According to Terpstra and Sarathy, international marketers also contribute to a country’s educational process by way of introducing new products, informing and educating about their uses and benefits, and providing technical training for before- and after-sales activities
Through analysis of levels and types of education in a country, international business entrepreneurs can know the level of skills of the workforce, the extent of additional training to be provided with, and the communication skills of the employees.
Multinationals are particularly interested to know if the local staff can be assigned all the jobs. Can the management be decentralised to local staff? If the level of education is high the answer will be YES.
The level of literacy and knowledge is different in different countries. In the US, education is compulsory up to sixteen years of age; thus ninety percent of the concerned population attends school. Mandatory school attendance is from 5 to 11 years in the developing countries and 8 to 11 years in the developed countries. The large majority of Europeans up to the age of 16 attend schools.
However, in South Asia, the percentage is very low. It is not only the schooling, but also important is the system of education thereafter. In Germany, the students have to compulsorily join apprenticeship program out of any of the 450 job categories, lasting three years. During apprenticeship period they also earn handsome wages. Here is an opportunity to the business firms to tap this youth market in Germany.
In most of the developed world it has been noticed that majority of students stop at high school education. According to an estimate about 56% of the workforce does not pursue education after high school. In Germany only 30% of the students opt for university education.
Even at the secondary education level there are differences of quantity and quality. Number-of-days teaching is higher in Japan than in the US. Number of hours devoted to core papers like maths, science, and history vary from 1460 hours in the US to 3528 hours in Germany.
In a survey of high school students, the US ranked 6% below the international average and much below its European developed nations.
The teaching systems are also different in different countries. Traditional European education emphasizes the mastery of a subject through acquisition of knowledge. In contrast, the US approach emphasizes analytic ability and an understanding of concepts. The two systems will reflect in different thinking patterns and attitudes In the US a manager is the cultural hero but in Germany it is the engineer.
This shows the kind of talent produced and preferred in a particular cultural setting. Japan and South Korea emphasize the sciences, especially engineering to a greater degree than to the Westerners. Industrial countries have 85 scientists or technicians and 19 university graduates for every 1000 people but developing countries have 9 scientists and one graduate per 1000 people.
The nations who are technology powers have different focus. Indians being strong in mathematics and English have an edge in computer software and film special effects. However, Japanese have an edge in miniaturisation, computer displays, High Definition TV and consumer electronics.
The foreign companies have their Research and Development centers only in those countries where they find skilled staff and also develop their hubs for global sourcing. Most of the multinationals in the field of software have their R&D centers/or offices in India. Tata’s NANO has been an attraction all over the world.
Most of the top auto makers are sourcing spare parts from India. It shows India’s auto engineering skills. Thus, it is clear that education is an important tool on this competitive world. Low level of literacy affects both the earning potential and the consumption, and vice versa.
There is a positive relationship between reduction in illiteracy rate and cut in poverty rate. In Chile, during 1990- 95 the illiteracy rate went down by 5% and the poverty rate went down by 30%. Skilled workers in the industrialised world earn about 60 times more than the world’s poorest group of Sub-Sahara African farmers.
In some of the developed countries, particularly in the US, education lacks in providing international competence, A US student can earn his college degree without taking any courses in a foreign language; and their geographical mapping knowledge is very poor.
Business strategy in a given educational environment shall have following implications:
The level of literacy and educational attainments often determine advertising and packaging. In countries with a low level of literacy graphic illustrations are to be used more than the text. But even this practice sometimes becomes an embarrassment. A company selling baby milk powder in an African nation by using its regular label showing a baby and stating type of baby food in the jar, unfortunately found that the local population took one look at the labels and interpreted them to mean the jars contained grounded-up babies.
Use of pictures and text needs to be in line with the local language. In the Middle East, a laundry company’s advertisement showed – picture of soiled clothes in the left, its box of soap in the middle and clean clothes on the right. Since people in this region read from right to left, potential customers thought that the soap actually soiled the clean clothes. Quality of market research and the availability and usage of marketing information are directly related to educational levels.
Whatever kind of marketing or entrepreneurial effort is to be made, there is need of efficient and effective human resource and education and training play an important role in shaping.