On 26th October 2021, 22 speakers and participants across 4 continents gathered to deliberate and discuss the future of education in today’s digital-first India. Mission Education 2021 – International Conference for Digital Education and Skilling in India explored the critical components of National Education Policy 2020 that outlines India’s educational transformation in the forthcoming years.
Mission Education – Deetya's Inaugural Conference
The global education ecosystem has been undergoing a paradigm shift over the last decade. When the pandemic hit the world in early 2020, education industry, just like all other industries faced a massive setback with over 1.6 billion students and youth out of school. For the longest time, the global education industry considered technology as a good-to-have support. However, it was only during the pandemic that technology penetrated far and wide, in this sector. So much so that the world came to rely on technology to ensure uninterrupted education for schools, colleges and universities and the pattern continues to this day. There’s an urgent need today to reimage education and the role of technology in enabling education. Mission Education 2021 is an initiative to bring together the prominent leaders from academia and industry to discuss the future trajectory of India’s education system in 2021 and beyond.
The Inauguration and Launch of Deetya
Inaugurated by the Chairman of AICTE, Dr. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Mission Education 2021 was centred on the subject of making education more impactful and meaningful for students, young professionals and industry. This subject is very close to all of us at Deetya and is also the primary focus of Deetya’s integrated digital school platform. Therefore, it was only befitting that Deetya was lauched during the inauguration of Mission Education 2021 at the hands of Dr. Sahasrabudhe, in the attendance of stellar practitioners in academia and industry.
Dr. Sahasrabudhe, in his inaugural speech, shared riveting perspectives on the promise of NEP and the role technology has to play in education. He also mentioned about SWAYAM — India’s indigenous MOOC platform built for learning anywhere, anytime, by anyone and on any device, which is currently being used by 114 countries. When speaking extensively about holistic and multiple-disciplinary education, he said, “Education and skilling go hand in hand. No education is complete without skilling.” Dilip Hanumara, the CEO of Trigyn Technologies, Deetya’s parent company, underscored the penetration of technology in all aspects of our life. He cited the example of CoWIN, the vaccination platform developed by Trigyn in collaboration with the Government of India. CoWIN has helped India administer over 1 Billion COVID vaccinations and is now available to use as an open source platform for any country.
Mission Education 2021 covered 4 important tenets of National Education Policy which were divided into 4 sessions, the panellists encompassing leading academicians and industrialists. Here’s a quick walkthrough of each session.
Session 1: Taking higher education to the grassroots
Advantages of teaching & learning in mother tongue
- Prof Dileep N Malkhede, Vice Chancellor, Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Amravati
- Dr Ashwini Kumar Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Symbiosis Skill & Professional University, Pune
- Dr G K Prabhu, President, Manipal University, Jaipur
- Prof R A Gupta, Vice-Chancellor Rajasthan Technical University, Kota
- Ms Lakshmi Potluri, Board Member – Trigyn Technologies, Cofounder Jabong
Language barrier is one of the biggest challenges students face when transitioning from a vernacular medium school or junior college to any university. Such students face hardships in understanding the curriculum as the medium of instruction is English, which affects their performance adversely as well as causes them to lose interest in the subject leading to dropouts. This is one of the reasons why students from regional schools are reluctant to pursue higher education. Today, India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for higher education sits at a meagre 27%. The goal of the Indian education department is to raise the GER to 50% by 2035. Introducing higher education in regional languages is a big step that can catapult India closer to this goal. We were lucky to listen to our panelists share anecdotes from their personal life and giving us a first-hand view of the problem from a student standpoint. Ms. Lakshmi Potluri brought in the industry-perspective to this discussion where we learnt how this shift might affect the professional life of a student.
Session 2: National Education Policy 2020
The paradigm shift with unlimited Opportunities
- Dr S S Mantha, Former Chairman AICTE, Chancellor KL University, AP
- Prof Sandeep Sancheti , Vice Chancellor Provost, Marwadi University Rajkot
- Dr Ajay Rana, Vice Chancellor, Shobhit University, Meerut<l/i>
- Dr Samsher, Vice Chancellor, Harcourt Butler Technical University, Kanpur
- Mr Ganapathi R, Chairman & Non-Executive Director, Trigyn Technologies
The focus of this session revolved around making education more holistic and pragmatic by implementing the directives listed in NEP. Dr. S S Mantha stated that we should take inspiration from India’s ancient educational system and superimpose it with the modern learning models to develop a holistic educational structure. Reiterating the point of establishing an all-round curriculum that trains students for employability and beyond, Dr. Sancheti said, “Education is not merely for livelihood, but for life.” He underlined the importance of learning new ways and unlearning the old ways to keep up with our rapidly evolving world. As the pedagogical pathways of today consist of myriad components, there are ample opportunities and flexibilities for educators and students to uncover the potential of the course. Flipped classrooms, case study based methods and cooperative learning are few strategies that were discussed in this thought-provoking session.
Session 3: Technology as an Enabler
Access to quality education & innovation in India
- Dr Ramanan Ramanathan, Former (First) Mission Director Atal Innovation Mission, Former Additional Secretary at NITI Aayog
- Dr Manoj Singh Gaur, Director, IIT Jammu
- Dr Buddha Chandrashekar, Chief Coordinating Officer, AICTE
- Mr. Avinash Vashistha, Executive Chairman Tholons, Former Chairman and CEO of Accenture India
“Technology has democratised access to knowledge,” says Dr. Gaur as he reiterated the role of technology in ensuring uninterrupted education at his institute, IIT Jammu, during the pandemic. This session explored diverse use cases of technology that would prove to be highly advantageous in today’s world. Technology is the vehicle through which innovation could be taken from colleges to the outer world, as highlighted by Mr. Avinash Vashistha, who attended the session in the middle of the night from San Francisco. Taking the example of his own child, Dr. Buddha Chandrashekhar talked about the massive benefits of personalised and adaptive learning made possible by technology. Dr. Ramanan’s ideas about Tinkering labs to promote innovation and entrepreneurship to harness the powerful current of youthful energy that’s flowing through India’s education system today made for an interesting discussion that made us all rethink and reimagine the purpose of technology in education. This mind-opening session was a treat to listen to and learn from, as we could see how optimistically and zealously the speakers looked at the future horizon of education through their experienced lenses.
Session 4: Skill Based Training
Adapting to changing market needs
- Dr Swati Mujumdar, Pro-Chancellor, Symbiosis Skills & Professional University, Pune & Symbiosis University of Applied Sciences, Indore
- Dr Raj Nehru, Vice-Chancellor, Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, Gurugram
- Dr M K Surappa, Former Vice-Chancellor, Anna University
- Prof Krishnan Balasubramanian, Professor, IIT Madras
- Mr Dilip Hanumara | CEO & Executive Director, Trigyn Technologies
Much has been said about the gap between education and industry. It’s now high time we work aggressively towards bridging it. As Dr. M. K. Surappa rightly pointed out in his speech, skill requirements in the industry have changed drastically in the past 20 years owing to the advancement of technology in every sector. We echo the words of our CEO, Mr. Dilip Hanumara, when he talked about the parallel need of educating the Indian youth on our well-documented culture and at the same time getting them acquainted with the existing global standards. We cannot expect the youth to be world-ready when their vision doesn’t extend beyond the boundaries of India. Dr. Swati Majumdar underscored the significance of counselling parents about the requirements of different professions, so they become adept in grooming their children as well as more receptive towards diverse professions. Dr. Raj Nehru emphasised on the need for increased productivity and how to prepare our youth to be more productive. It’s not only important to train our youth to be great employees but also encourage them to be employment generators and job creators. It birthed a sense of renewed hope in us when Professor Krishnan proudly said that his students don’t necessarily see themselves giving interviewers, but also taking interviews from the other side of the table.
The closing keynote at Mission Education 2021 was delivered by Dr. M. P. Poonia, Vice Chairman, AICTE, where he outlined the various effective measures AICTE has been taking in aligning the industry and education. He remarked that it’s only the empowered youth of India that can move the country closer towards realising its dreams and goals. The infectious enthusiasm and optimum of these academic and industrial leaders about the impending educational transformation led by technology was promising and heartening. We at team Deetya are excited to embark on this interesting journey that education in India and across the globe is undertaking and are proud to be active contributors to this.