To an economist, there is a strong correlation between a workers educational level and his productive capacity. This is further affected by other factors of production such as technology, capital investment, regulation and foreign trade. Of concern is the quality of education that institutions in countries of the world give to their future workers. Educating future workers is critical in preparing them for a more productive life in the society. Increasing the capacity for the generation and utilization of human capital in a region is one of the most important policies for regional development for a successful future economy that has high technology. An increase in human capital is the foundation on which economic growth of a country occurs. Creative institutions of learning can greatly change the ability of a region to adapt to markets that are very much fragmented, to the every day shifting competition and the technology that is experience daily advancement (Gilroy, Gries & Naude, 2005).
The critical desire of any country in the world is to become a more productive economy. Investing in the education system is one of the effective ways of spending the tax payers’ money to make long term impacts on the competitiveness and productivity of an economy. A country’s businesses, colleges and universities can effectively work together in achieving this objective. This crucial challenge can only be addressed if there is increased investment by the government in higher education and research in the universities. This calls for a highly qualified teaching staff in institutions to ensure that the quality of training they give to students meets the world standards. These institutions should also be well equipped with up to date facilities that will help the learners acquire the right practical knowledge that will help them be productive citizens in their respective countries of residence. A country’s demographics play a huge role in determining this issue. For instance in Canada, a large percentage of its population is aging. Many people in her population are nearing the retirement age and this represents a large population of Canada’s workforce. What this means is that in the near future, Canada will end up with too few workers that will not be able to meet the needs of the society and the economy at large. Countries in such a dilemma as Canada should come up with ways that will ensure a balance working force in terms of age. These should put in place mechanisms, which will ensure smooth transitions of employment opportunities, from the older generation to the younger generation, to ensure that there are no conflicting interests at any particular time in the production process. This means that the education system should be reevaluated to ensure that students graduate from the learning institutions at the right age and with proper training for the particular jobs available in the job market (Memon, Mangi & Rohra 2009).
Another important factor to be looked at in the evolution of a global competition is technology. In most global economies today, distances have become irrelevant and this therefore means that small firms and large firms can effectively compete on the global market. But as much as technology has brought more positive changes in world today, it also requires that those applying it to be sufficiently trained to effectively, efficiently and productively harness it. This also calls for advanced and up to date technology that will ensure that a country competes productively with the other economic power houses of the world. As mentioned, highly sophisticated technology with no qualified personnel to apply it will not help a company or any firm involved in production. That is why it is important for students to be adequately trained by qualified personnel. If this can not be internally sourced, then it can only be sourced from other countries that have made technological steps in the respective areas of technology. This has greatly helped Canada to improve its economic competitiveness (Anderson Ake & Anderson David, 2000).
Another important step that the government has done is to invest in the university research through granting councils and through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Because of the looming potential of a shortage of workers and also the long-term threats to the health of the economy, there is need to strengthen further and support the universities’ research capacity so that there is an enhanced transfer of discoveries in research to the communities and to the market place. This also entails the distribution of learning institutions together with businesses in the rule areas to ensure that all parts of a country are productively involved in production so that the economy of the particular country is boosted from all sectors. The Canadian economy and many other world economies depend heavily on the international trade, to keep up competition and enhance performance; there is need by businesses to find ways of creating wealth, and universities and colleges will therefore be looked upon to provide the necessary skilled manpower of highly educated people to drive the needed economic development. A home based human capital also makes sure that there is no money that is channeled out of an economy as it would happen if a country has more foreign sourced manpower. That is why a country should always strive to educate and train as many people from its own population to ensure that there will be no particular moment in time that human capital will be insufficient for the needs of the economy (Bohlin, 2004).
Governments should therefore invest more in institutions of higher learning, such as in university research, for it to be able to produce the people and ideas needed by the businesses and communities for them to be innovative and internationally competitive. This challenge can only be addressed if the government educates more students from all societal sectors and also put into place mechanisms to attract the brightest and best students from other countries. The research environment in universities should be competitive on the international platform so that it can attract reputable researchers from all over the world. Students should be availed with strong research and analytical skills and opportunities to gain experience in research. Inter university research exchanges should be encouraged especially with those universities renown for having come up with valid discoveries in their researches in the past. This will see to it that important research knowledge is shared so that they will not be left behind in becoming economically stable (Rajan, 2003).
Students should be given a chance to try out their newly acquired skills in existing businesses and in any other working environment. This also helps them to come up with new innovations from ideas they might have been keeping because the environment in the learning institutions could not allow them, this might just the required innovation that can put a country back on track in terms of economic sustenance. Graduates, especially those having advanced degrees are very important in the development of the private sector’s research capacity and also in the successful university research discoveries commercialization. Through them, the discoveries made while doing research in the learning institutions will be able to be shown to the whole world. In other words, they will help in the selling of their discoveries to the global market. This way, they will not only be helping their economies but the whole global economy. They will be mutually benefiting from each other. A country’s underproduction of graduates is its first enemy in her efforts to increase international productivity and competitiveness. For instance research shows that Canada lags behind leading nations in terms of producing doctoral graduates and this negatively affects its economic growth and competitiveness on the international scene. When compared to a country like the United States, which has produced many graduates until its economy can not adequately, accommodate them; it is forced to export some of them to other countries such as Canada. These people in turn channel a lot of revenue from the countries they are working in, back to their home country. This is why US is far a head in terms of economic development. Their many graduates are almost in every country of the world (Fuente & Ciccone, 2002).
In the present global economy, countries like Canada can no longer rely on the population of traditional working age for economic growth. Old people do not work as effectively as the younger generation because human production tends to decrease with increasing age. Such economies should ensure that there is an appropriate mix of assistance to students to assist their country’s population including under represented groups to obtain education so that they can increase their participation and productivity in the labour market. A proper mechanism that will ensure a smooth transfer of jobs from the old generation to the younger generation should be put in place. This ensures that there will never be a shortage in terms of manpower again as young people will be constantly incorporated in the production market each year. For countries to unearth their economic potential, it will depend on the level of education and skills of its population and also its success in the creation and application of ideas and knowledge. Government investment in higher education and university research should be strongly supported as steps that will address the challenges of productivity and competitiveness. International assistance in terms of research should not be ignored as no country is an island to go it alone. Cooperation and collaboration is the way of business in the present global economy and any country that attempts going it all will definitely be left behind (Gilmore 1999)