Education is the component that drives a positive and productive change in our world and society. Productive change is the essence of a better outcome in any endeavour. The year 2020 has been a historical year for quite an unforgettable pandemic that has to lead to a monumental change in the existing process and composition of orders in every other system and the education system is no exception to the effecting change brought forward by the global pandemic. The commencement of a year has encouraged the endeavour to drive positive, sustainable, and inclusive change to the global education system.
And to bring the inclusive and positive change to our education system, The Policy Times collaboration with, Shiv Nadar University, an institution for eminence in the education field organized World Education Conference 2021. It is a three-day-long event that is being organized on 15-17th January 2021 from 2 pm-8 pm through Zoom. The main agenda of the event is to explore a workable roadmap for all-inclusive sustainable and productive education worldwide. The inaugural session was chaired by Prof. (Dr.) Bhimaraya Metri, Director, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Nagpur.
The inauguration ceremony of the three-day event commenced on January 15, 2021, from 2 pm to 3 pm. Shri Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister & Hon’ble Minister of Education, Government of Delhi NCT, a figure with tremendous educational achievement for the national capital Delhi was the Chief Guest for the day and probably one of the brightest figures among all.
The Hon’ble minister shared his discreet thoughts on those educationists around the world who are continuously trying to implement better education. He said, “As a politician, I have to learn and understand and it is very important to me what the other educationists are thinking. It is the high time we discussed post-Covid education, post-Covid schooling in terms of new education policies. In Delhi we have been trying to do, mostly I will talk about the New Education Policy. I have read the education policy and this policy is going to write the future of not only education in India but the future of the country”.
On the thought of the New Education Policy, there are more exciting factors as well as the more critical factors which come into play as they are very important. He shared his experiences on those two critical factors,
- The capacity of the education system absorbing this idea where we talk about critical thinking, learning outcomes, early childhood education, understanding rather than root learning, these are the ideas.
- “The commitment of financial services” whatever we think the quality of education meets public funding also, so commitment from the government for the financial resource is also a very critical factor.
He raised the question, “Is our education system ready to absorb that? Or how can we make our education system ready to absorb this? We doubled the budgetary allocation to Education which is now constant at almost 25% of the entire state budget. This was a historic step and has since been followed by the launch of a full-fledged reform process in public education. I would like to add, Understanding and effective implementation policies optimum utilizes of those resources of that money is very important.
Mr Sisodiya further stressed, “We used that money in Delhi in two ways; one is the ‘foundation of education’ and second is using ‘education as the foundation of society’. In terms of the foundation of education, the first and foremost thing to come is ‘infrastructure’. We worked on the infrastructure, we improved it. In terms of the second way, we worked on teacher training. I used to talk with a lot of govt. teachers, they are talented they know their subject but the problem is they are not ready to do experiments, and we introduced them to the world. We took them to the best of the education system of the world, we took them to Cambridge, US, Harvard and I have prepared a ‘customized school leadership program’ in Delhi. We can say the training approach we took from ‘Local to Global’.”
The Delhi government has taken various approaches to reach the target of providing better to the best education for both teachers and students. But this is not the target of providing education, for him the ultimate target is to use ‘education as a foundation for a country, for a society”. Further, he mentioned, “We are also working on the professional mindset of the students, the curriculum is called ‘entrepreneurship mindset’. The third is, ‘Deshbhkati curriculum’, which we are working on. The curriculum is about loving and understanding your surroundings, your society, your nature, your country”.
Finally changing the scenario of education Delhi is about change in assessment pattern. The ultimate driver of education is the examination system. The way students are tested, the teacher teaches in a classroom following that pattern. Quoted to his speech, “If our examination system isn’t change nothing is going to change in the classroom no matter how many policies are made”. The government is setting up a new board in Delhi for assessment. Delhi Government is fundamentally trying to establish a three-hour examination after year, and this will assess a student based on that 3-hours examination. This work is still under process.
Mr Mohibul H. Chowdhoury, Hon’ble Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education Government of Bangladesh was the Guest of Honour. He said, “Delhi could be an example to the region. Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and India are these regional countries all have some type of educational framework. We have a renowned institution, great private sector education that works very well, but the main challenge was ensuring the majority of the population has access to education and bring contribution to the development to the society as a whole”.
He also mentioned that both India and Bangladesh have good institutes but the problem remains with the public access and also infrastructure and the quality of education and that is where the current Bangladesh government is working. Bangladesh government since the last two decades has put great emphasis on curriculum and quality, instead of spending effort towards improving only general education they emphasized the better quality of technical and vocational education, education in isolation of skill development. Bangladesh had a general education sector but it was not meeting the requirement of growing reception of Bangladesh industry.
In terms of providing a quality human resource to the growing industry Bangladesh in the last decade has seen rapid industrialization. It is of no importance to have world-class universities if they cannot produce great leaders for the economy. He gave an example of the country UK, where he has spent his formative year. It’s not Cambridge, oxford, or imperial college that were contributing to their great human resource but their poly-technical or vocational education systems they have built that contributed to greater human resources.
Talking about liberalizing higher education Hon’ble minister extends, “Bangladesh liberalized higher education but the vast corp of graduates were not industry ready, so why do we need all those graduates for, we need those graduates for a different type of industry like clinical or medicine industry, etc. We need students who go to the vocational-related training centre or diploma instead of degree and can be employed at the economy based on the need, so there is no need for thousands and thousands of graduates because the economy could not absorb them. But Bangladesh has been doing that (liberalizing higher education) and anyone can be graduate. Bangladesh government higher education institutes are heavily subsidized but people after availing education from highly subsidized government education are moving abroad. He said it will be right to say a large number of the workforce of the global industry is subsidized by the Bangladesh government. So it is of no use if the heavily subsidized higher education cannot meet the need of industry and education.
Bangladesh higher education institutes are nowadays connected with universities and training centres, a lot of Bangladeshi conventional education institutes are converted to the training institute. The challenges were to get past conventional thinking and convert them to the skill-based training centre.
In his concluding remarks, he averred on Vocational training and that is the way forward for developing countries as has been in the European countries. He said, “We need to have a regional framework for vocational education that can be employed to higher education. It is absolutely nonsensical to have a huge amount of institutes where government subsidy goes to”.
Continuing with the inaugural session, our prominent speaker for the WEC 2021 online conference Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Adamas University delivered the welcome speech to the esteemed education leaders, educators, academicians present as the guest panellist of the event, and the audiences attending the event. He focused on some important parts of education and one of them is a student-teacher model, and he has to be improved. He averred on three things of education that need to keep in mind such as, “Learner model”, “Learner engagement”, “Content Creation”, and “Content Delivery”.
“The learning of a student should be both physical and digital. We have to engage the student in learning. We as a teacher, we have been following the maximum content that we have created but we what we need to understand that content creation is far more complex and diverse. In these times we need to bring blended learning, the evaluation has to be blended; we have to move from completion to collaboration”.
Prof. (Dr) Rupamanjari Ghosh, Vice-Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University, UP delivered the introductory speech of the inauguration ceremony officially bringing World Education Conference 2021 to full swing. Prof. Ghosh pointed towards the global context in terms of educational scenario firstly the challenges provided by the global pandemic in recent time what kind of strain that had posed to global synergy. The post-pandemic national and international industry and academia for that we need great innovation. Higher education should drive not only to meet industry needs or technological advancement but produce competent leaders and great resources-both financial and intellectual resources. Higher education should nurture the hope of a sustainable world.
Dr Hanif Qureshi IPS, IGP Haryana Police, Secretary Dept. of Renewable Energy, Gov’t of Haryana with the prominently glowing contribution in his field shared his insightful views on the significant recent change in our education system. He agreed there should not just be one side to solve the problem is to bring policy, he emphasized building a flexible system across geographies and political and social organization. He believes to build a flexible education system so that learners can adapt according to their capacity.
The WEC 2021 started officially with prominent educational figures from India delivering the keynote speech. Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education one of India’s significant educational institute sharing his insightful remarks on recent world education scenario. Talking about the NEP, Dr Sahasrabudhe shared his positive concern on the implementation of NEP. “We are being a part of the NEP, and ministry is working on it to implement it very strategically, and a lot of things will roll within a couple of months”. On a positive note, he brought good news for graduates who are thinking of starting their entrepreneurial journey. He talked about regulation, funding, how to use technology as well as he discussed how to make India ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in terms of education. Prof. K.K. Aggarwal, Chairman, National Board of Accreditation, one of our country’s prominent accreditation institutes enriched us with his valuable speech on the education system and unfolds some positive side of NEP which is going to implement soon. He also talked about the quality of education and the future roadmap of education with insightful thoughts.
Educators from some of the prominent higher educational institutes like Dr V.K. Agarwal, Chairperson, SunRise University, Alwar, and Mr Rashid Mukhtar, Hon. Secretary & Board of Trustees – JMES (Maulana Mukhtar Ahmad Nadvi Technical Campus – MMANTC) enriched us with their experience of change that has been thoroughly dissected from their years of experience as highly respectable educators from India and both of them have some very enlightening knowledge of the educational scenario of India.
Prof. V.K. Malhotra, Member Secretary, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi the last speaker of the event introspected on the opinions shared by his peers in the educational arena and delivered his own opinions beautifully summing up the discussion of the inaugural event.
The inauguration ceremony for WEC 2021 online witnessed quite a few remarkable incidents and Dr P. Sekhar dedicating a special Book on ‘Smart and Secured Governance for Self-sustained Education post-Covid’ with National Education Policy 2020 was one of such remarkable incidents and Dr Shekhar announced that a free Digital copy of the book to be given to all esteemed guest of the inauguration ceremony. He introduced the first understanding of the book and shared some glimpses from his new book.
The World education Conference marked quite a few prominent incidents. Mr Hamid Ahmed, Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard University; Secretary, Hamdard National Foundation (India)&CEO-Hamdard Laboratories India (Foods Division) shared his valuable word of recent experience in the education field.
The announcement of the award was followed by Mr Akram Hoque, Founder-Editor of The Policy Times introduced the first-time awardees of the “Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed Education Award” and shared the E-Certificates to the awardees.
WEC 2021 came to an efficiently fruitful end with a diverse perspective from education leaders from diverse spheres of the education system and it also heralded curious anticipation of the next event on the calendar for WEC 2021.
This educational conference was supported by educational institutes and several other organizations across India and it was only realized to the way it was conducted by all of their humble co-operation. East India’s best private university – Adamas University, Kolkata; Haryana’s best engineering college – Mewat Engineering College; Best technical institute of Malegaon – Maulana Mukhtar Ahmad Nadvi Technical Campus (MMANTC), one of India’s philanthropic business families – Hamdard National Foundation (HECA) and Business & Employment Bureau (BEB Delhi) supported by Hamdard National Foundation (HECA), Rajasthan’s Sunrise University in Alwar, Al-Ameen Mission; empowering poor and backward minority section of the society; education innovator, Smart Study Platform, Board Room Solutions providers – iTeltronics Pvt Ltd, a leading manufacturer, packager, marketer of incense sticks and perfumes in India – Rocket Agarbatty Company and Anees Classes which has been providing Education Service to thousands of students for over 29 years.