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The Gathering Storm Can India Safeguard Itself From The Competes Act?

Written by: Tanushree Pande & Aditya Bhattacharya - 2nd yr National Law Institute University, Bhopal
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It may seem a very distant threat but India and China are nearing a storm which may slowly and steadily engulf the strength of the developing nations. The America Competes Act (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) passed by United States senate can be a major legislative weapon which may leave the Indian Human Resources in a high and dry situation. The America Competes Act which is a creation of a number of reports and legislation such as the Innovative America Report , National Competitiveness Investment Act, American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006 and Protecting America’s Competitive Edge Through Energy Act of 2006 works through a tri-model approach : (1) increasing research investment, (2) strengthening educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary through graduate school, and (3) developing innovative infrastructure in the field of education.

Through the Act the funding of National Science Foundation has been doubled from $5.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2006 to $11.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2011, the funding of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will increase from $703 million to $937 million, the basic research facilities of NASA will be given a greater funding. Apart from funding, the Act heavily emphasizes on the improving the existing educational model being followed in United Sates of America, competitive grants are being provided to align the primary, elementary and secondary education, post-graduate programmes are being revamped and the concept of education through National Laboratories is being introduced to provide better scientific training. The students are being trained in their post-graduate courses in such a manner that they are willing to take up teaching as a profession. Further the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs are being heavily expanded to bring in more people and work force under the American purview.

What makes the America Competes Act unique is the innovative approach of blending education and human resources in a single model and further injecting it with so much of funds that the Educational infrastructure grows automatically. In India such a piece of legislation has never been enacted, our education programmes and the legislations are dealing with basic educational facilities but have not been able to implement a technique by which the already educated citizens can be further trained. The government is allocating funds to IITs and IIMs but is not funding the research programmes that are being carried out by these institutions. Whereas, the Competes Act in USA blends in education and studies related “innovation” in public and private sector through a council on innovation and competitiveness. The National Laboratories of our country are not being used for training the students and our education boards have no affiliation with International Educational Boards. But one thing which adds a bitter icing to the rotten cake is that we are not encouraging students to be teachers, we are lacking a qualified teaching force that can actually train the already educated individuals of our country. So we are educating the uneducated masses but then we are not tapping the aptitude of the already educated people.

With the implementation of the Competes Act more and more students in U.S.A would be trained to take up speciality jobs in the IT sectors and Bio-medical industries. These areas have been dominated by Indians and Chinese since a long –long time but with the implementation of this Act less and less of Asians would be required. In India the age old problem of brain drain may be slightly decreased but then the demand for Indian Work Force would slowly decline in the International Workforce Arena, we will see less and less visas will be allocated to Asians in North America. No longer will an Engineer or a Doctor or a Professor be required in the developed countries.

In India quality academic institutions are still working through various acts like the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) work as per the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 1963, all the policy implementation and the funding takes place through Central government, other than that we also have the National Institute of Technology (NITs) which are all state funded, same pattern follows for the medical colleges and the law colleges in India, infact the law colleges in India are all state run with independent state acts like National Law School of India Act (Karnataka Act 22 of 1986) for NLSIU, Bangalore and Act No. 41 of 1997 of the Madhya Pradesh Legislature for NLIU, Bhopal.

These institutions are providing world class facilities and training but then if all the educational institutions are taken as a whole and a holistic approach is taken into consideration then these educational institutions are not exactly helping because the legislations are focusing on microscopic minority of institutions and students and when we see the overall quality of the policy decisions that have been taken in the field of education then we see that the funds allocated have been irregular and the legislations have failed to create educational infrastructure that is actually required in India. We have had judicial activism in the field of environmental laws and human rights but when we talk about education the Judiciary and the Legislations have failed to support Indian Educational framework. If the overall educational policies in India are revamped in the same model as provided by the Competes Act then the present issues of ‘reservation’ and ‘affirmative action’ can be rectified because the overall standard of education will increase, even low profile educational institutions will provide good standard of education and training, and we will be able to provide a better breed of superior human recourses.

The Competes Act in United States of America involves the State laboratories and NASA in the educational framework, which is absolutely missing in India. Instead of having separate pieces of legislations we must have a single legislation which must deal with educational institutions and human resources and merge them together to provide a better bread of work force and create better infrastructure in the field of education. Unlike USA, India already has all the intellect, what is required is a superior piece of legislations which can bind all the aspects of educational policies and create a better intellectual fabric that competes with the world.

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