By Vikas Pota, Varkey Foundation
By 2030, the economies of India and China together may contribute 65 per cent of global GDP and be home to the majority of the world’s working age population. India alone will possess the world’s biggest pool of potential employees.
But the giddy predictions of future growth seem more fragile when it is considered that this potential labour force is dependent on education systems that often fail to teach basic skills.
India has the largest number of illiterate adults of any country globally. Teacher absenteeism is the third highest in the world, and many teachers lack basic training. Some 12.8m young Indians enter the work force each year and, without adequate skills, will often struggle to find employment. Shanghai leads the rankings done by Pisa, the Programme for International Student Assessment, and has become a poster-child for education ministries around the word. But in rural China, many students still do not finish secondary school. Read more
By Jorge Mariscal of UBS Wealth Management
Over the past 20 years, 700m people have been lifted out of poverty in developing economies. This new middle class should grow another 60 per cent by 2020, increasing total consumption from $8tn to $13.5tn a year.
As the income gap with developed world peers narrows and aspirational consumer values converge, the emerging market middle class will be able and willing to pay for better education, health, housing, and infrastructure. These ‘public’ industries represent the most dynamic areas of the developing world – the new emerging markets to watch in 2015 and beyond.
Mass transit in Asia is an excellent example. The number of Asians living in megacities with more than 10m residents will double by 2025, the UN predicts. Meanwhile, vehicle ownership is doubling every five years amid rising incomes, while sharply rising carbon emissions are reducing air quality. Read more
Here comes the MBA
In many countries, people debate the professional merits of an MBA. But in India, people are doing MBAs not just to up their chances in the competitive job market but also to make themselves more eligible in the even-more-gruelling marriage market.
Is that because these qualifications are exclusive and well respected in the country – a sign of economic and social status? Quite the opposite. It is ‘qualification inflation’ that makes the business degree an essential for any would-be bride or groom. Read more
Massive open online courses, also known as Moocs, are a relatively new phenomenon in education, allowing people to take free classes from some of the world’s most eminent professors on their laptops anywhere in the world.
Excitement over these programmes reached a peak last year with the western media delirious at the idea of accessible, quality education for all. Bu where should Mooc platforms head for their next phase of growth? EMs, of course. Read more
Investors may not look at school attainment rates very often but perhaps they ought to. Study the indicators and you see that – in terms of education at least – Sri Lanka far outshines the rest of south Asia.
The country is far from paradise. Sri Lankans hunger for a lasting peace after a long and painful civil war; sections of the Tamil minority still complain of repression. But the country’s record in education at least holds out some hope. Read more
Indian education desperately needs improvement. As the government is looking to raise the pupil-teacher ratio in government schools (as part of the Right to Education Act), even the poor are sending their children to fee-paying schools.
Perhaps India can get better value for money out of their teachers? A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research has found that low cost, untrained contract teachers are no less productive that the formal option. Is there a solution here for a debt-laden public sector? Read more
During school holidays children in India are traditionally looked after close to home and at minimal cost. It’s one advantage of living in an extended family with a never-ending supply of aunties, eager to spend a day pinching the cheeks of your children and keeping them well fed.
But as the country develops, that seems to be changing. Parents are increasingly keen to get their children out of the house and into productive activities. India’s summer camp industry is expected to be worth Rs10bn ($179.9m) by the 2017-2018 year, up from Rs4bn today, according to Assocham, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. Read more
A visitor recently put it succinctly: “Why does everyone here want to be an engineer?”
It was an unwittingly incisive observation. Engineering is traditionally considered a “respectable” degree in India – a route out of poverty and into a well-paid job. But there may be fewer of those jobs to go round. Read more
What do Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys, Rajat Gupta, the disgraced former chief executive of McKinsey, and Arvind Kejriwal, leader of India’s Aam Aadmi Party, have in common?
They all graduated from the renowned Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). But would these men have reached positions of power without an IIT education? And could they have enrolled if IIT’s tuition fees were significantly higher? Read more
Indian students sitting down to take the Common Entrance Exam that may grant them entry to one of the country’s top MBA programmes this autumn will likely find themselves surrounded by far fewer fellow test takers. The number taking the test has fallen nearly 28 per cent since 2008, to around 200,000 this year, according to Mint newspaper.
In 2009, as the global financial crisis caught up with India, and management degrees became less attractive than a steady job, the number of students appearing for the test began dropping, and for the past two years, it has remained just over 200,000. This despite the fact that there are now 13 prestigious Indian Institutes of Management, as opposed to seven. Read more