Oct 31 - Nov 6, 20

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn-Alvin Toffler

Being an educationist and economist, I certainly believe that education is one of the most important investments an individual or country can make.

It is also significant for the long-term health and prosperity of any nation. The nations who want to develop themselves cannot avoid investment in education.

Education provides people with skills that prepare them physically, spiritually, and socially for the life. Education is generally seen as the foundation of society, which brings economic wealth, social prosperity, and political stability for the inhabitants. Higher education helps in maintaining a healthy society, which prepares health care professionals, educated health care consumers and maintaining healthy population.

Education is a major aspect of development of any contemporary society since if there is a deficit of educated people then society will stops progressing.

Economists globally have long emphasized the importance of human capital for economic growth and prosperity. Economic prosperity is generally measured in terms of living standards, and the improvement in living standards is closely linked to the growth in the productivity of labors through innovations. By improving skills allow them not only to use new technologies but also to use existing technology more effectively or efficiently.

Productivity and efficiency become more important in the era of globalization when there is a free trade and increased competition. If you are not cost efficient, you are driven out of the market.

Technological progress is not only confined to computers/IT and manufacturing or to science and medicine. The financial and economic world has witnessed remarkable innovations during the last two decades. We have seen new banking products and new opportunities for businesses entrepreneurs and individuals to manage their financial affairs and give them access to opportunities they never had before.

A higher education system should meet many different goals. For instance, it satisfies demand from students for an increasingly sophisticated and rewarding education; trains the people needed to run a modern society, and contributes to its further development; provides a forum in which a society can examine its problems; identifies appropriate solutions; and offers a surrounding in which a society's culture and values can be premeditated and developed.

A general or liberal education that is the most basic education has been defined as a curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge. Though a highly specialized scientific and technical education is well recognized, a broad/basic education is also important, and especially countries like Pakistan.

In Pakistan, the types of jobs that are available are not very much specialized and specific therefore a general education is an excellent form of training for the flexible, knowledge-based careers. With knowledge growing at unprecedented rates, higher education systems must equip students with the ability to manage and incorporate expanded quantities of information.

However, developing countries need to be sure that some of their institutions are providing a sufficient extent of education to give students the abilities that are needed in a rapidly changing world.

The ability to learn, however, will continue to provide valuable indemnity against the unpredictable of a rapidly changing economic environment.

Any discussion on education will remain incomplete if the role of teachers is ignored. Teachers are the most important factors for an innovative society because teachers' knowledge and skills not only enhance the quality and efficiency of education, but also improve the fundamentals of research and innovation.

Teachers have an important role to play in removing social evils. Society also plays a key role in the realization of lifelong learning. The improvement of social education facilities such as libraries and other learning opportunities like education parks, museums etc. should be practiced by the local governments and be financed/supported by large business enterprises.

Students today are exposed to loads of technology and information everywhere. Society has to play a vital role in the realization of lifelong learning.

Government should pay serious attention to education and support it economically and morally all over the country. Firstly, it should raise its expenditure on education at all levels. Secondly, it should assure the compliance of 100 percent primary education by 2015 as envisaged under millennium development goal. Thirdly, it should focus on establishing more technical/vocational institutes to equip youngsters with technical knowledge and skills to become self-employed small entrepreneurs. Fourth, it should encourage and facilitate private sector or corporate sector to invest in education making it as essential part of CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Under the umbrella of ministry of education, a team of educationists should be given the task to design comprehensive educational foundation to meet the global challenges of the century. For this purpose, educators need to take into account the country's economic, social, political, and institutional environment; look for the common unifying themes that pull together a curriculum and make it more than an uninformed combination of alternative elements; move beyond limits of traditional disciplinary boundaries to explore the relationships among different subjects and ways of thinking about the world; and concentrate on the delivery more than the contents of the curriculum, moving beyond rote learning to give students a deeper, and momentous exposure to the rich and varied world of intellectual pursuits.