Today’s world is flat. Opportunity is available to everybody. Geography has become history, i.e. the constraints posed by distance have disappeared or rendered irrelevant in the connected world. In this scenario, how will be the future of education in India? Following are some of the possibilities :
Dominance of technology : With the emergence of fast and affordable technological solutions and broadband connectivity, more and more dispensing of education will happen through Internet and mobile technologies. Unfortunately, the availability of good teachers has not kept pace with the rapid pace of technology. This real scarcity of talented teachers will also enforce usage of technology to impart education, which can enhance the availability of one teacher to many students across the globe.
Increased Specialization : With the increased complexity in the world, education, too, will become more and more specialized. This will lead to a lot of degrees becoming fragmented, giving rise to focused studies in specific areas. So, one graduation will not suffice and students will have to go for more specialized courses post graduation.
Scarcity of skilled workmen : Day by day, the availability of skilled manpower is reducing in traditional vocations and crafts. E.g. less and less youngsters are going to their family vocations, which their parents followed. The new generation, empowered by education, prefers to venture into greener pastures, abandoning family’s traditional occupations. The impact of this is being visible in labor intensive industries like ready made garments. jewellery, manufacturing etc. Due to this, education will have to also cover few general skills to enable people to take care of their regular requirements. For example, people will be expected to know basic carpentry, sewing, painting, masonry, plumbing, electric work etc.
The reduction of EQ : Due to the two-dimensional world of e-Relationships and social networks today, people are always absorbed in the solitary world glued to their computer screens and mobiles and losing touch with actual human beings. This will reduce the benefits of emotional cushioning emerging out of sharing. People are going to become more and more lonely and will have less and less tolerance for intrusion to their privacy. This will lead to very serious deficit of Emotional Intelligence or EQ. The education will have to work towards filling this gap because otherwise people will find it difficult to deal with real people, because they have been used to deal with their ‘digital’ profiles only.
Globalization of education : Globalization and the blending of multiple cultures will encourage increased collaboration among the educational institutes across continents, leading to increased uniformity in education. Education will also undergo a lot of marketing, as branding of institutes will become very significant. Also, the demands of future will require students to be aware of variety of cultures, languages, challenges and opportunities of different parts the world.
Increased need of skills : In some recent surveys of graduate and post graduate Indians, some shocking facts have come up :
a) 74% of the engineers passed from Indian engineering colleges DO NOT possess skills required by the industry, i.e. they are not immediately employable without being trained by the company.
b) 90% of the graduates and post graduates from India, CANNOT write CORRECT English with reference to grammar and spellings.
In a haste to win in the race of global outsourcing business, India has compromised on the quality of education being imparted to increase quantity. The poor quality of India’s ‘educated’ manpower may pose very serious threat to the future of services industry which has become the dominant part of India’s GDP today, as competition from other emerging market countries is heating up, who have developed much superior education infrastructure.
There are lakhs of Engineers, MBAs and other degree holders coming out from hundreds of universities, without possessing the requisite basic skills to help India establish and maintain the sustainable competitive advantage in the fiercely competitive services industry. This means a lot of effort will have to be spent on skilling and re-skilling this university qualified manpower of India.
India’s population, which was a liability before a few decades has suddenly become an asset in the new global equation. But, this asset can erode or become a Non-Performing-Asset quickly if its quality is not polished through modern and relevant education and skills.