An abundant supply of low wage, unskilled labor is no longer a route to rapid growth and national prosperity. In today’s world, characterized by intense global competition and rapid technological change, the key to prosperity is a well-educated, technically skilled workforce producing high value added, knowledge intensive goods and services, employed in private enterprises that have the managerial capacity to find, adapt, and adopt modern, up-to-date technology and sell sophisticated goods and services in global markets.
Education for the Knowledge Economy.Producing knowledge intensive, technologically sophisticated, higher value goods and services is not possible without a trained management cadre and labor force with the appropriate mix of technical and vocational skills. Among other things, this requires (i) scientists with the skills needed to conduct appropriate R&D, (ii) engineers and skilled craftsmen to evaluate technology and adapt it for use in the enterprise, and (iii) skilled technicians who will actually utilize the technology in the production process. Vocational, secondary and tertiary education must all contribute to turning out graduates with the necessary skills. Moreover, since the skills required by today’s labor market may not be the same as those that will be required in the future, a process of life long learning must be built into the education system. And at all levels and life-cycle stages, the education system must work with the private sector to understand and respond to its needs.