Education Empowers Change: India's vision for a globalised future - Hindustan Times
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Education Empowers Change: India's vision for a globalised future

Oct 05, 2023 03:39 PM IST

India's pursuit of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy recognises the pivotal role that education plays in achieving this monumental objective

Education stands as the most potent tool one can wield to reshape the world- Nelson Mandela

In a world that is increasingly interconnected, India stands on the precipice of a transformative journey, internationalizing its higher education landscape to foster a more globally connected academic community
In a world that is increasingly interconnected, India stands on the precipice of a transformative journey, internationalizing its higher education landscape to foster a more globally connected academic community

In an era marked by globalisation and rapid technological progress, the global integration of education has emerged as a pivotal element in the development strategies of nations worldwide.

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India, with its promising higher education landscape, currently hosts approximately 38 million students across a staggering 50,000 educational institutions, including a noteworthy 1,057 universities.

Expanding Opportunities for Students and Professionals

India's ambitious goal of doubling its current gross enrolment rate of 26.3% to 50% by the year 2035 harmonizes seamlessly with the global perspective on higher education. Notably, India holds the distinction of being the second-largest contributor of international students globally. The National Education Policy of 2020 has pledged to open up India's traditionally tightly regulated academic system to the global stage, ushering in an era characterized by inclusivity and collaboration.

The year 2022 witnessed a significant resurgence in the number of Indian students pursuing higher education abroad, with more than 6.5 lakh students venturing overseas, as reported by the Ministry of Education. This marked a notable increase from 4.54 lakh in 2017 to 5.86 lakh in 2019.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a sharp decline, with only 2.59 lakh students going abroad in 2020. In 2021, over 4.4 lakh Indians pursued higher education overseas, reflecting a resilient spirit despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

In a bid to offer a global educational environment to Indian students within the nation's borders, the Ministry of Education has forged strategic MoUs with Australian universities, Deakin and Wollongong, enabling them to establish campuses in Gujarat's GIFT City. This move provides Indian students with diverse global education options without leaving their homeland.

India's Journey towards a Globally Competent Education Hub

In a world that is increasingly interconnected, India stands on the precipice of a transformative journey, internationalising its higher education landscape to foster a more globally connected academic community.

India's pursuit of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy recognises the pivotal role that education plays in achieving this monumental objective.

Moreover, with a target of raising the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 50% by 2035 and plans to add 35 million seats in higher education institutions, the government of India has undertaken various initiatives to facilitate students:

Flexible Curriculum: The policy advocates for flexible higher education curricula, empowering students to explore diverse subjects in accordance with global trends.

Multiple Entry/Exit Points: It encourages students to enter and exit their educational journey at various stages, promoting lifelong learning and skill development.

National Research Foundation: This foundation fosters a robust research culture, attracting international scholars and researchers.

Technology Integration: Emphasis is placed on equitable technology use, exemplified by the National Educational Technology Forum.

Multilingual Education: The policy promotes education in multiple languages to cater to diverse student preferences.

Indian Knowledge Systems: It integrates India's rich knowledge heritage into mainstream education while connecting with global knowledge.

Vocational Education Integration: The policy blends vocational education with general education to equip students with practical skills.

Industry-Academia Collaboration: It encourages closer ties between educational institutions and industries for curriculum alignment and internships.

Reskilling and Upskilling: Recognising the importance of lifelong learning in a rapidly changing job market.

Inclusive and Sustainable Skills: Inclusive skill development initiatives, including fee relief for women and marginalised communities.

International Mobility: Initiatives like the Livelihood program enhance Indian youth's global employability. The Government of India has opened doors to a more diverse student body and fosters international collaboration, expanding opportunities for students and professionals alike.

Fostering Workforce Development in a Highly Dynamic Environment

In today's business landscape, companies operate within a highly dynamic environment. The ever-evolving technology sector, competition emerging from new industry segments, shifts in regulations and political events exert multifaceted influences on businesses. These shifts impose distinctive demands not solely on leadership but also on the entire workforce.

These transformations are not merely altering the processes of work, but they also affect the employees themselves and the very nature of their tasks. To remain pertinent in this rapidly changing era, it is imperative for individuals to continually enhance their skills and adapt.

To address the crucial need for upskilling and workforce development, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has collaborated with educational providers like Pearson to offer vocational training and skill development programs. This partnership plays a pivotal role in addressing the employability requirements of Indian youth and bolstering ongoing reforms in the education system.

Additionally, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has forged substantial partnerships with prestigious organisations, including Pearson, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, LinkedIn, CISCO, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, deAsra, IITs, and numerous others. These collaborations empower the ministry to harness the knowledge and resources of these entities, resulting in the development of innovative and industry-aligned skill development programs.

In addressing the pressing challenge of the skill gap in Indian professionals aspiring to study or work abroad, it is crucial to invest in the workforce of the future. Thankfully, learning companies are creating an environment for upskilling and reskilling while leveraging the synergies between their workforce skills and English language learning divisions. The ability to embrace lifelong learning is now a critical asset for career and workplace growth.

ELP Unlocking Global Opportunities for Indian Skilled Professionals

English language proficiency is one such skill that provides Indian skilled workers an advantage to compete globally. NEP has emphasised both digitisation and the use of technology in education.

Various platforms are available to prove English proficiency for work, study, or migration abroad; one such platform is PTE Academic. It serves as evidence of English-language proficiency for visa applications in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as for Indian students utilising the Student Direct Stream (SDS) for Canadian study applications.

As India opens its doors to diverse educational opportunities and facilitates international mobility, it not only expands horizons for its students but also strengthens its position on the global stage.

Initiatives aimed at curriculum flexibility, vocational integration, and industry-academia collaboration are shaping a more dynamic and responsive educational ecosystem.

Furthermore, India's efforts in workforce development, upskilling, and reskilling are essential in preparing its youth for the ever-evolving demands of the global job market. Collaborations with key players in the industry and the emphasis on lifelong learning are equipping individuals with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing environment.

By embracing internationalisation, India is nurturing future leaders equipped with the skills, knowledge, and cross-cultural competencies necessary to excel in an increasingly interconnected world.

( Author Vinay Swamy is the Country Head of Pearson India. Views expressed here are personal )

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