Educational Planning and Economic Growth
The 1950s was an era of intense global economic activity. This was the initial period of decolonisation. The new nations were faced with the challenges of nation-building and economic reconstruction. Achieving high levels of economic growth was believed to be the magic wand for national reconstruction. This was also the historical experience of advanced countries. Arthur Lewis was in the forefront of this thesis, A.O. Hirschman, Dudley Seers being others. Leontiff had also suggested a model, input-output model, to achieve high rates of economic growth.
Scarcity of resources, in particular capital, was a major constraint for developing countries including India in making investments required for achieving growth.Needs of the economy were enormous and goals of nation-building, as revealed in the Indian case in its Constitution adopted in 1950, were noble. There were several competing demands from society. Infrastructure for development – roads, railways, ports, aerodromes, communication, transport, financial institutions, markets, energy and power – were very poor. Added to this, illiteracy, infant mortality, maternal mortality and morbidity were very high while life-expectancy and enrolment rates in schools were very low. Demands from several sectors and sub-sectors such as agriculture, irrigation, industry were co-existing with those of health, education, housing, drinking water supply and sanitation.
Public spending came under a cloud – whether the limited resources of the State be devoted to growth–oriented sectors or frittered away on welfare of the people was the issue. Education was treated as a welfare/consumption sector. Even within the education sector there were competing demands across adult education, school education and higher education. Within the levels – say school education – there were competing demands across programmes such as opening of new schools, supply of teachers, school buildings, equipments, etc. It is in this scenario that developing countries began to think about planning in general and educational planning in particular.