Education and Training in Economic Development
Education and Training in Economic Development by Dr. H. Ian Macdonald Chairman of the Commonwealth of Learning and President Emeritus, York University, Toronto, Canada, Paper prepared for The Commonwealth Business Council, July 1, 2001 // Recently, during a visit to a primary school in Male, The Maldives, a poster on the library wall caught my eye: // "One who reads and writes never has to ask for bread" // This caused me to ponder what I have always regarded as axiomatic (no doubt the product of a Scottish heritage) - education, if not an ultimate guarantee of progress, can certainly make life better. And, like the twin-headed Janus of classical mythology, it can do so in two ways. Education, as an end in itself, can add to personal fulfillment, but it also provides the tools for a more productive life. The key, of course, is access to knowledge and knowledge has always been the principal ingredient in human progress. The all too frequent blandishments that we now live in a knowledge society and economy does a disservice to all previous ages since the invention of the wheel, but we know what is meant. Even more than land, natural resources and capital, knowledge will determine who wins the world's race. Thus, education and training are the jet engines of economic development.