India has just a decade to change its status from developing to developed country. Now the country has to focus on education, failing which the much-hailed 'demographic dividend' will turn into a disadvantage, a report said. If India is not able to get its act together, it will never be able to go into the developed group of nations, the report by the research wing of SBI warned. "India has perhaps now only a limited window of a decade to get into the developed country tag, or stay perpetually in emerging group of economies. Policymakers, wake up and smell the coffee!" the report said.
Invest in education
The report said the government and policymakers will have to focus on the young people to ensure they become good citizens and invest in education in order to achieve the objective and realise the demographic dividend. "India's strength of demographic dividend could actually turn into India's disadvantage by 2030," it warned. The population growth trend indicates that incremental population growth has been stagnant in the last two decades and fertility rates are quite diverse across states, it added.
The report said Karnataka, which has seen a decline in birth rate over the last few decades that has led to the share of those over 60 years increasing to 9.5 per cent in 2011, from 6.1 per cent in 1971, is best representative of the need to focus on education. With the affluence that comes as a result of slower population growth, people are preferring to put their children in private schools and not the government ones, on which a large number of population still depends.
Make state-run schools perform better
"The need of the hour is thus to improve the overall situation of government schools across states," it said, suggesting a slew of changes needed in order to make the state-run schools perform better. Among them, the SBI economists have suggested to stop granting funds to private schools under right to education and divert the same to upgrade infrastructure in the government schools. There is also a need for better classrooms, more focus on making English as a medium of teaching, qualified teachers with better remuneration who are not forced to do duties like census surveys, the report said.