Co-creation over competition
‘People development’ approach can be the method for safeguarding national interest and facilitating the emergence of a ‘New India’
India is undergoing a significant transition from being viewed as a marketplace for the global business community to becoming a strategic partner for driving global economic growth. It has been pointed out by the International Monetary Fund and many other global experts and leaders. This is a significant change and it offers enormous opportunity for India. To capitalise on this historic opportunity, India should be talent ready. The global focus on a balanced education comprising of sports, co-curricular activity, and creating a collaborative Learning System will play a significant role in shaping the world of tomorrow. The transformation of education from institutions of getting degrees to centres of collaborative education will change the way we learn today. Businesses no longer see any correlation between academic performance and workplace outcomes. The degree is fast losing its relevance as the definition of education credential changes and shelf life of skills and competency shrinks. Scoring of marks and ranks is no guarantee for success. Business and industry would prefer to recruit a guy who is exposed to a variety of experiences, taken part in sports, understanding of culture, and geopolitical awareness instead of hiring one who has exposure to academics alone.
Excellence comes from long-term investment in research and futuristic planning. India has 563 million young people from 10 to 35 years of age. This population will be either an asset or a liability depending on our policy and priority on developing the human resource capability in India. NASCOM's Education Competitiveness Index Report has pointed out that among the degree holders close to 40 per cent men and 70 per cent women possess a degree but no skill, and the worst fact is that they have very low social skills and creative ability.
The present system is a legacy of the colonial era that focuses on passing exams and scoring marks to get a degree rather than building a culture of meritocracy. It follows an outdated pedagogy, focusing on passing exams and scoring marks rather than a holistic development of our youth for nation-building. We spend 2.5 lakh crore under the right to education act but produce a very little result. Most Indian state governments are neither capable nor interested in human resource development. This has led to complete neglect of development of human capital. According to AICTE, more than 60 per cent of the 8 lakh engineering graduates from technical institutions across the country every year remain unemployed. Less than 1 per cent of engineering students participate in the summer internship and just 15 per cent of engineering programmes are offered over 3,200 institutions which are accredited by the NBA. According to ASSOCHAM report, we have more than 5000 management institutes in India and 97 per cent of pass-outs from these institutes are not of employable quality. All these ultimately add up and hamper economic growth.
India spends 0.6 of its GDP on innovation whereas countries like Israel spend 5 per cent of its GDP on innovation. All nations with a focus on people development like Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are all moving towards education model based on creating a culture of cooperation and co-creation rather than competition alone.
Finland has made learning more activity based and enjoyable, it's mandatory to provide play time for learners at every forty-five-minute interval. It has introduced activities at school for children to have fun. In Japan teachers also focus on counselling and co-curricular activities. According to World Economic Forum, the Netherlands is ranked among the top countries in teenager Happiness index as it has created a collaborative culture and 86 per cent of Dutch youth feel they have helpful and kind classmates – among the highest in the world. The Dutch youth has the lowest levels of school work pressure in Europe, the Netherlands has made it easy to switch between academic or vocational education and to retake a year if needed.
Lack of unstructured time and play time for kids in school is leading to a decline in the social quotient, emotional intelligence, analytical ability, and creativity. Sports would provide leadership skills that can play a vital role in building great careers. Creating a sporting culture and activity-centric learning system will address the declining levels of Physical fitness, negative impact on Mental Health, and lack of interpersonal skills and Social Intelligence. Sports is a great way in enabling the youth to learn confidence, commitment, endurance, character, and discipline. It will make them more active, build a culture of discipline and patriotism. Sports and co-curricular will enable them to develop thinking- analysing ability and help them learn the application of knowledge, thus adding real value to the learning. The emotional and social pleasure on scores and rank leads to a negative effect on their self-esteem, following the wrong role models. One research last year has pointed out to a trend of stress and emotional disorder among the youth at a very early age. The lack of fitness at a young age will negatively impact our Human Quality.
Rabindranath Tagore and Swami Vivekananda had said that we need to evolve our own education system based on our national needs for nation-building. Mr SonamWangchuk (the 2018 Magsaysay award winner from Ladakh) has set an example of how to achieve this and it needs to be emulated by policy planners. India should move forward by adopting a national education curriculum that focuses on making the youth aware of our ancient civilisation, our history, and the need to protect the ecology and environment. Sports and basic military training should be a mandatory part of education journey as it has been done in Israel. This will help to inculcate a habit of discipline and enable them to be successful in their careers and lives. We need people with pride in India, who understand the nation's strategic interest. The capabilities required to create leaders of tomorrow will require a very different approach to human resource development as compared to the system that we have today.
India is a cradle of civilisation which has given the world some of the greatest institutions of learning - Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura, and Odantapuri, to name a few. They comprised the ancient university system that dominated the world for 1,800 years beginning in sixth century BC. They were magnets for the finest minds and scholars in the world and playing a vital role in the evolution of Indian National State. Chanakya'sArthashastra, an authoritative text on state-craft was also written during this period.
Knowledge is fundamental to the human experience of life. If people lead healthy, happy, and productive lives, they will be able to develop our nation. The present system is creating a mass of poorly educated and unhealthy youth who are not equipped to manage our business or lead our governance system. We need to develop a culture of quality, discipline, and fitness among our people, especially the youth. Our People Development approach can be our strategic tool for safeguarding our national interest and emergence of a New India. Addressing the challenges to transform our young generation from an apparent liability to an exceptional asset will enable us to take advantage of the demographic dividend.
(The author of "Leadership Excellence Principals my Father Followed", Anirban R Banerjee is an expert in organisational leadership development. The views expressed are strictly personal )