Transforming Developing Regions: Teaching Creativity and Industry-Relevant Skills

In recent years, globalisation has played a very crucial role in bridging the wide gap between the industrialised economies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Europe with that of the developing countries of Africa and Asia. In this way, it has allowed these countries to catch up and hasten the process of international integration with the interchange of ideas and world views. Its socio-economic impact has brought rapid developments that changed the role of education in nation-building.

In this sense, it would be virtually impossible for developing countries to compete and not be left behind without rethinking the approach and emphasis of education. This is why developing countries, with their rich natural resources and young demographic profile, should invest in educational technology and emphasise training people with a wide array of industry-relevant skills that are suited to their country’s needs. In the long run, a pool of talented workforce would be put to good use in every aspect of economic development so that a typically agrarian and low-to-medium-scale industrial society will reach its full potential of becoming a modern, highly industrialised country that it has sought to achieve.

Socio-economic progress has changed the fortune of countries and there were success stories to speak of: it took the United Kingdom 250 years of the Industrial Revolution to achieve what it is today while China only took about 25 years to reach that comparative industrial development. Although the playing field is now globalized, competition is so intense that countries big and small have to reinvent themselves in order to meet the challenges of the global marketplace. Education is constantly evolving as we invent new things, develop new ideas and discover new things around us. This sea of change has pushed developing countries to integrate education into their long-term economic policies with the goal of producing highly-skilled citizens to match the growing demands of globalisation, a phenomenon that stresses the importance of creativity, innovation, versatility, flexibility, and knowledge.

Developing countries are often plagued with political instabilities, corruption, and economic inefficiency that industrialised countries tend to capitalise. A complete transformation would mean educational reform goes hand-in-hand with long-term economic policies. That means an economic demand should be met when a country produces valuable human resources – a highly-skilled workforce for a specific growth industry. Otherwise, developing countries would suffer massive brain drain like that of the Philippines and Mexico. Even if a developing country has the ideal workforce, this talented manpower will likely fall prey to another globalisation by-product – outsourcing. Despite its rich natural resources, many countries are exploited with skilled local labour doing the dirty work for these foreign companies and ultimately helping bigger corporations grow while hampering the domestic industries. Education ends up becoming diploma mills by producing specifically skilled people that are often lower paying as compared to their counterparts in other countries.

In retrospect, it has always been a struggle for developing countries to compete with the bigger guys. We can say that developing countries would forever be dependent on foreign investments in order to stay afloat in this globalized world order. Transformation is a complicated process, a double-edged sword, and a delicate balancing act to say the least. We clearly understand that emphasis on creativity and industry skills in the educational system can prepare people to become productive members of society and a productive society can spur socio-economic growth. But as long as these highly-skilled citizens are not utilised properly on the economic front then every country will fall victim to the ugly head of globalisation: brain drain and outsourcing. It’s only a matter of time before the developing world catches up.

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