Asserting that the orientation of the world economy is changing from a manufacturing dominated to a knowledge-based one in the 21st century, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Friday said the emergence of India as a service-based, knowledge driven economy has added fresh impetus to the necessity of enhancing and upgrading our human capital.
Addressing the 63RD Annual Convocation of Karnataka University, Dharwad, he said: "This would be essential to meet the needs of a modern, globally competitive economy, to sustain rapid economic growth, promote international competitiveness, and at the same time meet the rising expectations of our youth in terms of employment and skills."
Quoting the relevant lines as stated in the 12th Five Year Plan, Vice President Ansari said: "Higher education is critical for developing a modern economy, a just society and a vibrant polity. It equips young people with skills relevant for the labour market and the opportunity for social mobility. It provides people already in employment with skills to negotiate rapidly evolving career requirements. It prepares all to be responsible citizens who value a democratic and pluralistic society."
"Thus, the nation creates an intellectual repository of human capital to meet the country's needs and shapes its future. Indeed, higher education is the principal site at which our national goals, developmental priorities and civic values can be examined and refined," he added.
Vice President Ansari said the 12th Five Year Plan recognizes that the challenge before us is to find a fine balance between access with affordability and ensuring high-quality education.
"In this regard, besides suggesting the raising of percentage of GDP devoted to higher education from 1.22 percent to 1.50 percent, it proposes several initiatives around six focus areas to address the challenges: expansion - augmenting capacity in existing institutions; equity - creating targeted schemes for SC,s STs, OBCs, women and minority communities and also covering the backward areas; excellence - building excellence through research and innovation, faculty development, and internationalization; governance- enhancing institutional autonomy and transparency; funding- increasing public and private funding and linking them to outcomes; implementation and monitoring - improving co-ordination across ministries and agencies," Vice President Ansari said.
"The Plan's emphasis is on "excellence" in higher education system. This can only be achieved by prescribing and enforcing stringent standards for teaching, examination, and research. If we are to compete globally, we must adopt global standards in our universities and research institutions. The reports about a good percentage of university and technical graduates being "unemployable" are disturbing and must be rectified without delay. Similarly, the skills creation that we have embarked upon has to conform to global standards and the contemporary requirements of our economy," he added.
Vice President Ansari further said India has the advantage of a young population.
"Economists and forecasters of eminence have described this as 'demographic dividend' that will give us as a people a competitive edge in global competition. For this to be availed of, quality and performance is an essential pre-requisite. Otherwise, the dividend could become a burden with unpleasant consequences for society," he added. (ANI)