B. Schröttner

University of Graz (AUSTRIA)
The analysis focuses on the fact that India has made huge progress in its cultural, social, political and economic situation. As a consequence, the subcontinent’s position in the emerging new world order is changing, and these large-scale changes bring with them new opportunities and also new challenges for its citizens as well as for the government. Still the Indian people are very confident about the country’s future position on the global stage and this gives many of them hope and encouragement. This is also what is needed because India’s recent achievements are extremely unevenly distributed as the lack of educational opportunities, reliable health care, job creation and investments in rural regions and the infrastructure show. The aim of this article is to answer the following questions: How can India keep up with its economic growth and its increasingly international political importance if it is at the same time confronted with endemic poverty and an extremely high rate of illiteracy? What ought to be the country’s future actions if it is to the raise the quality of life of its citizens? While the size and speed of expansion of technology products such as computer software has been quite astonishing, the underdevelopment of the Indian school system, in particular in socially more left behind regions and among disadvantaged groups, has been extremely ineffective and unjust. It is in this context that the benefits of India’s advantages in high technology are overshadowed by the country’s lack in infrastructure investment, specifically in education. There is a historically based widespread weakness in India’s educational system – especially basic education. Limited access to education leads to an exceptionally high number of illiterate people, both in the rural areas as well as in the slums of the cities. Thus, the processes of economic progress and improvements in the high technology sector cannot be detached from the enhancements in (basic) education and literacy as well as on other social areas which are essential to enhance the quality of human lives in general. This means that not only do India’s people loose countless opportunities but the state itself also looses out on the valuable capacities and competencies of its people; this has enormous economical, political and social effects. The relevant question is then how India can keep up with worldwide change in the 21st century if it does not promote education and literacy and actively combat internal poverty. The theoretical and conceptual framework of the research in the field of social science is based on an interdisciplinary conceptual framework concerning the fields of adult and further education, intercultural and global education as well as on theoretical foundations of globalization and development studies. The methodology of the analysis is based on qualitative research methods. The enquiry includes a set of investigation methods: First, analytical investigation which is based on interdisciplinary literature analyses; second, qualitative research methods: qualitative expert-interviews, open-ended, open-structured narrative interviews as well as informal debates with different levels of formality (with experts and people concerned) in India (Rajasthan and Kerala).