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Corporate GenNext's take on education

Corporate India's GenNext voices their concerns over various issues related to India's economic policies.

News18 |

Updated:February 18, 2007, 10:05 PM IST
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Corporate GenNext's take on education
Corporate India's GenNext voices their concerns over various issues related to India's economic policies.

New Delhi: India is on the move like never before. The reform process started with the liberalisation of the economy in the 1991 is bearing fruit today. And the most significant consequence has been the emergence of a new face of entrepreneurship. At CNN-IBN, we call this the birth of a Young India.

Sixteen days before the Union Finance Minister rise to present the Union Budget 2007, things have never looked better. The economy is growing in about 9 per cent, the industry is scorching at a growth rate of about 11 per cent, and in the second week of February, corporate India has sealed up deals in excess of $25 billion.

In that context, CNN-IBN's Shirin Bhan spoke to a large group of representatives from the Corporate India's GenNext on CNN-IBN’s Special Show Rising India: Corporate India's Generation Next to find out where they see the economic blueprint of India in the next the couple of years. It was the largest congregation of corporate leaders in Indian television history.

Everybody talks about how the government hasn't done enough to address the problem of lack of skills, and how we don't have enough number of employable people. Will the government deregulate investment in education? There are a lot of corporates, which want to get into education, but it is clearly not an area where open competition can thrive.

According to Shailja Dutt, MD of Steller Search, "with an economy where 50 per cent is less that 25 years of age, education is the single-most important thing at this point in time. And I don't see that they will deregulate investment in education in this Budget. I am hoping that it will happen, but I don't think that it will happen. I think there are political reasons which is holding it back. But there has to be more private collaboration between private sector and the government. There has to be encouragement even if you don't deregulate it completely."

"The government policies on how the selection actually needs to happen, what should be the reservation quotas are the main stumbling blocks," says Pooja Jain, Executive Director of Luxor Group. "Even in a small nursery school, you are given importance depending on where you stay. We need to simply sort that out first before we move on to set our infrastructure right. It requires a complete change in the mindset. We need to change the thinking on the education policy itself."

Shiv Agarwal, CEO of ABC Consultants, however, views government policies to be over-obsessed with the numbers of literacy rates. "There is no point in having hundred per cent literacy if you don't employability. I think they have a very pappu paas ho gaya kind of mindset that it's good enough as long as the numbers are there. Of 3 million graduates today, only 25 per cent are employable. I think that's a serious concern we need to look at there," he points out.

"There are 700 million people below 35 years of age. India is very lucky to have such a situation," Anuj Gupta, CEO of Final Quadrant, says. "You need to look at alternate asset as an investment. Investing in a child over a 10-year, 15-year, 20-year landscape is going to make the highest amount of return on that. Any businessman or industrialist is going to benefit the most with that because you are creating a person who can run an entire enterprise for you," Anuj points out.

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