On Human Capital

On Human Capital
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There is now a consensus among economists that human capital is an essential prong of society and rather indispensable for its growth and development. The term and the concept can be defined as the cumulative fund of knowledge and skills that a community’s or a societies individuals have, which among other things enhances its productivity. In turn, productivity does not only constitute a measure of economic growth, but among other things, enhances it. Human capital has , in the contemporary era, become more critical and significant owing to what has been termed as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” where the nature of work has been rather transformed and both skills and ideas get obsolete at a fast pace. Against this general backdrop, where does Kashmir stand and how does it fare? Badly and poorly is the answer. The problem largely, or mostly lies in nature and delivery of education and the shoddy infrastructure, hard and soft, that underpins it. All need an urgent and a total revamp. But, this revamp needs to be well thought and conceived and sequential. The conceptual redesign of Kashmir’s educational system and infrastructure must be defined by clarity and should be in sync and aligned to latest developments in the world. This should be complemented by efficient and effective pedagogical methods. All this is in the nature of abstract and intangible measures which will come to naught if these are not buttressed by drastic and far reaching improvements in the educational infrastructure of Kashmir. What would this entail and mean? The answer is obvious: improve and enhance the hard infrastructure of education which would obviously include functioning and functional buildings, toilets, provision of books and related material, and so on. Allied to these enhancements must be vigorous retraining of teachers and allied supporting staff. The challenge is that the revamp has to be holistic and far reaching. In the final analysis, the human capital of a given society determines its economic well being and economic development which spans across generations. Kashmir is no exception to this general norm. Our children, the flag bearers of our future and its doyens are owed an education that redounds to their and society’s overall benefit and efflorescence. It is then about time, the sleeves are rolled and all out efforts are made to build, develop and enhance our human capital in a way whose returns far exceed their investment.

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