Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why continuing education is the need of the hour

"Contemplating all the men of the world, who come together in society to work, struggle and better themselves, cannot but please you more than any other thing"

~Antonio Gramsci

India is going through an interesting phase of social and economic significance. The nation is said to be enjoying "demographic dividend" which essentially means that India is (and will remain for some time) one of the youngest countries in the world. In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old, compared with an average age of 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe and 48 in Japan. This means that the dependency ratio (ratio of people in the non working age groups of less than 15 years or more than 64 years to the number of people in the working age group between 15 to 64 years of age) in India is lesser than most other countries of the world. What this also means that by 2050 India will have to supply manpower to the rest of the world including China which is currently the most populous country of the world. In order to cash upon this window of opportunity we need the people in the working age group to be actually working. This will be possible only if this young population is sufficiently skilled and educated to cater to the employment opportunities coming up.

What is continuing education and how does it fit in?

I have deliberately used the term "continuing education" for formal studies while working rather than "part time education" which I believe is a misnomer. Many so called "part time studies" require a full time commitment from the student. The beauty of continuing education is that you upgrade your skill and prepare yourself for greater challenges while simultaneously continuing to contribute productively to the economy. What's more your education will most likely be debt free and you will relish the fruits of the new learning without worrying about paying back loans. It's like the proverbial "having your cake and eating it too". It also acts as an insurance against the capricious business cycles, saving you the anxieties of finding a new job as soon as your course gets over. As we continue to grow we need to have more and more education programs in various fields that cater to this need. This is where a course like PGSEM really shines through.

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