Moving towards a knowledge economy…

At a recent conference that I attended in Pakistan, a knowledge economy was my area of focus. I have been moved by this idea for long, and I realise that for a developing country like India, it will be greatly beneficial to move towards a knowledge economy.

Moving towards a knowledge economy…

I find that not many understand this topic properly, sometimes, not even educationists interpret it in a manner that should be. Many scholars and academicians talked about ‘wisdom management’, which I did not understand.

Wisdom is an individual aspect distilled from an individual’s own experiences. How do you extract wisdom? Verify wisdom? Knowledge, on the other hand, can be organised, extracted and verified. It can also be managed.

Moving towards a knowledge economy is not impossible. It just needs some thought, some work and some follow up. most importantly, it needs the inclination of all those involved – The policy maker, the institutions and the parcipants.

When I hear academicians in the sub continent positing such esoteric ideas, I feel that they are not on the wave-length that is ideal for the country. We thus, as a country, have a long way to go before we can reach to the stage of a knowledge economy.

That said, I want to mention upfront that it is not impossible. It just needs some thought, some work and some follow up.  Most importantly, it needs the inclination of all those who are associated with it – the policy makers, the institutions as well as the participants – whether educators or students.

India is lagging behind on various facets of the knowledge economy. A knowledge economy focusses essentially on the production and management of knowledge, where knowledge is the product. I have a strong feeling that management education, being so popular in India will have to pave the way for it.

There are four dimensions that need to be taken care of for moving on this path. First, the infrastructure and policies have to match this direction. They should be geared towards promoting a knowledge economy. The government is responsible for not only making such policies, but also making sure that they are implemented at all levels.

Second, the state of education needs to be uplifted. Unless you have a skilled workforce, and an adequate number of knowledgeable workers, the country cannot move ahead. We need to think: “How to we produce this crop?”

Third, we need to give information and communication technologies (ICTs) their full due. India is not using them to the fullest potential, internet usage is limited. Facilities are not available, or are not affordable.

Lastly, we need innovation. Innovation is the key to growth, and it is also a cornerstone of creation of new knowledge. Research needs to be promoted and the amenities available need to be improved for conduction of quality research.

Along with all these factors, an essential demographic that we cannot ignore is that a majority of our population lies within the youth bracket. We need to entrust them with the responsibility of taking the country forward and believe that they have the capability of doing it.

When all these movements happen simultaneously on a mass-scale, India is sure to progress towards a knowledge economy.

Prof Y K Bhushan

Mumbai

Knowledge is going to look at every aspect that Prof Bhushan mentions, in detail, on this page and page 4. For more ideas, see page 4. Knowledge is extremely grateful to Prof Bhushan for guiding us for this issue and showing us the path to a knowledge economy. That is a personal victory for the paper, since it is what FPJ Knowledge is all about. Send your comments and views to knowledge@fpj.co.in

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