Quality education depends on a radical change in the education sector keeping pace with modern life. As the world is going ahead alongside the ICT sector, the whole world’s education sector is also combined with an integrated approach of modern amenities as well as modern technologies. It is commonly seen in the developed countries like Japan that the students there go to educational institutions taking Laptop, Palmtops in hands as their books when the Indian subcontinent students are loaded with a heavy bag of various types of books.
What is quality education:
Human civilization has seen several technological revolutions that have changed our society altogether, our way of thoughts and life. However, no technology has had the versatility with which Information and Communication Technology, in a pace of less than half a century, has brought about a revolution in all walks of life. ICT has by now empowered us to lay the foundation of what will be termed as a knowledge-based society or information society. No nation will survive without creating a knowledge-based society and facilitating its growth. This is a big challenge for developing nations that fall short of appreciating the importance of this new paradigm, and thus do not invest adequately to pave the way of transition to this new society.
Lack of resources
This is not only a dearth of physical resources in developing countries but also an appreciation of the leadership that is standing on the way to smooth transition to a qualitatively different society. For countries that are struggling to satisfy the minimum demand of their citizens for survival, investment in projects of far-reaching consequences presupposes due appreciation of the matter involved. Under the circumstances, developing countries have to find out cost-effective methods of investing in such projects.
Creation of field
We cannot possibly mention a single field in which human beings have excelled in absence of healthy competition, be it sports, education, or culture.
For developing countries like Bangladesh with insignificant natural resources and enormous populations, the only way of national development might be through developing human resources, for which we cannot expect to have reasonable allocation in foreseeable future. The only cost-effective way of creating a stimulating environment in education, science, and technology is healthy competition and its massive media publicity.
Creating knowledge-based society
For a knowledge-based society, the most important item is knowledge and that has to be made available to the appropriate group of people at the right time and possibly share amongst a group located in different geographically distributed areas. Developing countries had always been lagging in terms of knowledge resources having libraries with inadequate books, unequipped laboratories and so on. Fortunately, by the internet technology limitations in physical resources is not too much of a binding provided we can make good use of this versatile technology and the huge repository of knowledge available on the internet.
For us to be part of the knowledge-based society, where knowledge is losing its grounds for significance, we must make an about-turn and ascribe knowledge and knowledge-based activities of utmost significance to create a knowledge base that will allow us to be members of that society. With the introduction of the knowledge-based society, it will be extremely difficult for a part of the world to survive without generating new knowledge and assimilating knowledge already available. Creation in a knowledge-based society will be largely dominated by the availability of knowledge workers. The larger is the share of knowledge workers the larger will be the share of resources of the society.
Globalization and education system
With globalization knocking at the door no nation can stay aloof from this transition and must create an education system that will provide quality education comparable to advanced nations. Otherwise, the effects of globalization will be serious on these countries that will lose quality jobs of the land to more qualified foreigners. This is why participants of the World Class University Conference, held in Shanghai in 2005, cautioned developing nations and equated the survival of these countries to produce world-class universities. Leaders of developing nations are suffering not only from a dearth of adequate physical resources necessary for the creation of world-class universities, but also they suffer from a lack of appreciation of the knowledge-based society and its significance for our nation.
This unfortunate fact has a due reflection in the quality of representation of our country in the World Summit on Information Society. In such a distinguished summit we failed to appreciate the presence of those who deal with information, study information, information research. While I do not have statistics or information on the delegation, I am sure a lack of knowledge of the leadership, and their appreciation of the usefulness of knowledge, has resulted in constituting a delegation without proven knowledge in the field. This must be true in our representation everywhere else in respect of events around information and communication technology. As a nation, we have unfortunately failed to impress upon the world of our mission, vision, sincerity, and fairness. Inappropriate representations in international forums are only convincing the world of our indifferent development. So both lack of appreciation and adequacy of physical resources are making it a daunting task for developing nations to join the march for creating a knowledge-based society.
It is amazing that even in colonial days education was highly appreciated in our society. In our country once upon a time, people used to travel miles to see a person who passed BA or MA or see in person a brilliant student having a place in the merit list. This land has witnessed two independences, and very sad that appreciation for education is almost non-existent now in our society. Rather muscle power and wealth have taken over education. We have further reduced any interest in education by diluting popular events in it. Once upon a time students across the country, particularly good students, worked hard to capture a position in the merit list and make parents, guardians, relatives, teachers, and local people proud. Unfortunately, with the introduction of the GPA system, this zeal is not there anymore.
Now thousands of students are getting a golden GPA with the inevitable undesirable event of not making it to any good educational institution. Run for golden GPA is confining our students to go for 80% marks in a subject like Mathematics, and for this to achieve, it is sufficient to know only about 50% of the material. Thus our students are simply going for knowledge that is sufficient to guarantee the highest grade in every subject even though it cannot ensure the excellence of knowledge in the field. While competition in sports is very common and popular among people of all walks of life, competition is becoming popular in other areas as well. Olympic sports have universal popularity.
This has possibly inspired people in education to introduce with considerable success similar competition through International Mathematical Olympiad, International Physics Olympiad, International Chemistry Olympiad, International Olympiad in Informatics, and Olympiads in other subjects. The popularity of these events has grown significantly although yet to be able to attract the attention of not only common people but also people of the field as much as Olympic games do. However, competition for excellence among academic institutions of the United States has particularly been popular. Each university is ranked not only overall but also according to their performance in different subjects and different activities like research, undergraduate education, and so on. By this competition
American colleges and universities are earning much more success compared to academic institutions of other countries. A lion’s share of the Nobel Prizes of each year is obtained by scientists.
For us to participate in the creation of a knowledge-based society we must ascribe adequate importance to education, build a good knowledge base, create knowledge workers, increase our know-how in ICT. This cannot be done simply by signing declarations, declaring ICT as thrust sector, or shouting that education has been given the largest budgetary allocation. We must mean business, should bring education to the topmost priority. Unless we can create knowledge commendably, be skilled in the technology necessary for the creation of a knowledge-based society our dream of being part of a knowledge-based society will not be materialized.
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