During the last century, the world underwent a
change from agriculture society, where manual labour was the critical factor,
to industrial society where the management of technology, capital and labour
provided the competitive advantage. Then the information era was
born, where connectivity and software products drove a part of the economy of a
few nations including India. In the 21st century, a new society is
emerging where knowledge is the primary production resource instead of capital
and labour, which we call as the knowledge society.
Knowledge, efficiently utilized, can create
comprehensive wealth for the nations and can improve the quality of life – in
the form of better health, education, infrastructure and other social indicators.
Ability to create and maintain the knowledge infrastructure, develop knowledge
workers and enhance their productivity through creation, growth and
exploitation of new knowledge will be the key factors in deciding the
prosperity of this Knowledge Society. Whether a nation has arrived at the
state of knowledge society is judged by the way the country effectively deals
with knowledge creation and knowledge deployment in all sectors like IT,
Industries, Agriculture, Health Care etc.,
As we are
crossing the information society and leading to knowledge society, irrespective
of rural or urban area, distance will be shortened using information
technology. In such a situation an electronic connectivity should emerge
between the various State and Central Government Departments for fully
committed transparent administration. A networked database with real time
updated data exchange will ensure speedy service to the people under one roof
for all their government/non-government service requirement.
Only knowledge connectivity can take development
to the nooks and corners of India. The knowledge grid would have an impact on
removing illiteracy, upgrading educational system at various levels. The grid
is not just an inter-connection of computers but also an integration of
scientific minds and their tools in a virtual environment.
The whole purpose of education in a country is to develop and enhance
the potential of our human resource and progressively transform it into a
Knowledge Society. Societal transformation and economic growth are interlinked.
A knowledge Society enriches an Information Society through innovation. An
Information Society enriches agriculture and manufacturing through value
addition. The Knowledge Society will be a society producing products and
services that are rich in both explicit and tacit knowledge, thus creating
value added products. The real capital of this Knowledge Society will be its
knowledge components. The society will be highly networked to create a knowledge
intensive environment along with enabling process to efficiently create, share,
use and protect knowledge.
Our education system should re-align itself at the earliest to meet
the needs of present day challenges and be fully geared to participate in
societal transformation through innovation, which is the key to
competitiveness. It should also develop a global outlook. India has many strengths.
It has to reach out and make our individuals and institution capable of
succeeding in a competitive world.
Dimensions of Knowledge Society
The dimensions of a Knowledge Society are different from the industrial
economy. In the knowledge economy the objective of a society changes from fulfilling
the basic needs of all-round development to empowerment. Instead of going by
text book, teaching will be promoted by creative, interactive self learning, formal
and informal with focus on values, merit and quality. The workers instead of
being skilled or semi-skilled will be knowledgeable, self-empowered and
flexibly skilled and would adapt to newer technologies seamlessly. The type of
work instead of being structured and hardware driven will be less structured
and software driven. Management style will emphasize more on delegation rather
than giving command. Impact on environment and ecology will be strikingly less
compared to the industrial economy.
Knowledge Society Components
Knowledge Society has two very important components driven by societal
transformation and wealth generation. Societal transformation is on in education,
healthcare, agriculture and governance. These will lead to employment
generation, high productivity and rural prosperity.
Wealth generation is a very important task for the nation, which has
to be woven around national competencies such as Information Technology,
bio-technology, space technology, weather forecasting, disaster management,
tele-medicine and tele-education, technologies to produce native knowledge
products, service sector and Infotainment. These technologies and management
structures have to work together to generate knowledge society.
Evolution of policy and administrative procedures, changes in
regulatory methods, identification of partners and most importantly creation of
young and dynamic leaders are the components to be in place. In order to
generate wealth, which is the second component for establishing a knowledge
society, it is essential that simultaneously a citizen-centric approach to
evolution of business policy, user-driven technology generation and intensified
industry-lab academy linkages have also to be established in India.
The systematic process of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling
and presenting information, improves an employee’s comprehension in a specific
area of interest.
Knowledge management helps an organization to gain insight and
understanding from its own experience. Specific knowledge management activities
help focus the organization on acquiring, storing and utilizing knowledge for
problem solving, dynamic learning, strategic planning and decision making. It
also prevents intellectual assets from decay, adds to firm intelligence and
provides increased flexibility.
Knowledge creation has two dimensions, one is explicit knowledge and
the other one is implicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge comes from published
books, written materials, proceedings, presentations etc., whereas the implicit
knowledge is derived through the systematic observation and capturing of data
from the tacit knowledge available among the individuals in the organization,
through their approach to problem solving, bottle-neck removal, goals setting,
interactions etc. We need a systematic mechanism to capture this knowledge to
make the organization a truly learning organization, which makes use of
existing knowledge efficiently.
The digital library is an important component for capturing the
explicit knowledge. This has to be supplemented with implicit knowledge to the
digital library system, which will eventually get transformed into a knowledge
Hence the modern economy will be knowledge and skill driven and not by
established industries. There will be continuous innovation and enterprise. To
realize this, special capacity needs to be built in education and nurtured
among students. The capacities which are required to be built are research and
enquiry, creativity and innovation, use of high technology, entrepreneurial and
Research and enquiry: The
21st century is about the management of all knowledge and information we have
generated and the value addition we bring to it. We must give our students the
skills with which they find a way through the sea of knowledge that we have created
and continue with life long learning. Today, we have the ability, through
technology, to really and truly teach ourselves to become life-long learners.
This is required for sustained economic development
Creativity and innovation: The management of knowledge is beyond the capacity of a single
individual. The amount of information that we have around is overwhelming. The
management of knowledge therefore must move out of the realm of the individual
and shift into the realm of networked groups. Students must learn how to manage
knowledge collectively. As predicted by Metcalfe’s law, when the information is
networked the power and utility of the information grows as squared. Information
that is static does not grow. In the new digital economy information that is
circulated creates innovation and contributes to national wealth.
Capacity to use high technology: Every student in our schools should learn to know
how to use latest technologies for aiding their learning process. Universities
should furnish themselves with adequate computing equipment, laboratory
equipments, and Internet facilities and provide an environment for students to
enhance their learning ability. In the midst of all of the technological
innovations and revolutions we cannot think that the role of the teachers will
be diminished. In fact the teacher will become even more important and the
whole world of education will become teacher assisted and would help in ‘tele-porting’, the best
teacher to every nook and corner of the world and propagate knowledge.
Orientation for entrepreneurship has to start right form the
schools. Teachers need to teach the role of entrepreneurship on national
development in the schools. During college education, the students must be
exposed to business development opportunities and must be trained towards
creation of new enterprises. Parents should encourage their children to take up
new ventures after their education. We should cultivate a mind set that “Idea
is wealth”. Government must create a facilitating environment for provision of
venture capital for innovative ideas without collateral security. Universities,
Engineering and Management institutions should work with banks and other
funding agencies towards simplifying the procedures and working with the
entrepreneurs till the project becomes self-sustaining and viable. The
procedures in the Government should facilitate the spotting and recognition of
new Indian talents and small entrepreneurs by creating a level playing filed
for healthy competition. Citizens who can afford could turn themselves into
angel investors or start venture capital organizations to fund such ventures.
Big and small industries need to have a mind to encourage and partner with
Moral leadership: Moral
leadership involves two aspects. First it requires the ability to have compelling
and powerful dreams or visions of human betterment. Moral leadership requires a
disposition to do the right thing and influence others also to do right things.
have been, I have seen that people definitely want to live in a prosperous
India. In the rural area when I visited primary schools, they wanted high
schools, when I visited High Schools they wanted Colleges, when I visited
Colleges they wanted Professional Colleges. The right type of higher
education has become an essentiality from both the students’ and parents’
points of view.
A Developed India is becoming a
Education in its real sense is
the pursuit of truth. It is an endless journey through knowledge and
enlightenment. Such a journey opens up new vistas of development of
humanism where there is no
scope nor room for pettiness, disharmony, jealousy, hatred or enmity. It
transforms a human being into a wholesome whole, a noble soul and an asset to the
Universe. Real education enhances the dignity of a human being and increases
his or her selfrespect. If only the real sense of education could be realized
by each individual, and carried forward in every field of human activity, the
world will be so much a better place to live in. Education is a continuous
process, empowering young citizens, thereby enriching nations and their
Human Resources Cadre
Presently our university
education system is contributing 3 million graduates and post graduates every
year and the students seeking employment after completion of 10th class and
10+2 class are around 7 million per year. Thus nearly 10 million youth are
injected into the employment market every year. In the 21st century, India
needs large number of talented youth with higher education for the task of knowledge
acquisition, knowledge imparting, knowledge creation and knowledge sharing. At
present India has five hundred and forty million youth under the age of 25.
This will continuously be growing till the year 2050. Keeping this resource in mind, the Universities and educational systems should create two cadres of personnel: (1) a global cadre of skilled youth with specific knowledge of special skills (2) another global cadre of youth with higher education. These two cadres will be required not only for powering the manufacturing and services sector of India but also will be needed for fulfilling the human resource requirements of various countries. Thus, the universities and secondary school education system will have to work towards increasing the through put of the higher education system from the existing 11% to 20% by the year 2015, 30% by the year 2020 and 50% by the year 2040. The other Indians who are not covered by the higher education system should all have world class skill sets in areas such as construction, carpentry, electrical systems, repair of mechanical systems, fashion design, para-legal, para-medical, accountancy, sales and marketing, software and hardware maintenance and service, software quality assurance to name a few. No Indian youth should be without either a world class higher education or without world class skill sets. This is an important task in which all universities, academic specialists, colleges, vocational training institutions, certification agencies, banking systems and industrial enterprises can contribute in terms of assessing correct numbers, designing courses related to nation building tasks, assessing and providing infrastructural requirement, improving the quality of teachers, ensuring teachers-students ratio, complimenting the class room education with virtual class rooms through tee-education and above all ensuring that the students are able to face international competition in employable skills. Systems must be designed in such a way that no aspiring competent student should be denied quality education. The system of education must be able to maintain the required output quality. These are examples of what the Government have to do to give the enabling environment and how those who operate education systems have to give to our youth. Then, our youth can give their knowledge skills in making the nation prosperous.