It will
be a world where services will make up a significant
component of economic value.
In such a society
there will be much education occurring outside of
schools. Education will draw on vastly more powerful
technology. For example, learning through a two-way
voice activated computer assisted self-paced
learning. Learners will be able to go beyond the
classroom. They will obtain information in a variety
of forms text, data, sound, video from
all over the world, at any time and at rapidly
diminishing costs. Multimedia materials will reflect
local values and culture, provide visual images of
desired behaviour, collaborate across borders and
access information not previously available.
society will be education centric - in content,
network, delivery and outcome.
5.3 Imperatives for
As the world moves to
forging an information society founded on education,
India cannot remain behind as a non-competitive
labour oriented society. India has to envision to
being a competitive knowledge economy.
India has to create an
environment that does not produce industrial workers
and labourers but fosters knowledge workers. Such
people must be at the cutting edge of knowledge, be
competitive and innovative. Education development has
a major role to play in shaping knowledge workers
and, in turn, placing India in the vanguard in the
5.4 Imperatives for
While the larger world
embraces the information age, the world of education
in India encompasses different worlds
that live side by side.
One world includes
only a fortunate few with access to modern
institutions, computers, Internet access and
expensive overseas education. A second world wants to
maintain status quo teachers, administrators,
textbook publishers, students all have reasons
to prefer things to remain as they are or change only
gradually. The third world struggles with fundamental
issues such as no books, wrong books, teachers
desperately in need of training, teachers with
poor commitment, rote learning of irrelevant
material, classrooms with hundred students, dirty
floors and no toilets.
India cannot hope to
succeed in the information age on the back of such
three disparate worlds.
The imperative for
India is to raise standards of the vast majority with
poor education, break the education sector free from
its inertia and forge a society that places knowledge
as the cornerstone of its development.
At the same time, It
is difficult to envisage the Indian society, with its
ethos centred on family values and caring, being in a
purely competitive mould. The tradition of
co-operation and coexistence in India, among diverse
communities, religions and languages and regions, has
to be sustained.
5.5 A Vision for
Therefore, a vision
for education in India has to inspire creation of a
knowledge-based society, induce competitiveness yet
foster a sense of co-operation.
Thus, the vision for
education in India would be " TO CREATE A
COMPETITVE, YET CO-OPERATIVE, KNOWLEDGE BASED
objectives would have to be pursued in order to
realise this vision. These are:
primary education facilities to every citizen of
India within a distance of one kilometre from his
support the private sector in the establishment
of high quality secondary education facilities in
establishment of world class higher education
facilities at every district head quarters.
creation of state-of-the-art professional
research based education institutions in all
institutes of education for physical education
and education for the challenged.
education with information and communication
and deliver education and training,
maintain data bases, and
resources required for the education process.
upgrade educational content in multiple media.
institutional linkages to other sectors of social
development such as health and rural development.
non-resident Indians to participate in
Indias education programmes on a voluntary
or sabbatical basis.
Market India as a
destination for affordable, high quality
5.7 Guiding Principles
The following guiding
principles must permeate the pursuit of the above
Foster a healthy
mix of state supported education with private
Costs of education
must be affordable to the under privileged
sections of society.
education must be continuously monitored and
upgraded to ensure high standards.
principle to be enforced strictly for higher
education supported by loan schemes as well as
financial grants for economically and socially
backward sections of society.