Letter from the Editor
With this unprecedented 120-page issue, EducationWorld completes eight years of uninterrupted publishing. The stimulus behind the promotion of EW on the eve of the new millennium with the articulated mission of "building the pressure of public opinion to make education the No.1 item on the national agenda", was my Pauline conversion to the cause of equal education opportunity for all.
Until I was struck with the blinding awareness that 52 years after independence the prime factor behind Indiaâ€™s perpetual also-ran status was the neglect and disrepair of the countryâ€™s education system â€” especially its public education system â€” I believe I enjoyed a fair measure of success in turning the tide of public opinion against post-independence Indiaâ€™s public sector dominated, Soviet-style centrally planned economic development model as the first editor of Indiaâ€™s first two business magazines. At that time, I believed that the prime cause of Indiaâ€™s poverty and backwardness was its retrograde socialist development model. In 1999, I became acutely aware â€” and even more so now â€” that the prerequisite of 21st century India realising its potential of becoming an equitable first world nation, is radical transformation and upgradation of the countryâ€™s education system, ruined by excessive government interference and micro-management.
Since then although like most start-ups we experienced the proud manâ€™s contumely, the lawâ€™s delay and many spurns, the eighth anniversary of uninterrupted publication â€” a milestone attained only with the patient assistance of our partner investors notably Shyama Thakore, the Manipal Education Group and the Knowledge Universe Learning Group â€” is an appropriate occasion to audit the modest achievements of this path-breaking, pioneer publication.
For one, perhaps coincidentally, education of the nationâ€™s children and youth hitherto regarded a Malthusian nightmare but imperceptibly and miraculously transformed into a high-potential demographic dividend, has steadily moved higher up on the national agenda. Proof of this development was provided by prime minister Manmohan Singhâ€™s Independence Day address to the nation, when he became perhaps the first prime minister in Indian history to make more than a ritual, cursory mention of education from a major public platform. How to fund and manage the imminent makeover of Indian education is the subject matter of our cover story in this issue.
The steady progress of education on the government development agenda apart, perhaps a greater cause for satisfaction is that private sector education providers, NGOs and the citizenry countrywide have seen the light and are exhibiting great enthusiasm for promoting education institutions, improving teaching-learning standards and measuring learning outcomes. In my travels across the subcontinent to participate in seminars and workshops, I have witnessed unprecedented enthusiasm for new pedagogies, ideation and education reform.
Perhaps my only disappointment is that India Inc â€” of whom I was the first media champion â€” which is the prime â€˜consumerâ€™ of educated and skilled youth, is insufficiently engaged with Indian education. Active engagement of industry with education â€” especially with universities â€” is the secret of Americaâ€™s success. Indian industry which is currently suffering an unprecedented shortage of well-educated and skilled personnel, needs to learn from, and replicate this engagement â€” in its own interest.