It is one of the most pertinent questions in today’s scenario. We see worldwide scarcity, wastages, poverty, unemployment, mechanizations, artificial intelligence and concentration of capital in the hands of few. Developed nations who have been at the forefront of capitalist system are reaping the utility and commercial advantages of continued research. They make market utilisation of the research and makes scarce products more productive. This systematic attempt gradually reduces labour aspects of growth. Much higher output per labour hour engaged yields in, replacing labour requirement simultaneously.
On a positive note this simply adds to the productive capacity of the labors engaged in the system. This is a continued approach as they add more markets for the products or services. Overseas markets come to their fold on different agreed principles of sharing the revenues. Research has very low probability of success. But, research is done for solving or better way of solving problems. Identification of problems, seriousness, spreads and ability to read it from syndromes all is taken into analysis when we search for remedial. Research adds to market, creates new employment, and raises revenues. And market believes it, supports it. A government also supports it, pushes for more concessions to increase the faith in the outcome and cushion the risks.
Quality of higher education and culture of research
Quality of higher education stands solidly behind the culture of research. Opportunities in higher education are very much important. For any Higher Education Institute, commercial feasibility at present and commercial feasibility for future is important. Research drives higher education to higher orbit and is a way of ensuring more accountability, in the process that sustains the market. This generates future flow of jobs.
Research serves more needs of human beings, widens the market and equips labour with more support. One sees an interesting correlation between higher education and return to labour (wage). Employability and incremental earnings from higher education in skill oriented courses are positive and well documented. Those without opportunities are set to add more skill sets. So, availing further higher education is the survival mantra. The bar set for new normal is higher. This has been well exploited by entrepreneurs of higher education as the demand for further higher education is fuelled by future chances of better employability. This is there for both categories (i) in the job and (ii) likely to join the job pool. Not going further detail into it, one can simply say industry and society at large always expect employability and skill sets are industry worthy with investment in higher education. This is across all sectors i.e. manufacturing and service. It is expected when you face interviews or challenges of serving your organizations. It is a normal trend to believe higher education is for better adaptability to jobs and providing further dimensions to it.
Price is there, but time is more important
Higher education has opportunity costs in terms of time that it consumes. It is more defined when you are already a part of legally defined labour pool by your age and willingness for availability. So you are sacrificing these likely earning opportunities with respect to availability of jobs. Now for many (when they are around 20 yrs) time factor may not mean much. Well in that case just think of money that is involved given that subsidy is zero. Well jobs are as always is market determined. Depending on growth and the phase of business cycles you may have different waiting period. Besides there are structural changes/ shift in the economy, innovations to alter the demand for labour. Not to lose heart here, they mostly require short term courses to reorient their skillets. Indian IT industry is undergoing similar changes. There are big structural changes within the sectors and adaptability to new demand may not be uniform across professionals. This is more an outcome of innovations providing solutions to the market. The challenges are aggravated by immigration policies, fiscal and corporate policies of foreign governments too.
More important question is degree of differential in dynamism between two markets (market and consumer choices) and offerings of educational system. No matter markets try to stay ahead as consumer choices are exercised with the proliferation of information and alternatives. There are both challenges and bottlenecks for both. An interesting case develops here for all. Labours know the finite amount in terms of money and time. Both are voluntary decisions, may or may not involve future loan burden etc. But time cannot be replaced. Labour is disappointed if his skill sets , decision making power is not positively enhanced as he/she has to face world one day or other and enact the role of responsible family member and more importantly pay back to society. In higher education the delivery part is the most important rather than the degree.
Institutions to be known by delivery mechanisms
Delivery part is where the institution comes. Institutions to be favored are the ones who boast of those agile mindsets which bring out those preparedness and thoughts in the students. Research is ongoing part in the whole delivery system. Faculty base understand the depth of the theory, applicability and degree of adaptability to different scenarios across time and geographical zones when they take it to society. Not only the straight forward solutions envisaged as efficient is to be known , the other best feasible strategies and outcomes are to be analysed and extrapolated. Labour involved both mental preparedness and physical endurance in the fields/ factory is to be assessed.
Every risk taker is a good worker first. Feedbacks on above points have the capacity increase our entrepreneurial ability as more home grown solutions are developed and services are rendered. India needs more of these. In a nutshell, it is the nature of the higher education that is more important. In no case it can be segregated from research irrespective of the grade of the institute.
Beyond current revenue to patents, innovations and leaders
Higher education is more knowledge and more preparedness. It is disappointing to hear 75% of engineering graduates, MBAs woefully lack skills. This figure would reduce by 25-30% given that research element; market feasibility had been added to the skill-sets of the stakeholders including teachers and institutions. Higher education need not be discriminatory, but definitely has to be meritorious in delivering. Research is mostly intangible, ongoing and involves cost. Both private and government support is needed. Many researches cannot start if one demands for successful commercial angle. Sustainability issues of institutions of higher education cannot be limited to current revenue rather to patents, innovations and leaders that they produce.
Assimilate market dynamics in labor force
Employment enjoys dynamic positive relations with higher education which continuously assimilate research values. Employment volume, pattern and return continuously change with time. Primary sectors or necessity goods sector no more hold their sway as in past. Manufacturing has edged past primary sector in return to labour. Now service sector is more powerful in India. Inside dynamics is continuously changing.
Current wage gaps in across all sectors serve clues for future gaps and requirement. Extending product and service lifecycle management is as important as creative disruptions and destructions for continuing employment numbers and adding to it. Scope of more creation of jobs in primary and manufacturing sectors is less. Now machines are competing with humans for jobs. Employing these machines in jobs of repetitive nature and at the expense of regular employees, we find more being lost to these machines. Jobless growth is going to be more severe with more successful infusion of artificial intelligence. It is definite to create future structural imbalances in employment.
Cost and Return to Education
It is difficult to predict cost and return to education when there is heavy concentration of capital in the hands of few and artificial intelligence driven robots are there. At human level we see more protective policies even by US to safeguard jobs for natural citizens. The cycle appears curious with investment in research and spread of higher education.