Editorial and commentary

Importance of university education


Although higher education and development has not been a priority in global policy, since the millennium goal, but most governments have become believers in the global knowledge economy and higher education enrolment growth has been phenomenal.

According to International Journal of Education Development, it offered an original account of how higher education institutions contribute to economic development by drawing on evolutionary economics and the national innovation systems approach.

This offers distinct advantages in conceptualizing higher education’s developmental role, through its stress on the importance of education, skills, work, innovation and production for economic development.

Using these concepts, we better examine how well South African higher education is positioned to contribute to economic development through a consideration of two case studies from astronomy and automotives. This highlights the importance of the intersection between global, national, sectorial and spatial dimensions of the education—economic development relationship.

Many studies have proved that University education is more than the next level in the learning process; it is a critical component of human development worldwide. It provides not only the high-level skills necessary for every labor market but also the training essential for teachers, doctors, nurses, civil servants, engineers, humanists, entrepreneurs, scientists, social scientists, and a myriad of other personnel.

It is these trained individuals who develop the capacity and analytical skills that drive local economies, support civil society, teach children, lead effective governments, and make important decisions which affect entire society

The recent World Bank study Globalization, Growth, and Poverty: Building an Inclusive World Economy, by David Dollar and Paul Collier, describes how 24 developing countries that integrated themselves more closely into the global economy experienced higher economic growth, a reduced incidence of poverty, a rise in the average wage, an increased share of trade in gross domestic product, and improved health outcomes. These countries simultaneously raised their rates of participation in higher education.



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