By Sandeep G., SASTRA Deemed University, Thanjavur.

GDP is the indicator of the economic strength of every Country. Presently, all nations compete with each other to increase their economic strength, by domestically formulating highly feasible economic policies and entering into treaties with various other nations. However, an encounter against the prevalent illiteracy rate in India has, since time immemorial, been the need of the hour. Sustainable Development is essential to strengthen the interdependence among the nations. Every Country has been categorized as developed, developing or underdeveloped, depending on its economic strength in the world. The fact that education is a major contributor to a nation’s growth in terms of everything, is undeniable.

The Sustainable Development Goal-4 (SDG-4) aims at fulfilling the promise of universal primary and secondary education and 26 million new primary school teachers are vitally desired by 2030, for that purpose. The Declaration shows the commitment of the BRICS Nations towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG-4) – Education 2030, which aims to ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.

From a pragmatic perspective, it is hard to achieve equality in the distribution of resources at the grass root level, but there can be equality among nations in terms of their economic stance. The Declaration includes objectives centred around enhancing multilingualism, to promote history and culture, supporting sharing of resources to reshape the educational infrastructure through collusion under the BRICS Network University Model for professionalizing education, strengthening coaction and responsiveness in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, streamlining cooperation among Think Tanks and researchers, supporting the organisation of youth winter or summer camps to bolster communication and cultural exchanges amongst the youth belonging to BRICS member States, thereby strategizing to achieve the aim of SDG-4 by 2030.

The flow of information from one nation to another is not helpful enough, unless the information falls within the comprehensive ability of its receiver. The text or information produced in the original language always has higher significance and better interpretation of thoughts. Though translation assists in converting the information produced in a foreign language in terms of indigenous language, the translated information is not as explanatory and sensible as the information produced in the original language. Contextual interpretations and perceptivity continue to change and they depend on one’s knowledge of languages. If different languages are learnt by people, they can comprehend the information produced in those languages in their original sense without any discrepancies. The statistics based on the 2015 report by UNESCO, show that the literacy rate in Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, were 92.6%, 96.4%, 72.1%, 99.7%, 94.3% respectively. Although India is the fastest growing economy in the world, it can be explicitly stated that India’s literacy rate is low by a huge margin in comparison to the other member States and it is less than the world average literacy rate of 84%. India’s literacy rate must grow faster than the world average, to achieve the aim of SDG-4 by 2030.

Professionalization of every occupation requires rationalization of education.  A majority of Indians are accustomed to traditions and seem to be incredibly attached to their religious beliefs. Hence, this rationalization of education, must not lead to people’s faith being disregarded. If such an attempt is made by the educational Think Tanks or the government, the religious people, especially the people belonging to rural sections, would prefer sticking onto their religious beliefs, rather than opting for rationalizing their minds. Therefore, understanding the history of traditional beliefs and cultural differences by people of different origins is necessary for a triumphant situation. In other words, the educational policy framers must know about the kind of policy that would be fit to boost the education of people belonging to varied regions, considering factors like their culture, beliefs, conscience, customs, etc.

The techniques adopted to impart education continue to be dynamic and sensitive to the changing circumstances nationally as well as globally. Nevertheless, the techniques adopted may not suit every person in a nation, on account of which, he/she prospers by choosing any other technique being practised overseas or such person may choose to pursue higher studies in some other Country, considering the relatively higher standard of education in the Country of his/her choice. Strengthening of cooperation with other member States possessing a higher literacy rate, would help in increasing the ease of learning and will in turn improve the standard of education in India. Consequently, this shall cause an upsurge in the literacy rate of our Country.

Mere gaining and sharing of knowledge are valueless pursuits, unless one understands its applicability. TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) seeks to provide knowledge and skills for employment. TVET uses formal, non-formal and informal learning techniques. It has been recognised as a crucial vehicle for social equity, inclusion and sustainable development. Strengthening the cooperation among the member States, through the TVET model by sharing technical expertise in respect of employment and entrepreneurship would help promote awareness of different methods of work and business atmospheres. Enhancing the skills of potential workers and youth in respect of employment and entrepreneurship at a global level, opens up the doors for them internationally. In other words, if the TVET is provided by China to the youth of our Country, there will be better possibility for them to get adapted to the work culture in China.

Establishing Think Tanks and R&D (Research and Development) Centres by other member States in India and by India in other nations would culminate in a greater contribution to innovation and technological advancement. In the list of R&D spenders (country-wise), South Africa stands at 30th position whereas the other four nations are situated in the top 10. In view of this, it is possible to state that South Africa would be the greatest beneficiary of the strengthening cooperation between the member States in relation to Research and Development. In addition to this, there shall be a flow of entrepreneurial ideas and establishment of foreign firms, which would generate employment and boost the economies of all the member States.

China sounded persuasive in recognising the significance of the BRICS Think Tank Council (hereinafter referred to as the BTTC) to permit the exchange of strategies and ideas, for the development and greater good of the five nations. The BTTC will endeavour to enhance cooperation in research, knowledge sharing, capacity building and policy advice amongst the Think Tanks located in BRICS countries. The members of the BTTC are Observer Research Foundation (India), China Centre for Contemporary World Studies (China), National Committee for BRICS Research (Russia), Institute for Applied Economic Research (Brazil) and Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa). Every educational policy has to be formulated in such a manner that the impact in the field of education in all the five nations shall be progressive. Therefore, such formulation would help a nation to parallelly grow with the other BRICS countries.

Multilingualism, as mentioned earlier in the article, would help build awareness about the history, beliefs and other customs of people belonging to all the member States. This, in turn, will help individuals belonging to these countries in developing a sense of respect, towards the differences prevalent between the natives and foreigners. Consequently, the BRICS members States will move from the idea of Competition to Contribution. In view of the significance of this BRICS Summit, a similar declaration inviting the participation of all the other nations is vitally desired.