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Role Of Education in Economic Development
The foundation of every state is the education of its youth – Diogenes Laertius
Education has always played andstill playing an important role in the development of a country, either it is developed or developing. It is one of the most fundamental factors that lead a country to a sustainable economic growth. Education has therefore become an important element of every country’s social, political and economic policy. Till the mid of 20th century, for the economic development of a country, the number of cheap labour force was considered to be an important factorbut now, in 21st century, the trend has changed. In today’s world, education has acquired top position in the list of all factors that counts for the social, political and economic growth of a nation.Education in today’s world, no doubt, is the only key to success but to get expected results of development out of education, it is necessary that focus should be given not only to quantitative but also to qualitative improvement of education.
To discuss the role of education in the economic development of a nation, it is necessary to understand first of all the meaning of education. The word education is derived from Latin word “educare, educere or educatum” which means to leads pupils or draw out their hidden talents and potentialities. The universally accepted meaning of education is growth, that is, the continuous unfolding of ones potentialities. It is a life-long process.
After defining education, it is necessary to understand the concept of economic development as well. From policy perspective, economic development is the set of efforts that seeks to improve the economic well-being and quality of life of people of a community by creating, supporting and taking some steps. Development in terms of economic development indicators means the development of economic wealth of a country for the well-being of their inhabitants. There is however a significant difference between economic growth and economic development. Economic growth means increase in specific measures such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP) or per capita income. Economic development on the other hand implies much more. It typically refers to a variety of indicators such as literacy rate, life expectancy and poverty rate.
Generally education plays the role of leadership in a society. The function of educational institutes is to develop people physically, mentally, socially, psychologically and spiritually. It improves social, political, economic and cultural life of people. All over the world, universities are guiding and co-operating with the industrial and agricultural development of organizations and they are developing their economies rapidly and meaningfully. There is a close link between education and development.
Education has a very strong and direct relation with social and economic development. In a contemporary world, where focus is on “knowledge based economy” the role of education becomes even more important. Education leads to innovations, developments and lots of other greater achievement and advancement in a society. Some of the developments that the education has already resulted includes; birth of civilised society, increased human capital, technical training, agricultural development, industrial development, and technological development.Education also produced think-tanks. Each of these developments has been discussed in detail in below paragraphs.
The first and foremost important requirement for the economic progress of a community is its social development. Only a highly civilised society, where peace and freedom in its all forms is guaranteed by the government, can achieve economic prosperity. Education in this regard helps by developing social awareness and the spirit of humanistic approach among people.Education helps in eradicating various social, political and economic evils and problems such as social inequity, poverty, unequal income distribution, deadly competition, selfishness and so on. It develops the feelings of self-esteem and the spirit of hard work among people. It encourages the concept of healthy competition and self-sacrifice for others well-being among the masses. Explaining this aspect of education, Aristotle has rightly said “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. Education also teaches people those things which they have never heard before and promote in them the character of observation and analysis. It is knowledge which enables people not to follow the customs of their ancestors blindly and make sure the successful transfer of social fundamentals from one generation to another generation.
In terms of economics, human capital in its simplest form means a highly skilled professional labour force. Industrial revolution of eighteenth century transform the type of work and force from humanised to mechanised. Now due to sophisticated machinery, a piece of work needs only a fewprofessional labours instead of a dozen of workers. This is because, nowadays in every field of work machines are used, which needs technically taught people to operate them safely and successfully. In twenty-first century, from teaching to the construction of mega structures, every profession has acquired the status of art. In such scenario, only professionally taught people can be asset for the economy of a country, as only they can contribute efficiently in the development of the state as a whole and of economy in particularly. Only education can convert a lay man to a professional workman. Only teaching of technical and professional knowledge can convert youth and ordinary labour force to human capital. Technical knowledge and training draws out the hidden talents of people and utilize it for the development of the whole society.
As the trend of knowledge acquisition in a society develops, people began focusing more and more on the learning of technical knowledge and training. This turns whole society to human capital, in which every person then put his part in the development of his country in one way or another way. Technical knowledge and training is useful because it enables every person of a society to work and earn, thus makes every person independent in society and decrease the bulk of unprofessional, idle people. Similarly the demand of professionally taught people in market increases and it pushes other people towards knowledge acquisition, thus leads to a chain reaction of learning and hiring.
Education is solution to every problem of mankind. The famous example of this could be agricultural and industrial revolution. In the field of agriculture we see that education has totally changed the methods of cultivation and harvesting of crops. With the blessing of education, now the productivity of same piece of land has increased by more than double due to the use of fertilizer, pesticide and other advance machinery. The favours of education did not end here. The availability of different hybrid fruits and vegetables with amazing smell, taste and colour and the availability of different types of fruits and vegetables during their off-season time, all are the gifts of education. In developed countries, where the standard of education is high, we see that their agricultural productivity is also very high. Contrary to this, in third world countries, despite of having huge plains and labour force, the agricultural productivity of these countries is comparatively less due to low standard of education.
Just like agricultural sector, the development of industrial sector of a country is also under the direct effect of the standard of education of that nation. Education gives shape to new ideas and views and ultimately results in the economic development of the nation. History shows that man has never achieved so much development in all spheres of life, before seventeenth and eighteenth century, as much as he has achieved in the past two and half centuries. This is mainly due to education. The industrial revolution of 1750 and the series of inventions that followed that revolution, all were the result of continuous process of observation, analysis and learning. Today we see that countries with high standard of education have more control over international market. This is mainly because they are the founders of every new type of product and industry. They simply design and launch a product or industry and other nations follow them. These countries have achieved this unique status in world’s market simply because of education.
Life in 21st century is mostly dependent on the use of various technological appliances. These appliances range from simple mobile phones to highly sophisticated robots and robotic systems. Such tools, equipment and devices are manufactured by countries having technological advancement over other nations. These countries acquired the knowledge of steam, combustion and aeronautical engineering through education. Now the production and the sale of these appliances to other less developed countries, makes a major portion of the annual revenue of these states. Similarly due to knowledge, man has acquired control over water and air and now planning of the colonization of other planets and space. As far as the learning process is continuing, new technological wonders are expected to be seen.
Education policy, if managed and organised properly, helps in the production of think-tanks, whothen can play a vital role in the development of various sectors of the society and country. Economy in 21st century is knowledge based and in such a scenario, the only way to be socially, politically and economically advance is to have expertise in every field of life.
In Pakistan, education system is governed by the Federal Ministry of education and provincial governments. Pakistan though has British education system but the education standard of the country is very low. This is mainly because no serious attention was given to this sector after independence. Consequently the literacy rate in the country did not flourish and the country, even today lag behind in educational field from rest of the world. The education system of the country is based on five levels of learning process which includes; Primary, Middle, Secondary, Higher Secondary and University graduation. Unfortunately, all the focus that the government has ever paid to this sector has always been remained confined to university education only. Due to these problems, the country, despite of having abundant talent, could not produce highly skilled professionals.
In today’s world the only key of success for a nation is education.It brings major changes in the social, political and economic spheres of life of a society. It is the only tool through which humanity can prosper as a whole and can establish universal peace. Nelson Mandela has rightly said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”