This is the century of “global economic land-grab”. Adam Smith will belong more to 21st century than to 20th century. Look at history. Marco Polo, Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan discovered new shores (China, Americas, India, Brazil) from the 13th to the 16th centuries. The lure of trade led to an era of colonization led by The British Empire. The Declaration of Independence in 1776 by United States of America started the process of reversals and new Nation States were being born for the next two centuries. The 20th century saw Germany unite, USSR divide and capitalism win. Paranoia of Y2K created an offshoring revolution and embedded seeds of a flat world. New global balance of “competitive advantage” led first by manufacturing sector and later by services sector is omnipresent.
Globalization has created a momentum which is re-allocating work around the world. China won the manufacturing round and India is winning the services round. In India, the Metro cities won the first wave of new jobs. IT/ITES sectors created nearly 2 crore new direct jobs! Financial Services and Retail are following the trend. In wave two, new jobs will go to Tier II towns will all benefit. Economic prosperity will be redistributed. The “Small Towns” are set-up for a bonanza. But are they ready?
Alas! Our education system may let us down. We are graduating students, not a workforce. India has over 2.6 crore unemployed graduates. Can we put them to work? Yes, but it requires hard work. Young people must realize that the curse of three As: Angrezi, Aptitude and Attitude. The lack of them is a recipe for disaster. Youth should not wait to graduate and find that they are unemployable. They must take pro-active steps.
India has had a knowledge-based education system for centuries but now the youth of India must quickly embrace skills and employability-oriented education to reap the benefits of ensuing job influx.
Interestingly and thankfully, the government of India also seems to be wakening up to the call of the hour and has embarked on the herculean task of overhauling the ageing education system. The government has mooted out 7 new bills and legislations which are at different stages of proposal and execution. The Indian government has never shown a greater sense of urgency to address the endemic problems of Education; the critics say the government is probably doing too much in haste and not building enough consensus on the reforms. Industrialization, Globalization and now Digitization has dramatically changed the way the world works and how growing economic and non-economic activities define jobs and careers.