As we commemorate our country’s independence on 15th August, it is fitting to recall that our freedom struggle involved substantial sacrifices by our heroes of freedom. These heroes owned the country’s burning aspirations and made tremendous efforts to lead India toward sovereignty. Over the years India has made tremendous progress and achieved great milestones. One of the key factors for progress is ‘Education’.
In this context, Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations aptly said, “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy, and sustainable human development.” This statement is a clarion call for every country to place education among the foremost national priorities. There is no substitute for education to establish democracy, freedom, and sustainable development in every society and nation at large.
India is blessed with a large, dynamic young population with 65% under 35. (Times of India article, February 2023). And according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) projections, India will continue to have one of the youngest populations in the world until 2030. These young people have the potential to transform the country in every sphere. The growth of our country will completely depend on the quality of education they receive and their ability to be productive citizens. Thus, it is our nation’s responsibility to educate them so that they can make the most of this asset.
Education holds the master key to effective nation-building as it plays a vital role in the country’s economic and social growth. It is the backbone of our society and a strong pillar of development. “According to the Performance Grading Index, the Indian education system is one of the largest in the world. It has about 14.9 lakh schools, 95 lakh teachers, and nearly 26.5 crore students from varied socio-economic backgrounds.” (Financial Express, November 2022). It is therefore essential to further strengthen our education system so that we can provide quality education to develop skills and help our youngsters acquire knowledge. This will equip them for employment and entrepreneurial endeavors in the future. Education provides innumerable avenues to explore to improve an individual and our society.
Education in our country is witnessing tremendous change due to technology. In this scenario of technological revolution, every educational institution has to focus on technology integration and hands-on training for our youth to make them future-ready contributors and productive citizen leaders. We see educational reforms happening today because of the paradigm shift introduced by the newly enacted National Education Policy (NEP). NEP has given a road map to nurture employable citizens, researchers, and entrepreneurs through education that is holistic, accessible, equitable, and research-based. Development of necessary infrastructure and relevant teacher training and encouraging them to upgrade their skills and qualifications will boost this end.
Quality education with new-age skills and digital advancement will help our youth realize their potential and strength to be value-laden, empowered, and responsible citizens of our country. Education is imperative; it is an essential tool that can help India become a global superpower by educating our largest youth population of 254 million in the age group of 15-24 years (ref. Business Standards August 03, 2023). As Denis Waitley said, let us give our children and youth the ‘roots of responsibility and wings of independence through education’.
Happy Independence Day! Jai Hind!
Dr. A. F. Pinto
Ryan International Group of Institutions