India as Major Emerging Economy

The latest issue of ‘The Economist’ is special on emerging power and world economy. A graphical presentation of the body count from one of the articles is presented above. Is it not great that on body count India leads even China and all other developed nations too? And that is the potential and strength on which the country can build and compete. However, many have apprehensions about the quality of these students and their employability.

I give a quote from the article: ‘The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that only one-tenth of engineering graduates in China and one-quarter in India would meet the standards expected by big American firms.’ It may be true today. But the whole lot of administration of the institutions, educationists and the industry are aware of this weakness of our education and working to improve it. For institutions, improvement to the world class only will decide their survival. The forthcoming FDI in education will provide another boost to the quality of the country’s human resources.

The shortage of good teachers is critical. However, it is heartening that many from industry are willing to play the double role of teacher cum executive. Recently former CEO and mentor of Infosys expressed his wishes to work as teacher. There must be many with similar wishes. I wish the institutes could exploit that potential to take care of the shortage of quality of teachers. It will improve better interactions with the industry too that the institutes intend to serve. The government must also encourage. Successful practitioners of technology and knowledge in industry must turn teachers. While institutes must be open to the offers, the CEOs must encourage the employees interested in teaching and facilitate the system to make them go to the institutes and help effectively in improving the standard of teaching and researches.

‘A report by the World Bank also points out that a large share of engineering graduates in China and India become civil and electrical engineers, needed for the boom in domestic construction. There are not enough engineers and scientists to produce high-tech goods across the board.’ The curriculums must emphasise on the innovation of technology. I remember something from our days of IIT, Kharagpur. In the final year of Mechanical engineering batch, the best students were offered production engineering under Prof. R.Misra as special specialization. Machine design, mechanical handling, hydraulic engineering, and heat power engineering were for the lower rankers based on the scores from the third year. Machine design must come on the top today. The country need more and more of competitive product designers with the cutting edge technologies to come on the top of the industrial nations. The industry must also accordingly appreciate the work of the product innovators and change the compensation and reward system.

I am sure we have the potential to become the largest innovators globally, if we make certain changes in attitude and facilities. But IITs and all our research labs in government or in private enterprises must endeavour to see that the innovators shine and their talents get recognized.

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