A long time ago on a faraway posting I went to address a group of young entrepreneurs on the subject of economic growth.  I spoke enthusiastically about different models of economic development, including the declining share of agriculture and manufacturing in the GDPs of some leading economies; and about the importance of economic growth sectors such as education, tourism and research.  The entrepreneurs were an impressively educated and forthright bunch, and one of them challenged me.  Surely, he said, what mattered was manufacturing.  Fish and chips weren't enough, he said, in a nod to the UK: what mattered were computer chips.  This triggered a lively discussion amongst all present about the relative importance of different economic sectors and whether indeed manufacturing, even of such an apparently future-proof product as computer chips (you can tell this was a while ago - Ed) could be a reliable basis for long-term economic growth.

Of course if any one country had discovered the secret of reliable economic growth we'd all be doing it.  On the one hand, I quite like the argument that service industries alone can't be the answer: we can't all open doors for each other.  On the other hand (spot the economic training coming out) without an efficient service sector the rest of the economy can't function effectively.  Education is a good example of the latter. 

I'm reminded of this debate when I host a reception at the residence for a company which specialises in placing students in British schools and universities, including foundation programmes in the UK.  I've blogged before about the fact the UK is a world leader in the manufacture and supply of learning resources and English language teaching; and about the fact that there are quite a few organisations based in Ukraine which specialise in this field.  So I'm delighted that this event has drawn a senior audience, including politicians and business leaders.  I've been consistently impressed by the importance which Ukrainians attach to education; it's great if UK educational establishments, which include some of the best in the world, can help meet that demand.  Key message: education is vitally important, and the United Kingdom has a huge amount of high-quality educational services to offer.  

Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

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