timesofindia TODAY'S EDITORIAL: How To Get Rich 6 Oct 2007
There's a looming shortage in skills and talent. Despite having a predominantly young population and one of the largest systems of higher learning, India will face a deficit of half a million skilled workers by 2010. That's because education -- an area handled in recent times by backward-looking ministers like Murli Manohar Joshi and Arjun Singh -- has been largely untouched by the reform process. The report recommends managerial and financial autonomy of universities and colleges, and facilitating greater private participation in higher education. Limited skills and training would no longer be a bottleneck for the economy if global best practices could be incorporated in education, but for that the education sector has to be deregulated and the welcome mat laid out for foreign universities.
Even authoritarian China understands the need for foreign universities to come to the country; more than 700 foreign academic programmes operate there now. There's no reason for democratic India to feel afraid. Besides raising the calibre of its schools and colleges, companies too could do a better job of offering in-house skills training to their employees. The report found that 92 per cent firms offer in-service training in China, against only a paltry 15 per cent in this country. Importantly, the government must put a series of policies in place to promote more research labs in the public as well as private sectors, encourage venture capitalists, create an enabling intellectual property and patent regime, and facilitate technology transfers. For India's economic miracle to happen it needs urgently to unleash innovation across the board, not in just a few sectors. timesofindia/Editorial/