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Allocate More Resources For Education, Say Experts

Wide-ranging topics tackled at BW Businessworld Third India Education Summit in New Delhi; India urged to invest more in educational facilities

Photo Credit : Suresh Gola

India should allocate more resources for education and invest in school infrastructure to spread knowledge across the country, education experts said on Thursday.

The BW Businessworld Third India Education Summit in New Delhi heard strong calls for improving educational standards in the country through more investment in infrastructure.

The summit was inaugurated by Gopal Jain, founder and managing partner of Gaja Capital Partners, and Annurag Batra, chairman and editor-in-chief of BW Businessworld.

There was a fireside chat between the two about the emerging challenges in Indian education.

Jain pointed out that India lags far behind developing economies like China in terms of proper allocation of education resources. He said there is a lack of political will in the country to make pertinent policy changes.

"I am trying at my level for the policy changes to happen by lobbying, interacting with the right people, decision makers, this is how it happens in a democratic set up and we have to live with it," Jain said.

He touched upon topics such as the dismantling of the license raj and making ratings of institutions compulsory.

Batra echoed Jain's sentiments, saying everyone should work together towards progress in the education sector in their own ways.

Referring to the government's "Make in India" and "Skill India" initiatives, he said an increase in manufacturing ability is not directly proportionate to job creation.

Batra said in his speech that if India wants to get more evangelism in the sector, more individuals should create institutions.

"Education is seeing a seismic change, technology is embedded and teachers are upgraded as per the new evolution of technology which in return will have a positive social impact," he said.

Hindi Language

He said Hindi should be given precedence over English in teaching. "There is a zero phobia and chauvinistic approach towards our own national language," Batra said.

He pointed out that skilling and entrepreneurship efforts are a sham in the country as institutes are not doing a good job at developing the right skill sets, resulting in poor job placements and fewer entrepreneurs being produced.

The first panel discussion of the summit was on "Emerging Challenges in Indian Education".

The panellists included Prof J.S. Rajput, former director of NCERT, Dr Amit Kapoor, president and CEO of the India Council on Competitiveness, Lt. Gen. Surendra Kulkarni (retd), principal director of Mayo College, Prof N.V. Varghese, director of the Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE). The session was moderated by T.S.R. Subramanian, former cabinet secretary and chancellor of Shiv Nadar University.

Subramanian said 70 per cent of India has access to education, but on the other hand children of 6-7 years of age do not know the basic mathematical calculations. He said India being a huge country with great infrastructure has plethora of challenges looming large.

The participants agreed that the focus should be on getting quality educators and good content in order to get talented students. They said when countries teach in their own mother tongues, it benefits society.

They said education and healthcare are the two pillars of a country's growth and India will do better in global competition if it makes achievements in these areas.

With higher allocations for education, governments can increase literacy rates in rural areas and reduce existing disparity, the participants said.

They said higher education should be given utmost importance and should not be neglected.

Role Of Technology
The second session of the summit was centred around the role of technology and changing paradigm of education. The panellists were Prasad Gadkari, partner IDFC Private Equity, Rahul Chandra, managing director of Helion, Dr Kamaljit Singh Anand, professor and executive director, KIE Square Inc. The session was moderated by Suchindra Kumar, director of advisory services at Ernst & Young.

They discussed various positives and the flipside of technology in education. Gadkari said there is a strong need to attract mindshare and investments in improving technology. Chandra pointed that there are not many big success stories in the sector. He said innovation is a very testy topic and how content is managed and created is important.

They agreed that the future is digital learning. Anand pointed out that technology becomes obsolete within a few years as new innovations take place.

The third panel discussion's topic was "Education Start Ups: Avant-Grande Classrooms". The panellists were Vijay Chadda, CEO of Bharti Foundation, Yogesh Dhingra, Former Director Academics of Dhirubhai Ambani International School, and Procolino Antacido, Principal of Deutsche Schule.

The discussion centred around technology solutions and innovation and what startups should think through before setting up their business.

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