“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” - Nelson Mandela

Most of us professionals take education, and the education system we have experienced, for granted. Equally, most professionals when asked would tell you that they have completed high school and gone on to further education. ‘A stunning 70% in India have no more than a primary education,’ a statistic published in the Economist this week. Reportedly, China has a much lower percentage, at 35% not completing primary schooling. Interestingly, predictions on the world’s economy indicate that both China and India will contribute ‘184m college graduates to the global labor market,’ over the next 20 years, according to the Economist.

In the same way, we could expect to see a global shift in the next few decades with regards to India, and we could expect to see India as the hub of human resources with a wealth of options for global talent. In order for this to happen and predictions to come into fruition, India must first deal with one of its main social issues, the issue of education. Moreover, India not only has a large percentage of its population being under-educated, but more specifically, women’s education in India is grossly neglected in comparison to their male counterparts.

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” - Brigham Young  

While many of us would view the famous Young quote as an outdated concept--presenting women in the domestic role of rearing children and connoting that the purpose of educating women is to subsequently educate offspring. However, one could argue that the sentiment of this statement still maintains relevance in some emerging economies.

The poverty levels which are still high in India, and which affect a large proportion of Indian families, subsequently determines the amount of time children within these families can spend focusing on their schooling. Most deprived families will at some point require their children to abandon their education, and contribute to the income of the household, and this is simply a matter of survival.

Therefore, through promoting the education of women in general, the parent primarily responsible for the nurture of children in most Indian households, you are moreover promoting the education of the entire household. Equally, statistics indicate that training the head of the household in an industrial skill, benefits the entire family, as that skill can then be retaught to the children, and most often this type of education is more beneficial to the working classes, especially at the moment, when India is in a new Industrial era.

Overall, it seems clear that education is still a pressing issue in India, despite the countries massive strides forward in terms of economy in the last few decades. In recent months India has had economic pressures and set-backs, however expert predictions indicate India’s economy will continue to develop and grow, due to its overwhelming labor force, over the next few decades. It will be interesting to monitor the progress on education through these developments, and to analyze any changes which are made to the current system.

This article was written by Helen Langley of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

The AESC has over 150 executive recruiters located throughout India, all with access to your BlueSteps career profile and CV.

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