Monday May 20, 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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Ashok Leyland Ready to Ride on Elon Musk’s India Dream

Tesla was expected to enter India with the Model 3 that sells for nearly $35,000

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. Wikimedia
By Nishant Arora
Tesla CEO Elon Musk who has been moving back and forth on his India dream for couple of years and unable to take the next big step now has an invitation from commercial vehicles major Ashok Leyland.
Musk wants to make India his next big market but the question lingers: Will the electric car ever run on the bumpy ‘desi’ roads?
According to Venkatesh Natarajan, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Ashok Leyland, the company is open to Musk for a partnership to finally let Indians experience his path-breaking autonomous Tesla electric cars.
“We are open to Musk’s offer. I truly believe that it’s not just one partner who can contribute to the electric car dream in India. There are multiple agencies who will be involved in this.
“We will be lucky to be part of that consortium,” Natarajan told IANS on the sidelines of the just-concluded AWS India Summit here in the financial capital.
“I go back to the organisation’s philosophy and culture. Whenever we see new technology, we like to try it out, just like a small kid who sees a new toy and wants to experiment. We are open in terms of technology adoption — anything that adds value to our customers,” Natarajan noted.
The company, flagship of the Hinduja Group, reported a revenue of Rs 6,325 crore in Q3 (FY 2018-19). Year-to-Date (YTD) revenues touched Rs 20,209 crore, up 15 per cent over corresponding period last year.
Rating agency ICRA recently upgraded the long-term rating of fund-based limits of Ashok Leyland to AA+ from AA with stable outlook. The agency believes that Ashok Leyland’s financial profile will remain healthy supported by stable demand outlook for the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) segment and light commercial vehicle (LCV) segments.
Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)
Touted as India’s largest bus manufacturer and the fourth largest in the world, the company reported 10 per cent rise in the domestic vehicles sales at 13,141 units in April 2019. The commercial vehicles company had sold 11,951 vehicles in domestic market during the same month last year.
“Ultimately, we need more money. We are in the business of making money. As long as we are able to make more money and help our customers generate more money, we are game to every new technology,” Natarajan emphasised.
Ashok Leyland’s offer must be a sweet news to Musk’s ears. Breaking his silence over India plans after 10 months, Musk tweeted in March that he would love to be in India in 2019 or next year.
“Would love to be there this year. If not, definitely next! India,” Musk tweeted to a user.
Musk earlier blamed the Indian government’s policies for giving up on his India dreams. He also blamed the FDI norms for the delay in the electric car maker’s entry into the Indian market.
“Would love to be in India. Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately,” Musk tweeted in response to a Twitter user who wrote “No Tesla in India” on his Twitter handle.
Earlier this year, Tesla’s Indian-origin Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja announced his retirement from the firm, bringing Musk’s India dream to a halt again.
Tesla was expected to enter India with the Model 3 that sells for nearly $35,000.
In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla headquarters at Palo Alto, California and met Musk who gave Modi a tour of the company’s electric car plant.
In January this year, Musk laid the foundation of Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai — the first-ever outside the US — that is expected to produce 500,000 electric vehicles per year and double the production capacity. (IANS)