Education Needs Intellectual Parachuting and Service Infantrymen – The New Indian Express
Discounting cash flow in corporate finance defines the contours of business valuation and the fundamental concept behind it is the time value of money. The heart of this valuation lies in the undisputed belief that the financial value of an underlying asset is the present value of the future cash flows that the asset can generate. The propensity to generate cash is directly proportional to the potential demand for products and services of the social asset. Likewise, the socio-economic value of a nation is undoubtedly the present value of its future educational achievements.
The enrichment of this value lies in the growing demand for education, especially in populous economies like India. Not only is the Indian demographic dividend a good sign of such value maximization, but it is also the psychographic trend that is best captured by one of my academic colleagues in his characteristic humor – The Demand for Education for children will always be higher in India as housewives. still want their children to be smarter than their husbands and strongly believe that formal education is the solution! It will be an abundance issue that will continue to build an “education as usual” scenario even as we begin to enter the post-pandemic phase.
The demand for all forms of education, its delivery and the end user will shape the global economic outlook in which India’s presence is considerably huge. Although China may become the world’s largest economy by 2050, with a 20% share of the global economy, India will be proud second with almost 15% (based on GDP in PPP). Changing learning outcomes from simple enrollment will also increase the value of this upward economic growth in terms of educational attainment. The main drivers of such added value will be China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil and the United States, which together will account for 80% of global demand for education by 2050.
The organic demand for education with its intrinsic intrinsic value pushes the landscape of educational policies towards unexplored territories which cannot maintain education in a “usual mode” but pass to the “new generation mode”. As India prepares for Next Generation Mode through its NEP 2020, it cannot afford to be a misguided missile but a mission-driven plan that preserves the core value of education which is not swept away by strong tides of political popularity, for popularity comes without invitation and leaves without farewell.
The UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education, in its recently published Nine Ideas for Public Action in Post-Pandemic Education, has strongly advocated for the preservation of education space socio-physical and the supporting role of digital assets. Education must be the hybrid bridge that connects real-time and digital ecosystems in the emerging “phygital” model. Headlines shouting that the future is online can increase the valuation of EdTech companies at best and deliver marginal value. There is no doubt that there is an inherent value in the “phygitization” of education, but generalizing models of engagement by assuming that online replaces face-to-face jeopardize true education. The convergence of various dimensions that characterize the boundaries of all educational levels makes engagement models interesting for a complex and diverse ecosystem like ours.
To support the next multi-decade demand-driven growth in education, it is imperative to make education policies an instrument of transformation and not an ambitious declaration. The main influencing factors (global trend, regional socio-economy, national regulation and open source innovation) must transcend all levels of school, higher and vocational education.
The greatest danger in the implementation of NEP 2020 is the excessive inflation of the political bubble which will only burst as it rises. Such political bubbles which are inflated by intellectual parachuting must be confused with the infantryman on duty who is rooted in the realities on the ground. A blended approach like this holds the key to uncovering the real value that lies in the hidden stores of the educational edifice of India. We are at the crossroads of a period policy which has an eternal value and to arrive at the current fair value of such a political asset, a phygital edifice blocking the elusive orifices is the need of the hour.