Education Contributes to Why India Competes Successfully with the United States


Teachers will find it useful, and I think important, to listen to the Charlie Rose interviews of Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro and Nandan Nilekani, CEO, Infosys Technologies, both of India in Episode #12043 (original broadcast date: 3/01/06).

They describe how (the failure of) United States elementary and secondary schools especially allows Indian schools graduates, and businesses to compete successfully in the global economy with US advanced technologies. The US is not preparing, beginning with young children, enough scientists and engineers.

Many informed observers and competitors consider Premji the Bill Gates of India. Premji says he enjoys work, “… I am in a constant contest with myself…It’s a high satisfaction.”

Nilekani coined the term “the world is flat” because of advanced technology in communications. He thinks that the world opened to India in 1991. His company grew from $1 billion (US equivalent) to $2 billion from 2005 to 2006. In the next 20 yeaers, India will have the most people under 30 years of age in the world. He thinks that India has developed to the point where it can break away from its past.

Joan was struck with how positive and optimistic these two executives are about the future. They are in a country more diverse than the United States, yet they exude optimism about all topics in their conversations. They both said that the US over reacted to September 11, 2001, especially to restricting people entering this country for education. As businessmen, they take advantage for that over reaction.

Wow! I wonder if US educators have come to grip yet with implications of the global economy for schooling.

Now, what can each of us do optimistically and enthusiastically as teachers with these observations.

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.