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Global Indians – Raising Children Who Straddle Indian and Global Worlds

Global indians
“Obama is not a racist when he talks about placing restrictions on US jobs going to Indians. We just have him running scared!” exclaims Arjun Doshi, a Grade X student of Hillspring International School, Mumbai. When President Obama launched the ‘Race to the Top’ fund and the “Education to Innovate” initiative in 2009, he was investing in education that he realised would be necessary if Americans were to take on the Indians and the Chinese in the race for jobs. Since then Obama has also advised that Americans focus their educational efforts on improving the quality of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) if they are to stay globally competitive. Closer to home too, similar concerns are being raised about the quality of education in India.

Many critics of the Indian education system hail the arrival of international curricula in India as the beacon that is going to light the way and show parents how an entire generation of Indians can be ‘globalised’. At least, that’s what we thought when we set out to write this article – what does it take to raise Indian children who straddle both Indian and global worlds? We were prepared for disillusionment, complaints and a tendency to reach out to the west for something better. Happily enough, our hypothesis was disproved! ParentEdge spoke to a wide range of people – teachers, parents, school principals, students and educational leaders – to understand if and how the Indian ethos and education system is contributing to the growth of ‘global Indians’, and the result was quite revealing. We invite you to discover it for yourself….

In Researching this Article, ParentEdge Conducted Extensive Interviews with Principals of Schools, Educational Leaders, Teachers and Parents. We Also Organised Group Discussions with the Students of Three Schools In Bangalore and Mumbai, In An Effort To Understand the Youth’s Perspective on this Topic..

It’s a great time to be Indian! With the ‘flat world’ theory gaining ground, it does seem that India is poised to be an economic giant and wrest power out of the hands of our ‘betters’. A recent study by Egon Zehnder of S&P 500 companies found that there are more Indian CEOs than any other nationality, except American, in this list.

Two professors from Wharton and the China Europe International Business School studied C-suite executives in the 2009 Fortune 500 list and found that the list featured 13 Indians. And it’s not just at top echelons of business – the 27 million global desis scattered around the world are also making a mark for themselves and earning dollars, pounds, euros and yen on par with anyone else.

World Bank figures show a dramatic increase of almost 162% in the remittance that India receives from overseas Indians over the last eight years, from $21 billion in 2003 to $55 billion in 2010. In fact, in 2010, India received the highest remittance compared with any other country in the world! In other fields too, whether chess, tennis, music or art, Indians are gaining respect and recognition the world over. It is an exciting era for the current generation of Indian children.

The world is their oyster; opportunities abound as they are exposed to a whole new world and cultivate an increasingly global outlook. And this global outlook is not just about brands and dressing style – it is an awareness of the world around them, an appreciation of the different cultures and the confidence that they have an important role to play. While they have ambitions to make it big in the global playing field, they simultaneously retain their ‘Indian-ness’, its values and ethos, educational and otherwise. There is a growing consensus that this is a desired state of affairs – a winning combination that will help them be successful in today’s dynamic and global economy.

Defining ‘Indian-ness’
But what is this Indian-ness? How would you define it? Can it even be defined easily? Surprisingly, it seems it can! Our respondentswere very clear on what it means to be Indian, and how this Indian-ness can help them succeed in the global arena.


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