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Focus on tertiary education

Tertiary Education

CHENNAI: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in a recent report about education indicators, has predicted that India and China would account for 40 per cent of all young people with a tertiary education in G20 and OECD countries by 2020. Of the 40 per cent graduates, China will contribute 29 per cent and India, 12 per cent.

A decade ago, one in six 25-34 year-olds with a tertiary degree was from the United States, and a similar proportion was from China and about 10 per cent each were from Japan and India.

By 2010, these same countries still possessed the largest shares of young people with a tertiary degree – but in a very different order.
According to estimates, China was leading the pack, accounting for 18 per cent, followed by the US with 14 per cent and India, 11 per cent.
Commenting on the OECD report, Mr Lakshmi Narayanan, vice-chairman, Cognizant, and chairman, ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu, said we should realise that it is not just tertiary education and the number of students in that segment that are important.

The number of skilled people, who have formally trained in known vocations and have a path to higher education, is equally important, besides more researchers (Ph.Ds).

To a question whether there are enough jobs for the increasing number of qualified people, Mr Narayanan said, yes, but only if you look at the global scenario.

Based on the figures cited in the OECD report, it is conceivable to imagine that about a third of the Indian workforce is engaged in a global nature of work – working either from India or elsewhere.

Pointing out that there were several reasons why China’s number stood at 29 per cent, compared to India’s 12 per cent, VIT University chancellor, Dr G. Viswanathan, said for a long time the Indian government had restricted access to higher education for needy students.

“We never expanded our higher education based on needs. Take for example the situation in arts and science colleges in Delhi, one lakh students apply for 50,000 seats. You can have scarcity for water, cooking gas and even petrol, but not for college seats,” he remarked.

Dr Viswanathan added that India could catch up with China only if the government allows expansion both in government and private sectors.
“We should emulate the United States of America where they provide seats to all those who aspire to pursue higher education,” he said.

Deccan Chronicle, 31 July 2012


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