Education Reforms: Curricula, Teachers, Parents, Children – Itihaas Annual Summit

Yesterday was a very insightful, introspective and compelling morning, being at the ITIHAAS’ 9th Annual Summit of Teachers and Educationists. Over 250 of them congregated in this annual immersion from across the country. Prof Poonam Batra, an eminent professor who has contributed immensely to the education space in the country, and Ms Prachi Agarval, noted developmental psychologist were the first ones to address the esteemed audience on the issue of, “Teachers and Curricula in the times of Educational Reforms”

It was a pleasure listening to Prof Poonam Batra of Delhi University on the shifts in the outlook towards education as the nation went on a roller-coaster ride that the ruling dispensations took the nation through, with their concept of nation and nationalism, paradigms of developmental economics, notions of secularism and tolerance! Here are a few of the salient points I managed to capture and tweeted live too.

Prof. #PoonamBatra #Teachers&CurriculaInEducationalReforms @ITIHAASKiBaat

  • Teachers have become one of the most marginalized, in a society that is hierarchical! #EducationalReforms are driven by #EconomicReforms. what are the #HumanIndicators? #Health #Education sliding further
  • #Teachers are catalysts in societal transformation. But #liberalization made the schools a market place #lessonplans, #studentprojects are being bought! #Teachers become #laborers #corporates who don’t understand #children and #education are packaging
  • #EducationPolicy is being pushed by #VentureCapitalists. #Teachers are no where in deciding what, why, when, where and how of #curriculum. #market has taken over #love, #affection too. Where is #Education? Where is development of #people?
  • We are focusing on #learningOutcome than #LearningExperiences #joy #child #Centricity has vanished! #Education has to be contextual, you cannot have global uniformity. Marginalization of #knowledge #context of course #Teachers.
  • #Child-centred vs #Discipline, #traditional vs #modern, why do we see only #polarity? Best way to learn is to have a non-threatening environment? Freedom means free to make mistakes, air opinions! Children observes your walk, do not talk!

Here are few points that I captured from Prachi’s sharings – @PrachiAgarval

  • Why do we go to #school? How many of us as #Teachers promote #questioning? Do we help the child to #realize his #potential? #developmental #relationship
  • Are we listening, understanding children? Are we co-creating? are we making children comfortable in committing mistakes? Helping them be compassionate? how many of us use our potential? How will we help children unearth theirs? #ExpressCare belonging, #ChallengeGrowth

Singers from TONK who have been championing the cause of education in country side, championed by dear friend Amir Abidi and his movement. The audience had the privilege of listening them.

I had short engaging interaction with the audience on  “#Perspectives, in the rapidly changing #world”.

Thanks to my dear friend Manohar Khushalani, an eminent theater personality and a Professor at IIIT Delhi, who went live on FACEBOOK while I was engaging the keenly learning facilitators and mentors in the auditorium.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmanohar.khushalani%2Fvideos%2F10155891765792943%2F&show_text=0&width=267

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmanohar.khushalani%2Fvideos%2F10155891777857943%2F&show_text=0&width=267

#Education is so much more! It is not about syllabus and marks for sure!

I am summing up the three things that any #educationist or #institution should strive to facilitate in a #child………………………..

1. Desire to #learn, through life: Life-long #learner
2. Have #courage to push boundaries: #Discover more of self. Dare to make #mistakes.
3. Be #humble whatever you achieve: #humility

These will not only help one in the changing times, but also #facilitate one ride the #change. Be the #master of your journey and destiny. Be the #change-maker. #Impact the #world.

#Shivani  of @ITIHAASKiBaat nicely summed up. If you do not know #where you are #coming from; if you do not take pride in who you are,  #why and #How will you know where you want to go? Do we facilitate #integrity #compassion #courage #humility?

Smita Vats, the founder of ITIHAAS concluded in her inimitable style, exhorting the teachers to create their own stories that they and also the society will be proud of, and also facilitate children in a manner that their stories too become legends.

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DU first cut-off list…… Was on DD News Night : What should be the way ahead for INDIA?

Sreeni was in the panel discussion on Delhi University cut-offs of 2014 and way ahead …

Once again it was that time of year when the Delhi University announced the first cut-offs for various colleges under it, late last night and was made public this morning by the newspapers.

This year was more special because the date for announcing was deferred following the chaos created by the UGC vs DU wrangle on scrapping Four YEAR undergrad prog! UGC under the very same Chairperson who was praising the FYUP last year, did a volte-face on FYUP this year. The govt changed and so did the sing-song! When will our ‘EDUCATION LEADERS’ and ‘POLITICAL LEADERS’ see education as key to eradication of all ills? As long as education system is a tool in their hands for personal fights and glory, nothing can improve.

Anyways, after the roll back of FYUP, the cut-offs were announced and lo behold, again 100% was the cut-off for a few courses in a couple of not so sought-after colleges! How? Why?

Doordarshan had called me to be on the panel to discuss the issue of DU cut-off list this year. In the DD studios I was with Dr. Pradhyuman Sharma, Principal, The Hindu college in the Hindi news bulletin, while I was with Dr. Varshney, Dean, Student affairs, South Campus of Delhi University in the English bulletin; while Mr. Ashok Ganguli, ex-chairperson, CBSE linked from Lucknow; We also had a student, who have had tough times in the DU admission process, in each of the bulletin, in the studios.

Issues discussed –

High cut-offs? When students get 100% in Psychology and English, obviously the colleges have to keep the cut-offs at the maximum. Otherwise they may be inundated with so many forms and if they have to accept all of those who apply, then they had it. I got to know during the interactions, that a couple colleges were at the receiving end last year – over 1200 had to be admitted, when they thought an in-take of 180 for a particular course, as the college’s cutoff was low! So colleges are playing safe this year.

Mr Ashok Ganguli spoke – in the CBSE results, over 60000 student scored more than 92% in Maths; many got 100% in English! He was talking about the grace marks being given, liberal corrections etc that has made it worse..

Education and Curriculum! Should our school education not orient towards skills and problem solving than rote learning and re-production. That is the only way to get out of this madness of 100% scores and Merit lists!! And get students with capabilities into higher education..

Applications : Every student hedges. Most students do not really know what they want to do in life. Hence they apply to inexplicable number of courses in as many colleges..This year there were 2,75,000+ applications for mere 54000 seats…. In all possibility the number of applicants may be 1.5 lakh, if we consider each one applying for multiple courses / colleges!

Elimination vs Selection Why should the DU admissions be an elimination process? why cannot it be a selection process? why should it not have entrance exams for every course? In fact, the existing entrance exams for courses in English, Journalism too got abolished!! The entrance exams may get even not so high-scorers in board, but better off for the course!

Why only Delhi? Why should DU get applicants from Dibrugarh, Ladakh, Pondicherry, chennai, Bangalore……. Is Delhi University, only centre for excellence? Do we as a nation lack any other centre of excellence?

  • In the nation rankings of colleges, about only 20% of the colleges from DU come in the list, eighty percent are from other centres of excellence. Then why such a rush to Delhi? Should we convert a few of those outstanding colleges across the country to convert into universities with a few more colleges under their wings to mentor to increase their quality and standings.
  • Is it the eco-system around the Delhi University that is most attractive and productive? or Is it a life-style choice? Is it the centre-of-power of the nation….Is there more opportunities here for student?

More colleges? Is having more colleges in Delhi university the solution? How many more colleges will we have? Should you convert top colleges into universities with multiple campuses across the country?

Why only a few courses?  Do only these courses offer potential employment? Is it a flock mindset? How do we counsel and mentor students, their parents and families to opt for those courses and subjects that the students have natural flair for? Can the universities / colleges work with schools to help them facilitate this process? Should it not be the role of every faculty / professor to mentor students in the class?

Entry of TOP foreign universities a solution? This has been lying in the cold storage for a long time. With middle-class families having more and more disposal income in their hand, with crunch of quality colleges, are looking at top universities of the world. Indians spend about $20 billion annually to get their education abroad! The universities abroad are eyeing Indians along with Chinese to fill their coffers! Will these families look at the best of the colleges setting up campuses in India? Of course, there are issues of – which universities will come to India? What is the pricing point at which families lap it up? How will we ensure quality of world standard? How will we attract the FACULTY of that caliber?

Is TECHNOLOGY the way ahead? The numbers in the future are going to increase for sure, with 75% of the population expected to be under the age of 24 by 2020! The problem is going to get compounded as we go along. Should as a nation we not look for solutions that will address this issue. This can be addressed with a two pronged approach –

Can we not lay emphasis on exit exams than the entrance gates?

  • Can we not allow students to apply for any course of his or her choice irrespective of what scores they get?
  • Can we not create Exit examination tough enough to award only those who are really good.
  • Let the duration of the program be decided by the quality of the student… one may finish the program in two years, while a few may take even 7-10 years

Can we have an outstanding HYBRID model (BEAM-CLICK-Brick & Mortar) with a huge emphasis in virtual facilitation

  • Pool the outstanding faculty talent from across the country to create / can video sessions on every subject and upload on the web to access
  • Have all the contents / notes online for students to peruse and study
  • Have doubt clearing sessions live with faculty to interact ; thousands can attend these sessions at one go, with a good mechanism
  • Have surprise tests, short and long tests, and track performances
  • Unsatisfactory performances should compel the student to repeat that segment/course of the programme
  • There can be a few contact sessions with eminent faculty…

For me it will not be a wonder if quite a few who undergo the technology-facilitated programme out-perform those who are admitted to campus-based  programmes. I have had an exposure of over 14 years in this space of tech-facilitated learning and I can vouch for this way! Indeed there will be a great opposition for this model – one of the co-panelist was very vehement! But that is the way… Best of the world universities (MIT, Stanford, Harvard…) are going on to this platform, launching their MOOCs – ….. Phoenix set the tone!

Our own IITs and IISc came together to initiate NPTEL (https://www.youtube.com/user/nptelhrd) to provide learning resources to Engineering students from those engineering colleges across the country that lack quality faculty and learning resources. This can be made more interesting and compelling…… by integrating with compulsory hands-on-learning with SMEs in such a way that the students get practical exposure while the SMEs get keen manpower….

We certainly need someone at the HRD ministry with a grand vision for our nation! Else we will be doing the delta changes and will go back and forth with protestations coming from all directions. This government has a mandate, it needs to take those bold steps to make a bit difference to the real driver – EDUCATION – for the nation’s excellence in every space.

I rest my thoughts here…..kindly share your thoughts here …

Mama, Papa…. there is nothing in my bag today!

This rabbit does not eat carrot! …. how come?

Today I did my math and science,

I toasted bread,

I halved and quartered,

I counted, measured, used my eyes,

and ears and head.

I added and subtracted on the way,

I used a magnet, blocks and memory tray,

I learnt about a rainbow and how to weigh.

So please. don’t say, anything in your bag today?

How to paint my fence!

You see I am sharing as I play,

I learned to listen and speak clearly when I talk,

to wait my turn, and when inside, to walk.

To put my thoughts into a phrase,

to guide a crayon through a maze,

To find my name and write it down,

to do it with a smile and not a frown.

To put my painting brush away,

so please don’t say, what, nothing in your bag today?

What fun building my own home!

I have learnt about a snail and a worm,

remembering how to take my turn,

Helped a friend when he was stuck,

learnt that water runs off a duck,

I looked at words from left to right,

agreed to differ, not to fight.

So please don’t say, did you only play today?

 – Anonymous

Early Childhood Education – School Leadership Conferences – Facilitating and Reflecting

Early Childhood Education - School Leadership Conference

Last couple of months have seen me crisscrossing the country to facilitate this conference in multiple cities and a few more are lined up in the coming weeks. Though I have been involved in creating and anchoring workshops for parents, adults, mentors and educational leaders in the early childhood space for over a decade, one for the school leadership has definitely been a challenging one, always.

The top most of these challenges is that of creating eagerness in the school leaders to just come together to share their learning while being open to learning from others. Though we, as school and education leaders, are looked up to create and nurture learning, most of us have an ‘aura’ about ourselves and think that ‘we are the be all and end all’. Learning has agenda does not exist. We ‘Impart Knowledge’!

I have always been looking at opportunities to learn, whether through books and web, or attending these learning fora and conferences wherein just listening to someone’s sharing adds richness to my thoughts and ideas. The personal interactions add so much more. Anchoring and facilitating has added immensely to my learning. The beauty of facilitating a session is in observation and reflection. So much emerge out of the interactions among the participants, as a facilitator I just need to put those together with a couple of ideas to reach out to everyone. It gives a sense of dejavu for almost every one.

I feel delighted and also satisfied when at the end of my workshops the participants – parents, mentors or school leaders – come and share how they identified themselves with the issues or examples that I raised or shared. It is just about our ability to observe happenings around us closely, empathize with the situation, relate to them and imbibe the learning and essence, while also being good at expressing the way others can identify with it.

So much more to learn and so much more to share and do to reach out to every parent and adult to make a small difference to every child around us, who are young leaders of today capable of impacting the world of tomorrow.

Significance of Art Education in early childhood and school life – Guru Geeta Chandran

Guru Geeta Chandran demonstrating a few finer elements of dance

I got a call from one of my friends, Sanjay, who after working in NDTV for a while has moved into being an independent film maker focused on making films on girl child. Sanjay wanted to have two young dancers, Mallika and Nandu, daughter and niece respectively, to be part of the short film. I was supposed to be reach the location for the shoot, Shiv Nadar School in Noida by 9:30am. When I reached with the children, I got a call from Sanjay that the shooting unit is behind schedule and they will be able to reach only by 10:30.

As I had time, I thought of meeting my good old friends Col Gopal Karunakaran, the operational head of the Shiv Nadar school chain as well as the principal of the Noida campus, Ms Shashi Banerjee who were in the campus. To my pleasant surprise, that was the first day of the new academic year and the teachers from both the campuses of Shiv Nadar school were in their Noida campus for the inaugural session of the teachers training week. Shashi met me in the corridor and ushered me into the lift, inviting me for the session and was delighted to see Padmasri Geeta Chandran heading to session.

The hall was full with teachers and I found a quiet place at the back of the hall and settled on the floor next to a short table to listen to Geetaji. After the initial lamp lighting and pleasantries, Geetaji addressed the audience, about ‘significance of art education in the life of a child and how to facilitate’. She spoke from her heart. She is an eloquent speaker and does not mince any words when she has to.

I tried to recall her interactions, to reproduce here in her own words…. also added a few photos that I captured..

a. Arts and aesthetics bring sensitivity to human being. It builds tolerance, empathy and concern towards fellow beings and the nature around us. In the current context these are very important and need of the hour.

b. I remember going to concerts at the age of two. I have been very fortunate to have parents who took pains to expose us to these finer things very early in life. And I was introduced to dance at the age of 5.

c. In those days LP records were the norm. We used to listen to those 30 songs every day. As a child we knew the lyrics, raga and everything to do with the song. It was reinforced every day.

d. For the current generation, such a thing will set boredom soon. They want newness all the time. Technology changing ever fast, with that the youth is fickle.

e. We, as teachers, have a great role to play in the life of a child. Our words make or mar the child. In fact, what we say is the last word when the children are in early school. Our impact cannot be easily measured.

f. Art education is marginalized in schools, so are the art teachers. It comes under extra-curricular!! Subject teachers do not want to understand the significance of arts. And it is also true that the arts teachers do not mind about other subjects! Collaborating is the key. How do we integrate the curriculum? Very few schools are working upon.

g. We need to create energy in the class, especially when the space itself is challenging and we have to cater to huge numbers in the classes simultaneously.

h. It is very important how we connect with the children. How we communicate and share without compromising on the aesthetic expression. Building that emotional connect is the key.

i. When you want to buy a dress, you go to 100 shops to select, when it comes to arts you decide the very first instance.

j. Singers have a variety of styles to keep the audience interested – kajri, thumri, tharana…dancers too need to incorporate. When I was in 20s, I started incorporating Meera Bhajans etc to get the audience interested.

k. Yes, I do agree that we need to push the frontiers of art, need to understand the demands of the day and respond. But, the demand has gone to other extreme, now. People come and ask me that I need to perform in 40mts and that they want a few that are in their wish list!

l. As part of the committee at NCERT, to rejuvenate art education, a lot have been researched and suggested. NCF (national curriculum framework) talks about these. The implementation in schools is nowhere near what has been suggested. Very few school leaders take the initiative. We need to do it in every school to make it part of life, to help every child grow into a responsible citizen with sensitivity towards everyone else.

Let me wind up with a short demonstration to help one understand Lord Shiva, and his celestial existence…

Significance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta Chandran
Significance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta Chandran
Significance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta ChandranSignificance of Art Education in early childhood and schools - Guru Geeta Chandran

If you found the article interesting, then make sure you share with others. Use the buttons downunder to pass the article on and also leave your invaluable feedback. Thanks. Sreeni@careerlauncher.com

Facilitating Children to be Honest – A great experience and lesson from Monica, IWS, Indore

I am reproducing an experience of a mentor that acted as a reinforcement of her thoughts and practices, for the benefit of every parent and mentor / teacher. I apologize for any grammatical or spelling mistakes in here, as I thought the spirit is of paramount importance. Thanks and regards.

For the last few days, I have often been hearing that a few stationery items are  being stolen from my class, IV A.

One day as soon as I entered the class, Aman came to me saying that I  had brought a golden pen which has got stolen from my bag. I thought  of addressing the issue and I shared one of my school days incidents  which still has a deep impression on my mind.

In our school days we use to carry Tiffin from home and during the lunch break there was a
food stall which was put up at lunch time everyday which had a few  eatables like baked samosa, Mangola  (a mango drink) and soya milk.  Initially our teachers had the duty of standing there collecting money and giving us what we wanted.

One day our Principal decided that no one needs to monitor children, just keep a money box children will put the money and will buy what they want. This is how I remember my first lesson of honesty started. After a few days it was found that ten rupees were less in the
collection. Next day Principal Madam while addressing the assembly shared that I don’t know where something has gone wrong – either it has  happened by mistake as somebody has forgotten to put the money or someone has deliberately done a wrong thing. She further said whatever the case would have been I just want that the next day’s amount should
have a plus 10.

To our surprise it happened that way and the next day’s collection had  an additional amount of plus 10. While sharing this incidence with the class I said the same thing. That whoever has taken Aman’s pen I am not interested in the name but it would be good if tomorrow Aman finds his golden pen back in his bag.

TO MY SURPRISE IT HAPPENED AND NEXT DAY AMAN’S PEN WAS BACK IN HIS
BAG. MY HAPPINESS KNEW NO BOUND. IT WAS LITTLE HARD TO BELIEVE BUT IT
HAPPENED.

We all clapped for the unknown child who with understanding demonstrated honesty.

This incident in my classroom set me thinking that NO CHILD IS BAD, WE JUST NEED TO THINK HOW TO DEAL.

‘Skilling India is a national imperative’ – Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite and sweet 16 too.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Dear Sanjay, The last couple of months, ever since I got to know about your decision of exploring new challenges and pastures beyond Career Launcher, I have been having a feeling of losing one of my vital organs and being incapacitated. I could not reconcile to the fact that you will not be there shoulder to shoulder in the endeavours, every day. But, I am sure, you will be a CL-ite in spirit and letter for life time.

I still recall the early days, 1998, when we used to meet at the gate of Balwant Rai Mehta school, GK-II, for taking CAT prep-classes. We used to share jokes and had a good laugh, as well as having intense interactions about how to go about in a particular session, and we swapped classes in between too at times. Your contribution to expanding the CL horizons geographically, strategically and spiritually is beyond compare. You have left indelible marks in the journey and an enviable benchmarks, very few can match. I salute you and your steadfastness.

All the memories of this long journey together, are very cherished ones for me, and will be there for life. I am sharing here your parting note, that came into my mail box, talking about future of India and our responsibility. Thanks Sanjay for everything and being there. Love you Sanjay.

The captures of Sanjay’s farewell at CL HO, Greater Noida.

Srijan 2012 - Seventy nodal locations, entire CL FamilySanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions captured

———Sanjay’s note in first person – Skilling India is a national imperative —–

Last week I took some personal time out to visit rural skill development centers in two backward districts of Orissa. Besides the obvious, I was glad to note the not so obvious. Entrepreneurship, specially in challenging circumstances must depend on creativity and out of the box thinking and in such circumstances one must look, figuratively speaking, in the dark corners of the room rather than in the areas that are well lit.

While the obvious is, well, so obvious; rural youth learning computers, gaining skills to become household electricians or car engine mechanics or training to work in hotel kitchens, etc. I was glad to note the other emerging story. The trainers or faculty were young men and women who were themselves degree or diploma holders from local engineering colleges and polytechnics. It was heart warming to meet with a BE Electrical graduate of 2008 who is now contributing to the skill effort in general but more importantly he has procured gainful and sustainable employment for himself.

It leads me to think of all the upsides that this small yet powerful example has displayed. Think of the great multiplier effect that can be impacted by such initiatives. The just graduated engineer may have never found gainful employment upon graduating from a, so called, Tier III engineering college. However, he chanced upon this teaching opportunity and is earning a livelihood and heartily participating in India’s growing consumerism, we hope not conspicuous, adding wealth to those below and above him. The great Indian smorgasbord of consumer durable, non-durable and FMCG companies are all benefitiing from this young person’s propensity and opportunity to earn and spend. It sounds like a perfect win-win for atleast these two stakeholders.

The point that I am trying to drive home here is plain and simple; such skilling/training initiatives right at the bottom of the pyramid across india’s length & breadth can have a tsunami effect on India’s economy and GDP growth rates. The micro can help build the macro picture convincingly, surely and far more robustly than some tweaks to CRR, PLR, etc, etc.

If I owned a biscuit manufacturing company, besides the traditional approach to business viz building the brand, stocking the channel, ensuring pull & push, connecting with consumers and ensuring that all the functions of a normal business are working full steam, I’d also take time out and invest in skill training initiatives that will probably ensure a lifetime pipeline of future customers who will have the needs & wants and more importantly the means to consume my biscuits. Doesn’t this make sense, if not today then atleast for the day after?

India stands at the threshold of a great opportunity; amidst a sea of nations and economies that are growing old our country is ‘young’; about 700 million young. This is more than adequate human capital  to run all the factories, banks, clinics and malls in the entire western world and with all the energy and resources of bounding youth. This is more than just ‘manpower’; it is human capital and it can be harnessed and deployed to generate large amounts of benefits for all stakeholders. This mass movement can fundamentally alter the future of this country.

 

Much like parliament aggressively discusses the Lokpal issue or for that matter any other political or economic issue the skilling agenda for India must be the single most important agenda for discussion and action.

While the government and our so called ‘leadership’ takes its time to figure out what is really important and what is not, private industry must take up the mantle and do what it needs to do. If corporate India can become the center of gravity for a large, universal skill training & education movement it can ignite the economy.

From this perspective, NSDC is doing seminal work in catalyzing the disparate & strewn components of this national agenda to come together and put a logical picture in place. It’s working as a matchmaker to bring various beneficiaries together and help them align and stay that way. NSDC is a government initiative at the very highest level and that is probably good thinking and a great beginning. But this is also akin to the proverbial “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink” . The system needs to nurture the skilling agenda by correcting or putting in place some very basis structural systems in place such as Financial Inclusion, Banking services reach, Employment generation, Micro Financing, Entrepreneurship development.

So while one can espouse what the establishment or administration should do one has to simultaneously address the learners’ dogma of going back to school, skepticism of yet another pre-poll promise and overarching low RoE (Return on Education).

Finally, programs & initiatives like MNREGA & social security may need to be revisited. Are these in direct conflict with the skilling India agenda?

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