India needs to revamp and improve its higher education system to take advantage of the declining working age population in developed countries like the US and European nations, former NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagryia said on Wednesday.
“The global picture… what is happening really is that the populations in most of the countries are ageing, and as a part of this working age population — 15 to 64 — is declining in most of the major countries. It’s going to decline in China, the United States and European nations,” he said. India is really going to be the only large country aside from Africa, which would be contributing positively to the working age group of the world, he said at the release event of the report titled ‘The Rise of India’s Middle Class’.
Citing the United Nations Population Division numbers, he said, India would be adding something close to 150 million individuals in the working age population category 15 to 64 by 2040. Given the shortages that could occur in the rest of the world, he said, clearly Indian population will be the global workforce.”This is where I think transition that is happening to the middle class that is going to be really very critical, because that is the population from which a lot of would migrate. Therefore, it is extremely important for India to revamp its higher education system, because there would be global demand of more educated workforce,” he said.
It makes it even more urgent to reform the higher education system, improve the quality of education, because ultimately India is going to be defining the global workforce. “It also seems to me that the acceptance of the Indian diaspora in the country of destination, generally, is much higher than perhaps the most of the countries because we culturally have tremendous power to assimilate in whichever local population into which we go,” he said. Despite anti-immigration policies etc., he said, “I don’t believe that it’s going to be able to stop the flow of the workforce. Demand is going to be so much stronger”.