Create consistent educational policies, says expert

Kochi, Mar 23: A consistent set of educational policies should be created irrespective of the political parties that assume power and they must stick to it, Mr. T.K. Kurien, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Premji Invest, said here today.

“Education has been politicised to an extent in the country. Education is where you make an impact over the next 20-30 years, and to that extent, policies need to remain consistent,” he remarked while participating in a panel discussion on the topic “The Digital Future of Education and Skills” at the two-day Global Digital Summit #Future, which concluded today.

Commenting on the skills, Mr. Kurien noted: “Focus the teacher, who is the link between the student and learning. The teacher can make the subject exciting and boring. If the teacher does not learn, the student is never going to learn.  Today there are enough technology tools to learn for doing this. There are even tools available today that can help the mind learn faster.”

The panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Darlington Hector, Managing Editor, YourStory, saw the speakers make some interesting observations about the education system in the country.

Mr. V.K. Mathews, Member, High Power IT Committee (HPIC), Govt. of Kerala, said instead of a new set of educational policies, Kerala needs a digital education strategy revolving around elements like more academic autonomy and digitally-enabled campuses.

“Looking forward, Kerala’s digital education strategy needs to encompass three elements. Firstly, a digitally-enabled student and teacher fraternity should be formed. Our campuses and universities should be digitally-enabled. It is an area where we are way behind. Secondly, more academic autonomy should be provided to the universities to allow them to respond on the spot commensurate to the changes taking place. Thirdly, the purpose of schooling has to be learning and not to be testing,” Mr Mathews added.     

Mr. Thenkurussi Kesavadas, Director, Health Care Engineering Systems Centre, University of Illinois, said, “The system that we follow in India is purely based on marks and it actually creates a big problem for students. In the US, we do get credits for things we do outside the school and they encourage creativity. Here the entire focus of a high school student is to score very high marks to qualify for entrance or other courses.”

Mr. Deepak Swaroop, Partner, Automation Central Leader, Ernest and Young, argued in favour of stepping up substantially interactions among the three pillars — the government, academia and industry — as the academia knows and can meet the demand of the industry. The government has a huge role in it as it can fund joint ventures.  

Mr. Sreeram Ananthasayanam, Partner, Government and Public Services, PwC India, pointed out that managing the supply-demand gap is vital and he suggested long-term planning for skills.

Mr. Ramachandran Thekkedath, former VC, Cochin University of Science and Technology, said teachers need to upgrade themselves every five years as the requirement of the industry is drastically changing.

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