India in the GLOBAL  KNOWLEDGE  economy map

As a person who has spent 50 years of his life in the US, I am very familiar with the lure of India. For us Indians, it was always about going home and making a difference. For the others, India was a country that needed to be experienced. India has much to offer in the areas of fne arts, culture, art and architecture, history, spirituality, yoga and wellness, technology, education, etc. and the expectation from India and Indians has always been quite high.

For centuries, people have travelled from all over the world to learn from us. Our civilisation is one of the oldest rivalled, perhaps, only by the Egyptians who were as advanced as we were. Such progress and repute is due to the singular importance given to learning and education. The Takshasila and Nalanda Universities of yore provide proof of the fact that education, research and learning had already attained structure and quality several centuries ago.

Fast forward to the present day and we see that much has changed. Somewhere in the eighties and nineties, we saw a massive brain drain with many of our qualifed engineers heading to the United States in pursuit of higher education and the Middle East in search of work/ money. The last couple of decades also proved beyond India in the economy map GLOBAL doubt the role that Information Technology would play in determining the world economic order. It has in fact become the underlying thread that has seamlessly integrated the entire planet today. Innovation, research and a robust system of education are what decide the true course of nations today with of course the ubiquitous contribution of IT. Over the last decade, much has changed in the Indian context. People are experimenting with many ideas and career streams, creating headlines, doing different things and doing them differently.

This is the age of Education. The main reason for this dynamic shift is what I like to call the new mantra of education going forward, ‘Affordable Excellence and Adorable Relevance’. Access to excellent quality education need not always be ridiculously expensive. Further, in the case of higher education, it should allow the student to learn whatever he wants and however he wants to and not confne him to a basic syllabus for the purpose of certifcation (when he actually wants to delve deeper into the subject.)

Finally, education is for all. The learning should reach the most number of people. This is where IT will once again open doors and facilitate the MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) type initiative making it possible to access the latest learnings across the world in realtime. Institutes that understand and adapt to what will be the future of education and the way in which learning takes place will be the leaders of tomorrow. However, MOOC may not be the sole answer just as the traditional brick-and-mortar model alone cannot succeed in isolation. This is where I propose something called CHOOCE (Competitive Hybrid Open Online Courses with Evaluation) since without evaluation, learning simply doesn’t happen. The other advantage of CHOOCE will be to provide a variable time frame for a certifcation of prowess by a chosen panel of experts.

Innovation and Research will go hand in hand with the huge impending change in Education and all this together will guarantee a place for India once again on the global knowledge economy map. We live in exciting times indeed !