University-Industry Council Symposium inaugurated
PUDUCHERRY: “We need entrepreneurs who can transform us into a nation which produces, from the one which only consumes. We need innovators who could make us self-reliant in all kinds of sciences and technologies,” said vice-president and Managing Director of Cisco Development Organisation Aravind Sitaraman at the inauguration of the third University-Industry Council Symposium on Friday.
Shortly after launching the University-Industry Interface Portal at the symposium, he said that the country had an education system built for the industrial age and needs to go beyond to the information age and knowledge age, for which creation of infrastructure was essential.
“India needs the knowledge age more than any other country. How are we going to prepare our children to be able to become entrepreneurs, compete in the globalised world and succeed,” he asked. Highlighting the status of Indian universities, he said that the institutions had inherited handicaps from colonial times and were short on resources, especially faculty. There was huge bias towards theoretical education and there was a need to break away from the mindset of having one form of education for all, he pointed out.
Mr. Sitaraman said that universities could invent things and create a market system, and companies could apply for a loyalty for the inventions. Outlining the available opportunities, he said, “First, we need to break the mould and stop doing education the way we are doing it now. I do not want education to look at creating people for the hi-tech industry but focus on agriculture, industry, services, manufacturing and IT. We need to look at other countries and adopt the best practices there and transform into something we can use.”
Speaking on the occasion, Immediate Past Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry, Southern Region, Pradipta K. Mohapatra asked why so many students were going to the United States, Europe and Australia to study. An area of significant shortage was fundamental educational facility, he added.
“If we need capacity expansion, we need an apparatus so that education can be freed of the clutches of rules and regulations. Industries and universities can work with bodies that regulate to break free from the regulations of the 1930s,” he stressed. He called for creating capacities by working together to break the rules of framework. “There is skill shortage in the last four years. Universities and industries can come together and form a skill accreditation commission. While industries can bring in expertise and money, universities can put in expertise. The commission can accredit the skills, certification standards and delivery standards of millions of jobs,” he said.