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Empowering the Enterprise of Education in a Globalized Economy

Empowering the enterprise

Empowering the Enterprise of Education in a Globalized Economy

Date: 30/11/2016 | Posted by: MeritTrac | Category: General


A recruitment drive at Uttar Pradesh Government Secretariat for filling 368 peon positions in late 2015 had 2.3 million applications. i.e ~ 63,000 applications per position. Of this 150,000 applicants where graduates, another 25,000 post graduates and according to official sources there were 250 applications from PhD holders as well![1]

Over the last many decades we have had considerable success in providing basic education to all. As per UNESCO Institute of Statistics’ records in 2013, the global adult literacy rate was 84.1 percent[2]. However, global tertiary enrollment for both gender put together was only 33 percent[3] for the same year. It is evident that we have been focusing on getting more people to read and write. But are we doing enough to get more people take up skills during their teenage years? Are we making more people employable?

Scale and access to quality higher education have always been a challenge. While we have over the years had reasonable success in addressing this, today the reality is that countries including India, have high unemployment rate among educated youth. As per India’s 2011 Census[4], 15% of all Indians with highest levels of education were seeking job. Kerala, God’s own country, which has a near 100 percent literacy rate, had a graduate unemployment of over 30 percent.

Why is this? Is it because there aren’t enough jobs to absorb graduates? Or is it because the graduates are not fit for employment? Reality is that we have been teaching today’s generation with curriculum of yester years for future jobs that are yet to be created.

What is needed for Education industry to address this reality?

The present decade and the next is projected to have high economic growth for Asia and parts of Africa. One of the major assets driving this growth is demographics. We are in surplus of working population while most of the world is aging. This is a critical driver for transnational education. Education SEZs are today available in key geographies such as Middle East and South Asia. Regional Governments have made favorable policies to welcome renowned educational institutions to set up branch campuses. The award programs are recognized and accepted for employment in their home countries. This is driving movement of skilled resources between developing and developed nations such as USA, Australia, UK and Canada.

The efforts are not limited to formal education alone. Germany[5] in 2013 had a project to train Indian nurses for its hospitals. In more recent times, Indian Government has launched a formal scheme to send skilled youth to Middle East. Government of India has also completed a pilot initiative to certifying the skills acquired by workers in the unorganized sectors through traditional, non-formal learning channels[6].

Technology has disrupted our lives in many ways than others in the last decade. It has truly been a transformation agent to provide access to quality education to the masses. Basic handset, many without internet capability, dominate eLearning efforts in Africa[7]. MOOCs such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, FutureLearn, NovoEd are democratising learning for individuals and enterprises. Captive knowledge bounded by geographical limitations are available today to anyone with a basic computer and internet connection.

The focus on skill & employment aided by technology has reinvigorated the education enterprise. Global benchmarks on skill, assessments to identify candidates by job roles, learning from the world’s best anywhere anytime are a reality.

Education industry is witnessing a radical shift in mind-set. It is universal and democratic. The private participation in the industry has grown tremendously over the years. It is estimated that the Global education market was $5.4 Trillion[8] in 2015. The industry attracted close to $2 Bn in VC funding globally in 2014[9]. According to VC Edge[10], a research platform for the Indian investment ecosystem, the angel, private equity and venture capital deals in the education sector rose from 27 (valued at $187 million) in 2010 to 49 ($248 million) in 2014. In 2015, there were 51 deals valued at $155 million. The EdTech space in India has already seen 17 deals worth $81 Mn in the first half of 2016[11].

Companies are investing in improving learner experience – be it digital or non-digital. They are investing in identifying the right talent for existing and emerging skills. Identifying the best of the lot for hiring is critical to execution of business strategy. Promoting the right person is important for enterprises. Possessing that ‘new-skill’ is important for career growth. Enabling learning through programming environments, simulations, webinars, live-learning are new norms. The realization is there among learners, enterprises & government. This is good news for our industry.

Other stakeholders are rising up to the occasion as well. Years ago, it was difficult to get loan to fund education – who will assure the EMIs? Today there are private banks, peer-2-peer lenders and private lenders in the market who are happily investing in learners and their dreams. Governments world over are investing in skill. Special Economic Zones for education are available. Dubai & Malaysia are key destinations for transnational education. Others have similar aspirations as well. Companies from adjacent areas – Publishing, Career Portals are entering the education industry. Today, companies from non-related industries – IT industry, Social Media & Technology are key movers in the education industry. All of them are bringing in their best practices & internal strengths and often leveraging existing players to create more business opportunities & value for the end-learner.

There is always more that we should do – because learning never stops. We need more investment in technology & research. Learning experience is emerging as a key value differentiator. Imagine a chemistry lab or an operation theatre in an augmented environment. Imagine creating a physical laboratory through 3D printing. Virtual Learning is a reality in rural India. They are no longer matters of fiction. The applications of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Block-chain in education space are limitless and they are exciting.

In India the largest spend in CSR activities is in Education & Skill[12]. The rapid changes in the market and emergence of new skills demand investment in skill. The competitive nature of businesses require that we use a scientific approach to hiring and assessment.

Governments around the world are already facilitating this new reality. In USA there is a synergy between online learning & formal education[13]. India has launched SWAYAM project to extend formal academic credits to online courses. Where the Government could do better is in measure and auditing the successes of public initiatives. Often mundane bureaucracy kills the buzz. Transparency, favourable tax structure and quick payment process will allow the industry to focus where its attention is required most – to serve the learners.

“Education is our passport to our future. Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepares for it today”[14]

RAVI PANCHANADAN, CEO, MeritTrac Services and CEO & Member of the Board, Manipal Global (Middle East, Africa & South East Asia) recently shared his views on the emerging education landscape at the inaugural session of 7th World Education Summit at New Delhi. The above is an excerpt from the session.

Source:

  • hindustantimes.com
  • uis.unesco.org
  • data.worldbank.org
  • thehindu.com
  • indianexpress.com
  • timeshighereducation.com
  • startupgrind.com
  • startupgrind.com
  • knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
  • yourstory.com
  • livemint.com
  • usnews.com
  • Quote from Malcom X