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Home > Business > PTI > Report

Skills war? 'India, China will beat US'

October 08, 2004 13:22 IST

India, China and other emerging economies will beat United States at the 'skills war' unless it improves the teaching standards resulting an increase in outsourcing, an American businessman has said.

"Our nation, which has prevailed in conflict after conflict over several centuries, now faces a stark and sudden choice: adapt or perish," Louis V. Gerstner, former IBM chairman, has said.

"I am not referring to the war against terrorism, but to a war of skills -- one that America is at a risk of losing to India, China and other emerging economies," he said.

"We are not at risk of losing it on factory floors or lab benches. It is happening every day, all across the country, in our public (government) schools," Gerstner, now chairman of Carlyle Group wrote in an article 'Bad-Schools Plus Shackled Principals Equals Outsourcing' in The Wall Street Journal.

"Unless we transform those schools -- by upgrading our corps of classroom teachers for the next generation -- and do it now, it will soon be too late," said Gerstner.

On outsourcing, he said: "American companies do not simply go offshore for inexpensive labour. They are increasingly going abroad to find skills that are not available, or plentiful, in their own backyard."

He said foreign companies are not taking market share from American companies simply because they have less expensive workers but because those workers have equal or better skills.

The United States is also witnessing a reverse brain drain with foreign scientists who used to flock its shores now opting for their home countries as which have improved economically and politically.

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