A BRIC in the wall of world education
By Hypo Global
As the G20 talks progress in the UK and the demonstrators protest on essentially Environmental, poverty, financial and Job issues, I found it most interesting that all BRIC countries met prior to the great event, as its seems they are planning to form some kind of partnership, synergy or some kind of means to compare notes, as they plan the future world order.
The term known as BRIC countries was the brain child concept of global investment bank Goldman Sachs in 2003, which specifically identified Brazil, Russia, India and China as economies that would together overtake the economies of the current 6 richest countries in the world by 2040.
So how are these countries progressing today, especially in the current global economic climate? With big picture thinking, it appears that India and China are investing in higher education and focusing efforts on “intellectual capital”, while Russia and Brazil depend very much on the recent commodity price surge and are not making the necessary investments in infrastructure and in addition to human capital.
Russia currently has suffered from a somewhat tarnished reputation for political reasons, although through recent high level meetings with Obama and other world leaders some of this damage has been repaired. Brazil meanwhile is tending to be a little lost in the Jungles of their meanders in democratic politics, caused by seemingly endless corruption scandals.
Whereas China and India are competing with the west for intellectual capital, by seeking to build top-notch universities, investing in high, value-added and technologically intensive industries and utilizing successful diasporas to spur entrepreneurial activity.
Some believe however, that India has managed to get its basic education principles fundamentally wrong. It’s all very well having a few Brahmin-like intellectuals involved in rich-economy standard services and high-tech activities, however this will not likely resolve its issues of mass poverty and subsequently the long-term political stability and immense potential growth prospects. According to the Economist’ Pocket World in Figures, 2007 Edition, adult literacy in Russia 99,4%, China is 90.9%, Brazil 88.6%, and alas India a mere 61%. Will I ask foreign investors desire to be in a country with 40% of the population being essentially illiterate? There is not much evidence either that any major measures are being taken in India to tackle this poverty education gap. India certainly has great future prospects and will be the world largest population in the next decade, hence the education of the masses, must become their significant 20% priority according to the Pareto Principle.
Meanwhile, in Russia and Brazil, by most accounts the infrastructures of both these countries still remain very much third world. Moreover, if China is investing massively in infrastructure, there is no evidence of a real drive to do something about infrastructure in India at all. And if Brazil’s and Russia’s infrastructure is “third world”, I question what is India’s like?
In conclusion, despite the future prospects of the 4 BRIC countries, these such globalizing emerging giants still face significant governance challenges and necessary development in education to fuel the future work forces of the world. Hats off to China though, who have taken an early lead.
Grant Holmes Editor Hypo Global