Addressing the conference, Mr. Sibal said, “The government aims to design courses of national standard across all subjects, across the country. We will soon roll out such courses in the vocational fields like retail, realty, design and automobiles. Besides, it’s not the sole responsibility of Government to offer quality education at all levels; private institutions and corporates should also pitch in, partner and share the mammoth task of providing high quality education to all. Education shouldn’t be looked upon as burden by private bodies, it should be understood as inclusive.”
The conference was spread over four sessions throughout the day. The sessions deliberated on India as an education superpower of future and the path to progress.
The first session elaborated on leveraging opportunity and how higher education can help India shape world future. It also discussed designing social system of inclusive education – ‘Education for All’, and new hybrid teaching models and methods. Sharing his thoughts, Pawan Aggarwal, Advisor Higher Education, Planning Commission of India, said: “The next five to 10 years in education will be crucial. The Government can support in fiscal ways and appoint more teachers. But the main challenges would be quality in higher education and integration of technology in education.”
The most pertinent subject under discussion was the need for an inclusive pattern of education. Shyama Chona, Educationist, took up paradoxes, confusions and obstacles in education in India. “We are six decades late in education. But we need to gear up, because if not now, then never.”
Making a comparison between education in India and the Western countries, Dr. Arun Mohan Sherry, Director, IMT-CDL, said, “Australia offers 70 per cent scholarships in education, USA offers 50 per cent and India, only two per cent. Talking about interest rates on education loans, India asks for 11.75 per cent, while in Australia it is only 2.5 per cent and in UK and the US, it varies between 3 and 3.5 per cent. Besides, we have over regulation in distance education. Amazingly, there are more than 10 million students studying in open learning and distance education institutions. The worst news is that since past one and a half years, there is no regular vice chancellor to look after distance learning in India. This is the state of education in our country.”
The academicians were of the opinion that industry intervention must start from the secondary level to strike a balance between theoretical and practical aspects of learning. “Neither industry nor institutions should blame each other. Rather, both should work together to produce the best of human resource. Industries must communicate to institutions what skills and learning they require”, said A. K. Biswas, Senior Professor, IMT Ghaziabad.
Sharing his views on platforms such as EDUCATIONext, Stuart P. Milne, CEO, HSBC India said, “Universalising access to higher education, and providing skill training are matters of utmost importance today. Platforms such as EDUCATIO Next, we believe, are critical as they provide the space for government and industry to initiate a discussion and find viable ways to strive for an improved and inclusive education system, and expand employment opportunities.”