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Developing Human Capital Through Education: Challenges and Solutions

  • Date Submitted: 01/12/2011 02:48 AM
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Developing human capital through education: Challenges and Solutions

As India moves towards being a world economic power, despite the economic slowdown, the low standards of education raise a legitimate concern about the means through which India will manage to sustain this growth without developing its human capital. With its 357 million illiterates[1], India is home of a third of the total number of illiterates in the world. This is a statistic in which not many Indian would take pride. The investment in human capital, through quality education, holds the key to inclusive development in the burgeoning Indian economy. The education system, despite its considerable achievements in the last 60 years, is still marred by shortcomings, both at the elementary and higher levels, which inhibit the country from becoming a knowledge society. Converting India into a knowledge society shall require, inter alia, addressing the issue of expansion, excellence and inclusion in education while formulating policies for achieving the same. Before discussing the challenges before the Indian education system it is imperative to be cognizant of the fact that expansion, excellence and inclusion cannot be pursued independent of each other if a meaningful shift is to be made in the system. The overall impact that education can make in the Indian society depends on the dialectics operating between these three factors. The validity of this assertion can be appreciated from the fact that a unilateral focus on any three shall leave the others unaddressed, thereby affecting the state of education and hence human capital in the country. With this caution in hindsight, I explore below the challenges before the Indian education system. EXPANSION With its 771082 primary and 288199 middle schools[2], India has a prodigious infrastructure already in place for education. This infrastructural base at the elementary level is paralleled by 6680 colleges[3] and 382 universities[4] – state, deemed and...

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