03 June Saturday

Transforming Kerala into a Knowledge Economy: The Way Forward

ABIN RAJ R. S.Updated: Tuesday Jul 26, 2022

Renaissance in Kerala was implemented through the growth in education. To present this idea Sree Narayana Guru had said, “Liberate through Education”. Ayyankali said to Mahatma Gandhi at Venganoor in January 1937 “I would like to die after seeing 10 graduates in my community”. The first Government of E.M.S which made the educational facilities common throughout Kerala has also 22 done this. Another revolution in education is inevitable for the next leap of Kerala Society also The State Government has strict limitations on decision-making in a federal system. However, the measures adopted by Kerala were widely appreciated. We scripted a new chapter of survival from everything. The world viewed with awe the willpower of the people who were not ready to yield.

The chief minister announced that the aim of this change is to make Kerala a knowledge society. The thought of what is meant by 'knowledge society' is very relevant. Knowledge or knowing has a wide range of meanings in new educational thought. It was not until the nineties that the core difference between information and knowledge began to be seriously discussed. Until then, information itself was largely understood as knowledge and Teachers were the custodians of this information when information technology was not widespread. Therefore, Thomas Alva Edison's discovery of the electric bulb was not information but knowledge for the students of that time. However, as world information became available at the fingertips of people through technology, teachers became irrelevant in the sense of custodians of information, and the notion that they should lead the creation of knowledge through analytical reasoning using the available information became widespread. Here information becomes the 'raw material' for knowledge creation. However, with the realization that this raw material of information is not something that occurs naturally in the world but is constructed, the authenticity of available information is being questioned and knowledge construction is becoming a political process beyond academic discourse.

We shall be very careful on certain crucial issues during the conceptualisation of a knowledge economy. Digital Capabilities should be made available to everyone. In other words, the digital divide should be eliminated. Innovations should be interwoven in to all avenues, leveraging the rich experiences of people from all sectors, including agriculture. In such a society, the knowledge will be recreated perpetually.
Now In detail knowledge economy is based on intellectual wealth in a social context where knowledge production is more important. In this the means of production, medium of exchange, commodity and capital will all be wisdom. This is the system where the difference between technology and science is most pronounced. Historically, it can be seen that the system has been developed through the growth of technology. But knowledge is more important in the system of knowledge. Meaning wisdom will be more important than technology. A society in which this characteristic exists is a society of knowledge and Keralites are now living in a transitional phase towards that - There is another peculiarity in this system ie Since Capital wisdom is completely invisible and abstract exploitation will also be invisible.

Agrarian economy is the first economy. There, agriculture and agricultural production were important, i.e. it is a system developed depending on agricultural production and agricultural products. The occupation and education of that time were according to that system, research, social thoughts and cultural interactions were all based on agricultural culture. Therefore, it was possible to maintain the ecological balance at that time. As a result, the weather was balanced that day.
Later, technological knowledge grew, techniques developed, development perspectives changed and then the industrial revolution took place and modern industries depended on agricultural products. New industrial products emerged, their markets expanded, and commoditization increased. As a result commoditization and marketization of agriculture also increased.

All these were good signs of the birth of the industrial age, and the industrial economy grew alongside the market-oriented agricultural economy. There were some changes in the purpose of capital and again technology progressed and free industrial economy was formed. Along with this we have seen in history the complete marketization of the agricultural sector - banking and service sectors have also undergone changes accordingly. As part of the above changes, there were various movements in the political, social and cultural fields , Visible changes were also seen in the environment. The industrial age drove the environment in a direction enough to upset the balance. This is how society evolved from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy.

Technology has grown again…
Investigations and researches started to go into detail, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and microbiology developed very quickly, followed by information technology and IT. Information technology has changed to the point where the magical field of region has grown rapidly and everything is at the fingertips.

This was the beginning of the information technology era. The information technology revolution advanced by surprising all other achievements (Information age) and thus the economy based on information revolution came into being. According to this, there were serious changes in the agricultural and industrial sectors, changes in the humanities, environment and educational methods came with time and the modern era was born, judging by history, the truth is that it was the era of the modern market. It was a shift from an industrial economy to an information technology economy.

Needless to say, this era is passing and the economy based on information technology is disappearing. The investigation is also moving rapidly in a new direction. New means of production, capital and weapons of exploitation have been discovered. That is knowledge. Society is moving from information to knowledge and then to knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, imperialism is consciously trying to build a knowledge-based economy. It is the system of using wisdom to reach the highest level of exploitation.

A sophisticated economy where inequality is highest, job losses are high, poverty is high, and environmental problems are increasing. Capitalism is on its last legs. They misunderstand that the crisis of capitalism can be overcome by exploiting the working class and nature by patenting even the knowledge that is the foundation of nature. But the crisis is only getting worse. A knowledge economy is an economy in which capitalism reaches insurmountable crises

The field of education also grew by incorporating the peculiarities of each system. Education was aimed at agricultural work and research in a society moving towards an agricultural economy. The aim of the idea generation at that time was agricultural growth. Later in the industrial age the mode of education changed. Marketization in education has increased and governments have changed education policies over time. Feudal and colonial education is an example of these policies which did not allow human intelligence to grow to infinity. Behind us is a history of education that has turned generations into mere laborers, stifling the generation of ideas.

UNESCO itself elsewhere says that it is this knowledge society that improves the human condition all over the world. There, the learner produces scientific and technical knowledge in the best of his own abilities and confidence. This is not the production of knowledge that capitalist scholars call it. Therefore, we do not want the knowledge society that they criticize. That is why it is said that 'the hand-turned mills of feudal times being replaced by steam-powered machines in industrial times is a technological development, but it cannot be considered a social development because exploitation exists there'. The mere development of technology in that sense is not a left-wing idea. That is why the government of Kerala is willing to ensure the availability of technology in the field of public education for all, regardless of the rich or the poor. By knowledge society we mean a future society that can live in the confidence of its own abilities and advance and recognize the politics of information distribution and knowledge creation.

Renowned Economist , Former Finance Minister and CC Member of CPI(M)  Dr. Thomas Issac clearly explained that  “ Most of you are familiar with the social sector achievements of Kerala which are very well known in development literature. Despite the relatively backward economic conditions, Kerala has been able to provide much better education, healthcare and social security for its citizens. These are comparable to developed countries rather than most parts of India and this has been achieved through a process of redistribution and public action. And this redistributive strategy of growth has ensured that the honorary citizen in the state is assured of the basic needs. This very proud heritage we want to take forward. But there are problems. The economic base has remained relatively stagnant, slow growing and less productive. As a result, unemployment of the educated is the biggest developmental challenge faced by Kerala. The present employment schemes are inadequate to resolve unemployment of the educated. While the national level unemployment in the age group of 15 to 59 was 5.8 per cent in 2018-19, it was 10.4 per cent in Kerala. The main reason attributed to this is unemployment among women in Kerala. While the male unemployment rate in Kerala is 5.8 per cent, the female unemployment rate is as high as 19.1 per cent. It is shameful to note that while the labour participation rate of men is 73.5 per cent, that of women is only 28.5 per cent Therefore, there is always a concern whether this redistributive path could be sustained. Hence, there is an urgent need for a restructuring of the economic base and shift in the development path from low productivity.

We must transform to a development path which is more in tune with the resource endowment of the state, both natural and human. Therefore, we have come to the conclusion that the most suitable industrial structure would be the one dominated by knowledge intensive activities. It requires huge investment in the infrastructure, because for the last one century Kerala had focused on social sector spending. We are capital expenditure deficit. So, five years back we made a bold initiative to mobilize resources outside the budget through special purpose vehicle- Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB)- that has led to unprecedented growth in the investment for building physical infrastructure. The total amount would come to roughly half a trillion rupees. We are attempting to do two major interventions; first one is to create the global job portal. Within this small state of Kerala, the total number educated unemployed, including women who are just forced to remain in the houses would come to 5 million. So, they will be skilled through intensive program of skilling and placed on this job portal trying to make an intervention in the new drift or shift in the labor market towards say working near home or working at home. Secondly, we would also want to promote knowledge industries within the state. So, we have a very big program of promoting innovation start-ups and knowledge industries. And the basis of all this would be restructuring of the higher education in Kerala, a very bold program to change the entire higher education sector. The government aims to utilize all the possibilities created by work near home and work from home. Opportunities will be created for companies to recruit employees for centralized or decentralized jobs. An extensive scheme is being initiated to provide employment to at least 20 lakh persons through digital platforms within 5 years. Changes happened in global job market and the fame attained by Kerala in COVID defense will help in the success of this employment strategy. There was no other time the brand Kerala got discussed even among the common men. Kerala Development Innovation Strategy Council (K-DISC) will be restructured as a registered society with the Chief Minister as its Chairperson. The whole process of transforming Kerala to a knowledge economy will be coordinated and monitored by K-DISC. The knowledge economy in turn will be built on three key pillars- digital infrastructure with K-Fon at its center, a vibrant higher education system and finally the Kerala innovation society “
In the knowledge economy, education aimed at the production of knowledge is needed. But it should be read in addition to the problem that capital is trying to commodify wisdom. Methodologies that determine the limits of knowledge production are growing

Unlike this, Kerala is trying to make knowledge production comprehensive and popularize knowledge. An alternative in this direction is being formed here under the leadership of the leftist movement. This is a continuation of the alternative formation against globalization. Public education protection campaign has led Kerala in this direction. Kerala gives a rational form to resistance by introducing the modern pedagogy of techno-pedagogy. This technology-based pedagogy, which embodies criticism of the existing society, aims at the production of knowledge necessary for the creation of an egalitarian new world. Kerala is on the journey from a secular and democratic society to an enlightened society. The new world is the world of humanity. The knowledge system can also be egalitarian.

Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend !