India’s Unique Talent Pool
A Knowledge Civilization
As a knowledge civilization, India carries a natural reservoir of talent in its DNA. Throughout its history, India has made significant contributions to various fields of knowledge, including mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and literature. The groundbreaking work in number theory and mathematical analysis of ancient Indian mathematicians continues to influence even the modern research. India's history as a knowledge civilization continues to influence its contemporary educational, scientific, and cultural landscape, making it a significant contributor to global good.
G-20 for Global Well-being
Throughout India’s G20 presidency - whether in Working Groups or Ministerial Assembly - the greater global wellbeing has been the connective tissue in all discussions. The G20 theme of “One Earth – One Family – One Future”, rooted in our ancient values of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam, underscores that India’s progress and growth is not only for its own people but for global good – what we call “Vishwa Kalyan” – the well-being of the entire world.
Global Confidence on India’s Economy
The world has reckoned the innate strength and resilience of India’s economy. The International Monetary Fund has identified India as a "bright spot" in the world economy. India’s macro-economic fundamentals are very strong. Despite global headwinds, India is among the fastest growing economies in the world. India is now the fifth largest economy with potential to become the third largest economy in a short time.
The Mother-ship of Education
Raising the human capital through knowledge and skill is the key to realise India’s potential. Education is the ‘mother-ship’ that will drive and sustain the growth impulses. Education is the mother-power that will empower the citizenry.
New Education Policy (NEP): The Mother Document
A comprehensive National Education Policy 2020, has been framed to make education in India inclusive and wholesome; rooted and futuristic; and progressive and forward-looking.
Learning in mother tongue to ensure strong conceptual understanding and clarity has been given primacy in NEP. Education in mother tongue will not supplant the link languages, but supplement them. It will make the educational pathways of students including those who are cognitively less endowed, smooth and non-problematic.
Internationalization of higher education has received the priority attention. To make India a top study destination, NEP 2020 seeks to facilitate faculty/student exchanges, research and teaching partnerships, and the signing of mutually beneficial MOUs with foreign nations. IIT - Madras and IIT - Delhi have made MOUs to set up their foreign campuses in Zanzibar-Tanzania and Abu Dhabi-UAE, respectively.
Industry-Academia collaboration is yet another priority area of NEP to promote research. The National Research Foundation is being set up to seed, grow, and facilitate research at academic institutions. The focus is to make India an R&D hub. The Government is making concerted efforts to ensure not only Ease of Doing Business but also Ease of Doing Research.
Besides, India is having educational partnerships with major countries of USA, Australia, Japan and Europe where India’s talent pool is recognized and eyed for. Under the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) and the Quad Fellowship enhanced collaboration in high-technology areas is promoted.
Standardization helps align Indian education with the global education. Under the NEP, the National Curriculum Framework for School Education has been released that benchmarks specific learning standards, content, pedagogy, and assessments. Similarly, National Credit Framework has been put in place to bring practice of diverse academics into the ambit of academic bank of credit.
Skilling and Entrepreneurship
India is home to more than 600 million people aged between 18 and 35, with 65% under the age of 35. Harnessing the demographic dividend with multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, critically thinking, young and future-ready workforce is the overriding priority.
India is witnessing a path breaking scenario in skilling and entrepreneurship with the third largest start-up ecosystem and over a 100 Unicorns. Not only the metro cities, India’s innovation and start-ups are being driven by Tier 2 Tier 3 cities and towns.
Skilling in school
Skilling has been integrated in school education from standard 6 onwards. It is now integral to credit framework. The Skill Framework of Singapore is worthy of emulation to build a skilled workforce right from the school level to sustain in the tech-driven industrial environment.
India and New Order
India recognises the central role of human capital in the evolving new order. People equipped with education and skill can play a seminal role in today’s knowledge economy. They alone can make exceptional contributions to nation building by way of breakthrough innovations and scientific discoveries, besides expanding the frontier of knowledge and spurring economic growth.
India is a huge laboratory for global good. The 21st century being a knowledge century, new technologies will be the harbinger of a new order and India with its vast talent pool is at the forefront of shaping this new order.
The writer is Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India