Economic growth determines the future well-being of society and the long-term growth of gross domestic product (GDP) is primarily determined by productivity which, in turn, determines the skills of the labor force of a nation and relevant skills can be measured by standardized tests of cognitive achievement. Researchers have observed a correlation between overall cognitive skills, also known as a nation’s knowledge capital, and the rate of long-term economic growth. To be more specific, improving the skills of the labor force leads to higher growth rates. Improvements in the quality of education in most European countries, United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Israel, Singapore have generated magnificent magnitudes of long-term benefits. According to WEF (2016), education affects the productivity of a country by increasing the collective ability of the workforce to complete existing assigned tasks faster. The seminal work of Dr. Robert Joseph Barro (28-09-1944-), professor at Harvard University and Dr. Jung Wha Lee (alumnus of Harvard University) established that secondary and higher education is essential to facilitate the transfer of knowledge about new information, products, and technologies created by others and improved enhances a country’s ability to create new knowledge, products, and technologies. Dr Ludger Woesman (01-07-1973-), the world’s foremost German educational economist, has hypothesized that “education is a major determinant of economic growth, employment and income. Ignoring the economic dimension of education would jeopardize the prosperity of future generations, with widespread repercussions on poverty, social exclusion and the sustainability of social security systems. Researchers and educators are of the view that individuals are able to empower them economically mainly through education and that the purpose of higher education is well emancipated according to the doctrines of ontological and epistemological considerations.
It is well postulated by scholars that higher education is an essential force for achieving increased efficiency, innovation and productivity, a sine qua non for rapid socio-economic development. However, when education is interpreted as a tool for economic empowerment, it refers to such university-level education that produces professionals to play a transformational role from conceptualization to implementation of formulated policies and well-defined strategies. framed for the elevation of society from the lower rung of life to the upper rung. echelon of the standard of living and more particularly, such an educational system is capable of producing scientists, medical engineers, accountants, economists, administrators, legal practitioners and specialists in the social sciences with high added value who not only innovate new ideas, methods, and methodologies, but apply them in practical situations in order to achieve results within a specified time frame. Essentially, we are talking about the quality education by which the developing economies of the 18th century became the economically advanced countries and became the benchmark for global practice. There is no short cut approach but a systematic approach to giving the people of a nation a quality education geared towards meeting contemporary needs and in this context India needs to invest significantly in the culture of scientific knowledge, the dissemination of the culture of know-how considering the causal theory of the implementation of policies and strategies formulated by innovative professionals in the respective fields of specialized knowledge. The objective of higher education cannot be to increase the quality of the gross enrollment ratio (GER).
It is pertinent to mention that higher education enrollments have increased by a promising magnitude globally, but learning levels have remained disappointing and many are still lagging behind and the simple argument for this supposition is that socio-economic growth in terms of overall development through poverty reduction depends on the knowledge and skills that people acquire and, of course, not on the number of years that the people of a nation are forced to s sit in a classroom. The relevance of providing quality education is becoming an indisputable doctrine in the 21st century. While emphasizing the development of an education strategy, the World Bank urges member countries to “invest early, invest smart, and invest in learning for all”. The research findings confirm that early learning should be encouraged not only inside but also outside the formal education system. Adolescence is a time of “high learning potential”, but many teenagers leave school at this stage in order to take jobs helping their families or the cost of education becomes a herculean obstacle to maintaining a significant continuity in the pursuit of their studies. acceptable suggestion for policy makers and decision makers to provide second chance and informal learning opportunities or to those who drop out to ensure that all young people can learn relevant, meaningful and meaningful skills to compete in the marketplace work. It was mentioned that achieving results requires investments that prioritize and monitor learning beyond traditional measures such as the number of teachers trained or the number of students enrolled, but quality must be at the center of the investments in education, with learning outcomes being the key factor of quality. Resources are limited and the challenges are too great and need to be addressed so that investment in education is effective and not merely effective.
Achieving learning for all is obviously a tall order for a country as populous as India, but perhaps it has no substitute in the coming fourth decade because quality education is a strength of the most powerful to boost employability, productivity, good health and economic well-being in the decades to come and this would help ensure that India as a nation is elevated to third place or even the second of the “fifth position in the world-2022 ranking list” of economically advanced nations across the world. It should be noted that the first forms of written communication date back to around 3500-3000 BCE, education remained for centuries a very restricted phenomenon closely associated with the exercise of power and women were largely excluded For centuries. It was not until the Middle Ages that book production began to grow and the education of the general population slowly began to become important in the Western world. It should be noted that while the ambition of universal literacy in Europe took hold as a fundamental reform, it took centuries to be elevated to the present century. Even in the first industrialized countries, it was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that literacy rates approached universality. The wealth of a society can only increase if the economy becomes more productive, and a more productive economy can support both higher wages and higher profits, as well as shorter working weeks and better quality of life.
Therefore, the theoretical question of how to increase productivity must be central to fostering economic development. Productivity increases with investments in infrastructure and skilled labor and investments in education that increase educational attainment are likely to boost efficiency which leads to productivity which in turn generates a sustainable GDP. Based on this argument, it can be hypothesized that investment in education contributes to the perpetual cause of the well-being of the nation. At this point, it may seem logical that increasing GDP and increasing the nation’s economic well-being are not synonymous until there is an effort to march towards an egalitarian society. There are hundreds of examples, results of empirical research, showing that the 80:20 doctrine of Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) is widespread in almost all societies and that it ensures biased socio-economic development. States should invite Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the middle education sector so that access to quality education and related supports on win-win situational terms and perhaps the NEP 2020 model can be an enabler of this feature. What India needs is a workforce that is equipped with cognitive skills and expertise that promotes efficiency and productivity in the business environment. Investment in the accumulation of human capital attributed to cognitive knowledge should be the basic criterion. Quality enables people to help themselves and, in turn, helps improve the transparency of governance.
It can be concluded that the cognitive skills of the population and no longer the duration of schooling is the pivot of long-term economic growth. The relationship between skills and GDP growth has proven to be a robust correlation in much empirical research. The focus on human capital as the engine of economic growth for developing countries is perhaps the guiding principle of policy makers. Professor Eric Alan Hanushek (1943-2022), an MIT, Sloan alumni and notable economists subscribed to the hypothesis that developing countries would struggle to improve their long-term economic performance without improving the quality of school, and education spending is a global priority. . Hanushek’s doctrine of quality education for economic growth is also applicable to India and it is the need of the hour to commit heavy investment in imparting quality education with a cognitive characteristic to bring about economic development and regulators must monitor the process of cultivating and spreading quality education. to the young generation of today so that this result can be seen in the decades to come.
(The author is an educator and former acting vice-chancellor, SMVD University, J&K)