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Time to reboot education system, says PM’s advisor


6-Aug-2013 :

The New Indian Express

It is time to reboot the education system in the country, which is in need of resuscitation, said S Ramadorai, advisor to the Prime Minister in the National Skill Development Council and the vice-chairman of Tata Consultancy Services.

Delivering the Second C K Parhlad Memorial Lecture, organised by Aspen Institute of India and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently, Ramadorai said: “We are not working smart, not learning from what is happening in other nations and not planning ahead.”

He said that the education system, as a conventional model of assorted brick and mortar schools, would soon be questioned as the global universities were going online. He said that most universities, below the upper tier, would have to integrate with a second virtual university into the standard one. He also highlighted how the US is planning to provide more than 99 per cent students with high speed Internet. He said that the 21st Century model demanded shedding of traditional mind sets. “Online resources like wikis to broadcast, are allowing children and adults to pursue education of their own. This can also help empower children in rural areas of India, which lack quality teachers.” Ramadorai said and added that schools and universities on cloud computing was real possibility.

“We need to work out a plan to make on-demand learning, a reality using the national IT backbone on the rural broadband which is currently under implementation,” he said.

He also highlighted how several IITs, Nasscom and several private technology companies had joined hands to provide free online courses. “This could help 1,00,000 to 1,50,000 people a year and make them ready for job,” he said.

He said the need of the hour was to have job-led growth and for this, one had to cultivate entrepreneurs and promote small and medium enterprises. He also suggested a constituency model that would aim to leverage the local MP and his field office as a powerful last mile solution for a student.

“On a national scale, if each MP is responsible for training 5,000 youth in his or her constituency, then in the next five years we will have 1.5 crore skilled workforce. The model is already being implemented in certain pockets and we are planning to scale it up,” he said.

The second one is the National Service Scheme (NSS), a youth-focused initiative that has grown considerably with 0.4 million to 2.3 million members operating in 219 institutions this year. There is a move by the Ministry of Youth Affairs to reposition the NSS by introducing skills training, he said. “A 10-university pilot is being launched this year and if proves successful, will provide a demonstrable model for future,” he added. He also highlighted¬† the Maharashtra initiative, which is trying to bridge the demand for skilled labour by launching a portal next month.


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