A nation’s education system is deemed to be one of the most vital pillars of a strong societal structure, and is equally responsible for economic growth. Almost all nations across the world have developed their unique models of education after synchronizing the same with their socio-economic structures. But amidst all, the Western education system since the last few decades has developed and transformed itself as one of the most flexible and most accommodative systems of education. The fact that the Western education system is renowned globally, drawing tens of thousands of students from developing nations, is because of its higher funding and prudent administration.

America holds exemplary credentials on this account. One of the first things that the United States did during its developmental years was to invest handsomely on education to create world-class academic institutions. As a cascading effect, the country slowly but surely developed an immense talent and skill base that became one of the key drivers of rapid industrialization and economic growth witnessed from the 19th century onwards in the nation. Even today, the best talent from across the world is attracted to United States because of the nation’s superior educational system and the resulting employment opportunities thereafter. Similarly, Western Europe too treaded the same path, although on a lower scale compared to United States, both in terms of the quality of education and the investment on institutions.

However, in this race for attracting the cream of global talent, the United States is running out of steam as the pressure of sustained recession is taking a huge toll on academic funding. If in 2009, a benchmark year, the US Department of Education’s discretionary funding on education was $155.4 billion, the same in 2013 is $65.7 billion, a shocking drop of $90 billion. The latest report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which brings out an yearly analysis of education funding in the United States, mentions that 26 states in America are reducing their education investment per student in 2013, while 35 states are still investing at levels that are below the pre-recession levels. The report mentions that this has resulted in hundreds of thousands of job losses in the education sector in the past few years, especially hurting the low-income groups in America further as many important school programs targeted at these communities have been the first to be purged. Many schools, colleges and universities have closed down their educational units, augmented fees, abolished extra-curricular activities and even research facilities that were pivotal to drive the innovation fuelling the US economy and its top position in global academia.
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An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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