Experts at the CII education summit in Bangalore brainstormon the presentsystem.
Coinciding with the ‘Decade of innovation’, the 15th edition of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) ‘National summit on quality in education’ was flagged off in Bangalore on Friday with the theme ‘Innovate, lead, share: redefining delivery of quality education’.
S. Chandrashekhar, chairman of the summit, said the present education system focuses on facts and figures, killing creativity. “Quality and innovation are the key words,” he said.
K.N. Shenoy, past chairman, CII Institute of Quality, said innovation was required in four verticals — industry, service, education and governance. “While there is progress in the first three, not much progress has been made in the last one,” he pointed out.
Inaugurating the two-day event, Karnataka Higher Education Minister C T Ravi said quality education in India was still a distant dream. “Educational degrees have utter irrelevance to a student’s professional and personal life. Education should be a highly individualised process,” he said.
During a session on ‘Setting the stage for innovation in quality, education: building a culture of innovation’, Thomas C Mathew, vice-chancellor, Christ University, threw light on ‘quality enhancement’ rather than just ‘quality assurance.’ “Attendance and good grades stand for quality assurance. We need quality enhancement through pedagogy, methodology and curriculum. Lots of importance is given to curriculum, but it is really not a big deal,” he said.
On the role of a teacher, Ryan Pinto, CEO, Ryan Group of Institutions, said no one can replace a teacher, but the role of a teacher had changed to being that of a facilitator, as students these days have access to the answers through technology.
A report ‘CII Institute of Quality Education excellence initiative: a decade in review’, prepared with the help of students from the Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, was unveiled on the occasion.
In the sessions that followed, S. Vaitheeswaran, managing director and CEO, Manipal Global Education Services, stressed the urgency of the situation, as 60 per cent of India’s population belongs to the age group of 18 to 30 years. By 2020, the average age of Indians will be 27 years, compared to 37 of the USA, 45 of Japan and 38 of China. By then, there will be an additional 30 million youth who will enter the higher education space, posing both as a challenge as well as an opportunity, he explained.
Mr. Vaitheeswaran advocated using technology to leverage education. “In Manipal, the percentage of student enrolment from online student acquisition network used to be three per cent.
In the last two years, this has reached close to 40 per cent. Had it not been for technology, it would have been difficult to reach anywhere near the present figure (of total strength of students),” he said.
However, A.M. Kaveriappa, executive director, Karnataka State Higher Education Council, said online education posed the risk of making the teacher-student relationship obsolete. “Nothing like the chalk the talk,” he said. He also stressed the need for regular revision of curriculum as well as selection of teachers not just based on qualification but also on their skills.
Amit Kaushik, managing director, Educomp Infrastructure and School Management Ltd, spoke about the lack of changes in the education system. “The education system established by the British (Raj) was to produce subordinates. That has not changed at all. Time has come to change the education system, not discuss about it.
The last national policy on education was issued 26 years ago,” he said. Only 15 per cent of the schools in India were under private managements, but all regulations and policies were formulated for them alone. Though the RTE Act comes with good intentions as “the accident of birth should not determine what school a child should go to,” the ‘one size fits all’ formula needs a re-look, he said.
The Hindu is media partner for the event.