Monday August 19, 2019

‘Africa should take tips from India on higher education’

Africa needs a pragmatic approach to scientific and technical education

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

African countries should take tips from India – by establishing regional institutes of excellence for science and technology, for instance – to provide guaranteed access to higher education to those from poorer backgrounds, a new report has said, adding much was also to be learnt from the manner in which India had leveraged its diaspora.

“Good publicly-funded colleges and universities for higher and technical education are essential, with the state guaranteeing access for poorer sections of society, as in India”, says the report on Innovation, Competitiveness and Regional Integration jointly prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), the Africa Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The report comes at a time when the number of private institutions of higher education are growing across the African continent.

It said the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institute of Science and other similar institutes funded by the union government were the best examples of India‘s public education system, adding that, given the “drawbacks of large-scale privatization of higher education, as the India experience shows, must be taken into account in formulating holistic policies for higher education”.

“Tertiary education should produce people with skills needed for conducting location-specific research, especially in agriculture. A vocational education and training system should be set up that interacts with industry,” the report said adding: “These systems need to be aligned with market needs via private participation, curriculum development, upgraded infrastructure and performance incentives.”

Related article: Indian education: How India made Britain more literate

It said India had no consistent policy framework on innovation until it introduced its comprehensive science, technology and innovation policy in 2013. The need for innovation and a make-do orientation helped India embark on its “frugal innovations”, crafted by a few pioneering individuals rather than by the government at large, the report said.

Accordingly, the report suggested the establishment of regional institutes of excellence for higher education in science and technology to attract the best talent from across Africa with affordable fees. “Institutes of vocational education and training must be established at intra-regional and regional levels”.

“Africa’s approach to science, technology and innovation should be pragmatic. The departure point is to recognize science and technology as the centerpiece throughout, as it develops readiness for technological diffusion (critical in the earlier phases of development, when a country’s innovative capacities are still restricted),” the report added.

It also echoed the need for African countries to tap into their diaspora, stating that India has put in place frameworks to leverage the contribution of its diaspora. “An Africa-wide initiative should tap its diaspora,a adding that, the AU has has designated the African diaspora the continent’s sixth region.

On integration, the report said, regional blocs across the continent can learn from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) which, it said, provides “a model of country implementation of policies and action plans rather than regional frameworks, with realistic goals reflecting country characteristics”.

“Over the years, the association has reinforced its economic community through trade, cooperation agreements and foreign partnerships. Regionally, it encourages innovation through collaboration in such diverse areas as capital mobility, trade, education and labour mobility.”

The agreements between Asean and its external partners, the reportsaid, rarely go beyond internationally established norms or obligations for intellectual property protection as provided by the global intellectual property regime. These countries “have not established strong joint intellectual property frameworks or harmonized intellectual property institutions, but the bloc has proven that an approach based on dialogue and consensus-building works well for innovation”.

It was envisioned that intellectual property will promote efficient adoption and adaptation of more advanced technologies and continuous learning to meet ever-rising performance thresholds, the report said.

“Since the policies of different African countries have tended to look quite similar in content, there is no strong evidence to suggest that they are properly synchronized with country particularities. Indeed, to be successful, such policies should take into account the particular environment in which the interventions are undertaken, usually different from country to country,” the report said. (IANS)

  • Shubhi Mangla

    There was a time when Booker T. Washington promoted manual labour and practical studies in Africa but now there is less of practical work

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    As India and Africa are one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, there should be more of such initiatives taken to enhance the educational system and educate the poor. These issues were discussed in the India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 which happened in Delhi and as much as 54 African state heads were present.

SHARE
  • Shubhi Mangla

    There was a time when Booker T. Washington promoted manual labour and practical studies in Africa but now there is less of practical work

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    As India and Africa are one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, there should be more of such initiatives taken to enhance the educational system and educate the poor. These issues were discussed in the India-Africa Forum Summit 2015 which happened in Delhi and as much as 54 African state heads were present.

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By Advancing Interdependence, India will Bring New Dawn for Democracy in 21st Century

All citizens must be active participants in shaping the future of India

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Interdependence can be achieved by creating a country in which there is a shared understanding of the value of each citizen and a reliance on one another to eliminate discrimination. Pixabay

In his first speech after winning the election for his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that “…we have to win ‘sabka vishwas’ (everyones trust).” What will be required to win that trust is establishing a true state of interdependence. Interdependence can be achieved by creating a country in which there is a shared understanding of the value of each citizen and a reliance on one another to eliminate discrimination, hostility, and prejudice and to provide equality and opportunity for all. All citizens must be active participants in shaping the future of India. They must be equal partners in Indias inclusive economic mobility and in Indias shared prosperity.

Independence Day is the perfect day to highlight the importance of and advance the concept of interdependence. This can be accomplished by promoting the need for a unified India on this national holiday.

The need for doing this is critical. Unfortunately, in the period since the Prime Minister called for winning “trust” in his speech, some Indians have engaged in actions destroying it.

Sadly, the heinous crimes at the beginning of Modi’s second term are nothing new. There were several lynchings and numerous attacks on Muslims during his first term.

Interdependence, India, Democracy
In his first speech after winning the election for his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that “…we have to win ‘sabka vishwas’ (everyones trust).” Pixabay

Modi did not speak out vigorously then. He must do so now to demonstrate the essential leadership that will be required to create a state of interdependence. There are other serious conditions that must be addressed as well. To name just a few: sexual violence and subjugation of females continues; the caste system still exists; and, the problematic conditions of those in the weaker sections persist.

By speaking out, Prime Minister Modi can bring the country together to confront the matters that are hardening India’s democratic arteries. He cannot do that alone, however. He will need buy in and support from across the country and the citizenry.

A first step should be to “find our spiritual common ground”. That step can be initiated by recognizing that spirit is the invisible force that brings us together regardless of our caste, race, religion, region or political predisposition. The goal in discovering that common ground should be to create one nation under God. That nation would be an interdependent one and its God would be ecumenical and non-denominational. Its God would be welcoming to all.

As one nation, India would celebrate and embrace the richness of religious diversity

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As one nation, India would be inclusive and accepting unity over division and hope over fear

As one nation, India would elevate citizenship above angry and mindless partisanship and bring people together to pursue the common good

As one nation, India would be the place known for sharing and caring as opposed to blaming and shaming

As one nation, India would emphasize building bridges instead of constructing boundaries and barriers

Interdependence, India, Democracy
What will be required to win that trust is establishing a true state of interdependence. Pixabay

As one nation, India would ensure that all its people are literate and equipped with the skills to succeed in the 21st century

As one nation, India would extend life lines instead of drawing battle lines

As one nation, India would be a land of big dreams, small treasures, brave people, kind deeds, and tender mercies

As one nation, India would ensure the importance of the freedom of the free press, not to bury it

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As one nation, India would be a role model and exemplar for other democracies to emulate

Everyone must play a role in establishing India as one nation. Each citizen should engage in small acts of kindness by reaching out to those less fortunate and to the downtrodden by extending a helping hand and a hand up.

Some people can make special contributions. Religious leaders should promote interfaith dialogue. They should bring people together followers of different persuasions for meaningful conversations. They should promote a dialogue of understanding and a shared sense of community with other faiths. They should call the fact that attack on one faith is attack on all faiths. Political leaders should promote a framework of unity and civility. Civic and community leaders should promote collaboration in problem-solving. They should toil together their creeds to plant the seeds for doing good deeds.

There is no better day on which to resume our journey than Independence Day. There is no better way to make that journey than to chart a course to interdependence. By reaching that destination, India will establish itself as the beacon of hope for democracy worldwide. By realizing that potential, India will bring a new dawn for democracy in this 21st century. (IANS)