For individual development and the progress of a nation education is of paramount importance. Everything else is subservient to education. All the nations, societies and individuals who gained higher education attained higher developmental indices and progress. Against this, those people and nations which remained backward in the field of education remained so in all the rest of the areas of life. Education, therefore, makes all the difference and education and lack of it make or break the prospects of a nation and its people.
In the economy of a country the role of education, likewise, is of immense importance. Where education is valued and developed in accordance with the needs of the time, the economy is doing well and advancing with advancement and modernization of education. All the advanced countries of the world are economically well off because they are educationally well off, their influence on the global scale is directly proportion to their economic growth and impliedly in their education.
At the same time all the underdeveloped and poor countries of the world suffer all kinds of discrimination, exploitation and disgrace on the global scale for the simple reason that they have neglected the education sector and are not making adequate investments in this area. Had they invested adequately the poverty and destitution they are in might have all been a story of the past. They surely would have grown with the developed countries of the world in case their education was proportional to that of the developed countries. Failure on this front kept them, and is keeping them, far away from attaining their national goals.
Current day world is the age of economy. Here the main force that is recognized and acknowledged at all the levels of the human association, including that at the international level, is that of the economic power. Those countries that are economically well off hold all the power and influence in the global institutions and forums. Those whose economy lags behind have almost no influence and suffer disgrace in these institutions. The economically powerful countries safeguard their interests in these institutions and at the cost of the economically underdeveloped and educationally backward.
Those among the underdeveloped nations who have show promising results on the economic front are the ones who have invested adequately in the education sector. Their influence on the global scale has grown fast. As for example, the influence of India in the current world order has improved owing to her fast growth in the recent past, especially after the liberalization, privatization and disinvestment in the last decade of the last century.
The liberalization, privatization and disinvestment was the brainchild of the people in the governance structure who were highly qualified and trained, like the former Prime Minister of the country, Manmohan Singh. This historic decision which changed the fate of the country from an economically backward country to a fast developing one was the result of the education of the people who took the decision.
The realization that dawned upon the people of the country that education has the power to change their fate resulted in India to lay greater emphasis on education. The government made investments in this sector and allowed the private sector to supplement the efforts and activities of the government. Their collective activities paid good dividends and a complete transformation occurred in the educational landscape of the country.
The growth in agriculture and allied sectors, the advancement in technology, the modernization of manufacturing and the emergence of the important service sector as one of the main component of economy were made possible by the emphasis laid on education. In respect of the service sectors, India is one of the highest exporters of service product. There is hardly an advanced country, and many of the developing countries, where Indian professionals, scientists, technicians and other experts are not in demand, and are not working. The presence of these people in the rest of the countries of the world has brought a positive behavioral change towards Indians and India. It has helped in diplomatic front of the country.
Today surplus food is produced in the country and the production has yet not reached to the saturation point. The humongous growth in population is made possible by the level of agricultural development in the country; otherwise it could not have been imagined at one stage of the history of the country that the country could successfully sustain a population of more than one billion. Education in this area was also a game changer; it made the country the second biggest populated country which is heading towards becoming the number one after few decades if the growth in population continues with current pace.
The strides that the country has made in improving the health sector, improving the human development index in respect of many people of the country, improving the economic status of many people, improvements in the information and communication technology and the arrival of the country at the moon and the mars, all are related to the advancement of the country in the education sector.
Literacy rate has grown exponentially during the last few decades and shortly the country may attain the universal primary, secondary and higher education. The country is on course, though the pace is slow in respect of many sections of population. Economy accordingly is growing the masses are gaining a life style and leisure which is by no means inferior to that of the people of the advanced countries of the world.
Pertinently, presenting only the rosy picture of the economy and education will not serve our purpose. The purpose in the real sense can be served if the other side of the story is also taken care of. We know that all is not well with India. There are many ills and evils associated with the Indian governance structure and development. The development is not equilateral and egalitarian. There are few upper sections of the people who have gained much and there are many other who have remained outside the realm of reaping the benefits of the march of the county towards modernization.
India still contains the highest number of poor in the world, the human development indices though have improved a bit but there is still a long way to go, the growth of economy has not prevented many farmers of the country from committing suicides, the suicides of the farmers continue and the pathetic state of the producers of the country is unchanged. They feed others and in the process remain unfed and underfed always. The one reason for all this is the lack of education these people.
The government investments in the education sector though are to some extent adequate but they fail to reach to this unprivileged section of the people. There are many people who are not able to gain quality education and remain backward even when they are educated. The private educational sector is beyond the scope of these people which the poor people of the country cannot afford. Many public conscientious people of the country are impressing upon the leadership to enhance the investment to a satisfactory level as per the requirements of the people and rightly so which needs to be done in all earnestness.
Appreciable increase in the budgetary provisions for education could go a long way to make education and the provision of education universal. Those sections of the population who have not gained the adequate benefits out of education could be provided the benefits and their standards of education could be improved. The need is the will of the government to improve the status of the poor and marginalized in the country and to raise the status of the country in the comity of nations. Some of the human development indices and some of the chronic ills that India faces keep embarrassing the country.
In respect of Kashmir the role of education is immense; it is education and growth in the education sector that can go a long way in easing out the current predicament of the state. The sufferings of the people of Kashmir could be eased out by laying adequate emphasis on education. Unfortunately, though great investments are made by the government and the people of the state but the law and order problems and the lingering dispute has prevented the people and the state to reap all the benefits of education. Somewhere and somehow education needs to be freed from these hurdles to gain all the benefits.
Education they say is the great leveler; it eases out inequalities in wealth and status. And it helps to solve problems and disputed. Lack of it complicates the problems of people and nations. An educated poor person has the greater chances of becoming wealthy and the chances of an illiterate person of losing his wealth also higher.
To ensure equal and egalitarian development of all the races and communities of India, the government requires ensuring universalization of education without losing any more time. In respect to of Kashmir it needs to be done even faster otherwise the predicament in which the state is in could worsen.
Fayaz Ganaie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org