The quality of human capital in India can play a vital role in transforming its economy and overtaking China in growth rate
Every crisis comes with an opportunity. India is now on the cusp of a major transformation that has the potential to make it a world leader. India’s greatest asset is human capital which has the potential to make a difference in the emerging world order. Over 300 million people are part of the country’s skilled domestic workforce.
India today has a diversified pool of quality, ready to meet the needs of an expanding economy. Over the past decade, one million Indian students have continued their studies at universities abroad. This pool will be a great strength for India if we are able to engage with them and show them emerging opportunities. Compared to China, Indian professionals have a better perception of talents and the overall perception of India, according to Pew Research, adds strength in terms of engagement. We need to focus on developing leadership skills right from school.
Our education system revolves around the colonial and socialist era which focuses on creating an educated workforce rather than entrepreneurs and subject matter experts. A major drawback of this ecosystem is its inability to help students learn from chess. The education system has limited flexibility for students to choose their subject combinations from the options available. We need a model of pedagogy that facilitates engagement, the quality of teaching and creates the diversity of pathways and the effectiveness of the capacities for the application of learning. The current model fails to develop self-confidence and independent thinking. The emphasis on book knowledge and the assessment of what children do not know should be replaced by building an understanding of various topics, the ability to integrate and apply the learnings in the form of projects.
We lack worldview and the ability to link macroeconomics and microenterprise strategy. The main areas of deficiency are social skills and the ability to create collaborative networks to expand opportunities.
Economic growth is built on trust, collaboration and capacity. Our education system is essential for creating a social quotient and interpersonal skills to foster collaboration, innovation and change. Our growth depends on our ability to collaborate. Lack of emphasis on the development of social skills, participation in sports and extracurricular activities hamper the ability of young people to interact, have different ideas and gain more self-confidence through such interactions and presentations. . These skills form the core of leadership and business creation for success in other professions as well.
Universities should be developed as centers of excellence with direct support from the Ministry of Human Resources and international partnerships. We need to create the right system of funding and support to develop business and research. The system must promote growth and not be messed up by bureaucracy. India should initiate a national integrated education policy that encourages cultural and social exposure across the country for graduates and graduates from different parts of the country to be exposed to the work being done by their peers in other states and develop a solid understanding of the cultures of different parts of the country. Sports and National Cadet Corps activities should be included in the curriculum.
It is time to create an Indian sovereign wealth fund focused on incubating start-ups and modernizing the education system with an emphasis on the quality of education, research facilities and technological support. Indians can only reach their potential by showing the ease of doing business in Tier 2 cities and the talent pool available there. Each Indian state will need to create the right environment for business expansion and mobility of professionals and students.
India has all it takes to take advantage of the evolving world order in the post-pandemic era with an evolving global economic and geopolitical order. A very positive and significant development has been India receiving nearly $ 82 billion in foreign investment in 2021. The efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former President Donald Trump to take QUAD into action to protect the economic and security interests and the personal efforts of Trump to rename “Asia-Pacific” as “Indo-Pacific” and thus making India the most crucial geo-economic region in the world holds enormous potential which will develop in coming years.
The time has come for India to position itself as a global economic power beyond the label of “market” or “source of cheap talent”. It’s time to embark on a quality-driven One Nation – One HRD initiative.
To paraphrase Swami Vivekananda, we will be remembered for who we are and we have the power to make ourselves what we wish to be.
(The author is a leadership development expert, currently Country Director for India at a global IT company. The opinions expressed are personal.)