Click to watch Conway A. Jeffress -
Click to watch Conway A. Jeffress -
asia resources

Need an office in Asia? Office suites, meeting rooms, virtual offices, network access

free downloads
CHINA: "Inside the Dragon: Outsourcing destinations in China" report

CHINA: "Inside the Dragon: Outsourcing destinations in China" report. 72-page report by KPMG China.

proceed to download

back to index backASIAtalk May,  2007

China's Lesson for India

While China is renowned as a manufacturing juggernaut, the role of education in the country’s economic success goes largely unnoticed. As Cheng Hu argues, India must also make education a centerpiece of its economic strategy if it hopes to eventually be competitive with its giant neighbor to the East.

I still remember vividly how speechless I was when my Indian colleague told me that in some public schools in India, teachers never or seldom show up.

If the same thing were to happen in any village in China, the irresponsible teachers would be living in contempt of the villagers. And the villagers would keep pressuring the authorities until the teachers were removed or fired altogether.

Education and success

This is partly because most Chinese parents — no matter whether they are living in Shanghai or in an inland village — are adamantly convinced that a solid education is the only way to guarantee success.

For many peasants, their children are their only hope. They are willing to toil hard — whether on rice paddies or in sweat shops — as long as their children get a better education.

On the other hand, the government goes to great lengths to ensure that a quality basic education of at least nine years is available to every child. The result is that — as far as the training of mathematics, science and Chinese literature is concerned — a junior high school graduate in a rural village gets as rigorous an education as his peers in Shanghai.

Global manufacturing center

Along with solid basic infrastructure, a good basic education system is the cornerstone of China's success in becoming a global manufacturing center.

Every year, millions of humble-looking country boys and girls take the trains from their hometowns and travel to coastal areas looking for jobs. Usually, they quickly end up in the manufacturing plants. They fit in comfortably in their new places and work diligently.

Moving up in the world

After a couple of years, many of them convert themselves into technicians, supervisors, sales people, businessmen and women — and even entrepreneurs. All this would not have been possible without the quality basic education they received from the schools in their villages.

Often, from media I hear people dismiss manufacturing as a sheer low-tech economic activity. Many people believe if they can build a plant, all it takes to get production up and running is to gather a couple of peasants from the countryside.

While this is possible in a theoretical sense, from a practical standpoint the company would incur enormous losses due to poor quality products. Just check out what companies ask when they are hiring production workers in China. High school diploma? Good! Junior high? We will think about it. Elementary school only? No way!

Educated workers, work better

Usually, a manufacturing job requires basic scientific knowledge, logical thinking and some verbal and written communication skills. The fact of the matter is that a worker with a solid basic education simply works better.

Many people, myself included, are amazed at how fast China has moved up the value-added chain. The products churned out by the Chinese companies are much more sophisticated and of better quality than they were ten years ago.

The sexy side of manufacturing

One of the major explanations for this is that total quality management (TQM) has since become a prevalent practice in China. Everyone who has ever worked with TQM knows it takes great attention and input from the floor workers to make TQM work.

Sure, manufacturing sounds very unsexy” in the context of a knowledge-based economy. It may be shrinking in relative size, but it remains the base of any economy. After all, it provides the products for society to consume. In addition, the workers earn income — which fosters domestic consumption and stimulates the services industry.

In fact, many service industries are directly linked to the manufacturing industry. As evidence of that, consider that manufacturing clusters all around the world are supported by technical service centers, consulting centers, commerce centers and financial centers.

Furthermore, production also spurs innovation. Let us not forget that the United States became a world center of innovation only long after it had become a world center of manufacturing by the turn of the 19th century.

Lessons for India

As China’s recent success as a worldwide manufacturing juggernaut has demonstrated, a rigorous universal education system is necessary for economic development.

This is a lesson India should take to heart. While many commentators bemoan India’s lack of infrastructure as the main factor preventing it from becoming an economic powerhouse, it is not the only one.

A poor basic education system is a less obvious but even more imperative problem that demands a solution. Without a quality schooling system, the industrialization of India will continue to lag behind that of its giant neighbor to the East.

Source: The GlobalistGAI

previous page

go top

search our site



Other articles from the same issue (May,  2007).

The War for Talent in China and India
play read on

China Issues: M&A Series No. 1
play read on

Asia: still on top
play read on

Korea Embraces The Rising Won
play read on

Japan Is Booming While Korea Languishes
play read on

Sourcing hotspots
play read on

Toyota to Open School in Bangalore to Train Future Engineers and Managers
play read on

China's Lesson for India
play read on

Global R&D: Where to place the bets?
play read on

Big beneficiaries of Korea Free Trade Agreement might just be Japanese makers in U.S.
play read on

India breaks into top 10 M&A league
play read on

India becoming more attractive for FDI
play read on

Asia's economic giants say yes to currency deals
play read on

Access to Asia-Pacific crucial for Canada, PM says in announcing new projects
play read on

Korean CEOs the Highest Paid in Asia Pacific
play read on

Korea Job Losses in Manufacturing Too Fast: KCCI
play read on

Asians on the job front, armed with lies
play read on

India shines but executives still paid less
play read on

Multi-cultural coaching initiative enhances the success rate of global integration efforts
play read on

Six Secrets to a Better Corporate Video
play read on

Our Free eJournals

To visit GlobalAutoExperts Directory, click here.

©2008 | HCI Group, Ltd.
101 West Big Beaver Road, Suite 1400 | Troy, MI 48084 USA
USA Tel: +1.248.687.1060 | USA Fax: +1.248.927.0347
Fax UK: +44.(0)845.127.4765 | Fax Europe: +31.20.524.1659 | Fax Asia: +852.3015.8120