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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VCCircle conference on Edu-Investments, November 18, Gurgaon, India – My notes as a Panelist

I was part of two sessions, one as a panelist and the other as a special invitee… Here is my notes – Pre-event, during Event and post thoughts…

PANEL

Edupreneurs: Revolutionising the Effectiveness of Education Delivery Systems (How can edupreneurs work in a dichotomic market like India to merge the chasms between the organized and highly unorganized education sector in the country, mainly higher education? Building sustainable businesses is the key to being a successful entrepreneur. How should entrepreneurs and institutes walk away from working in silos and leverage each other’s strength in creating a robust education system?

Panel Members –

– Manjula Pooja Shroff, Chairperson, Kalorex – Moderator
– Bindu Rana, Director, Millenium schools
– Prachi Windlass, Director, Michael and Susan Dell foundation, INDIA
– Gopal Devanahalli, VP, Manipal Global Education, Manipal Group
– R. Sreenvasan, Co-Founder, CL Educate

cxsotorxeaanhw6-jpg-large

Each one planned to introduce oneself and ones work, in short….

My Pre-Event NOTES of CL Educate Intro…

Career Launcher is a leader in –
– Test Prep
– K-12 education – Indus world schools
– Skill education – skill schools

Also through the following entities, CL does capacity building of University and Corporate

– CL Media – Digital Presence
– GK Publications – Curricula and Pedagogy; Curriculum Support & Publishing
– 361 degree – On Demand  Learning
– Accendere – Research Incubator
– Bilakes – Business Incubation & Seed Funding
– Kestone – Corporate empowerment and building institutional Partnerships

Statistics in Numbers

CL – 265 locations, 1.5 million engaged, over 1.5 lakhs more than 50 hours
Accendere – Research incubation, Patenting, Journal publishing
CL Media – 163 institutions trust with us for branding, outreach and awareness building
Kestone – integrated marketing,events, customer activation, training, staffing; 100 corporates, 500 events – wipron nokia, microsoft, snapdeal, PayTM
G K P – 1.5 million books.. career and education
361 degree – largest in India – online enabling partner for University and corporates over 20K learners

Footprint – 20K schools and colleges; 1.5 lakh students > 18,200 hours on our web offerings per week

What CL does at UNIVERSITIES AND INSTITUTIONS

Academic Thought Leadership, International Presence, Institution Credibility

– Capacity building of universities and institutions, learning institutions
– Consulting Visioning Strategic Thinking
– Faculty, Academic development, Research and innovation
– Admissions: Outreach and Application – TAAF Services
– MARTECHING
– skill education
– Incubation and entrepreneurship
– Career Development Center – Employability, Higher studies facilitation

—CONTEXT——- current market scenario —–challenges for the nation

Only 18% graduates are employable in India
91% software professionals lack programming and algorithm skills while 60% lack domain skills
71% lack soft and cognitive skills while 73% lack English speaking and comprehension skills
57.96% have poor analytical and quantitative skills
For core jobs in mechanical, electronics/electrical and civil jobs, only a mere 7.49% are employable


The session was supposed to be on higher-education, but the panel felt that the continuum from school to university has similar challenges and reforms are needed across the segments. Also opportunities and investment needs do exist across. So the pre-session discussion covered the entire spectrum.

Pre-event notes of each of the panelists..

Issues I noted down ..

– Democratization of Learning and its access
– Contestability of markets, access to Universities
– Digital technologies and creating impact
– Mobility and the influence in learning; Global Mobility
– Integration with industry; Industry funding research
– Opportunities for entrepreneurs and Funding possibilities

– Life-long LEARNERS, COURAGE, HUMILITY : Key, How to instill?

Gopal Devanahalli wanted to talk about

– I would like to focus on higher education and continuing education for working professionals.
– Changing learning needs of working professionals – esp in certain industries like IT
– Online courses & types of courses that are relevant to the learners
– The effectiveness of the online delivery model and how to make it more effective.
– Regulatory issues

Prachi Jain Windlass  wanted to talk about the following –

– Opportunity areas in K12 education, college entrance and career readiness.
– Opportunities for collaboration and leveraging the ecosystem. Many of our portfolio companies: Avanti, Convegenius and OnlineTyari are taking this approach. understanding their core and leveraging the ecosystem for non core areas.
– Our experience in breaking down the silos in the govt education system, and the role that private sector players can play, risks involved.

Manjula Pooja Shroff of Kalorex wanted to focus upon
– Changing scenarios
– Integration of k-12 to Higher Ed
– Teaching Learning delivery process

Bindu Rana’s concerns included

– Challenges in running schools – to deliver the intended
– Regulations stifling the effectiveness
– Challenges in setting up rural schools – quality, price point, training, delivery

– Why cannot the government see education as any other industry? With challenges of access and quality existing all across..

  • Promote PPP models across
  • Engage and bring in private partners to collaborate in school and university systems
  • Use technology to improve training of teachers in enriching content, pedagogy and all processes
  • ….

Other Issues discussed across panels – My notes

Is the nation ready for only digital? Is that trend every where?
– hybrid model is the most successful one
– engaging is the key, mentoring, giving the confidence

Lessons from failures? Key to success
– Team with vision
– sustainable relationship within and with customer
– respect with disagreements in board room and among the team members

Skill education went through cycles.. now we are in the third..
A. IT education – 80s and 90s
B. Sales upgradation – 2000 onwards..
C. now vocational? Entrepreneurship
– quality of higher education is lacking
– rote to conceptual learning, how will we make it happen
– concept of job, loyalty shifting
– nature of learning will have to shift
– propensity to entrepreneurship
– learning to learn paradigm

How do we enable learners to face VUCA?

– VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity
– learning, calling passion from within, help others raise their capabilities

Public education….how to revive?
– policy enablement

– Rote to Conceptual learning?
– edtech – retrain teachers, students,
– appraising teachers, reward them, being discipline,monitor

Home schooling
– becoming popular
– investment opportunities?
– work-life, work-home balancing

Key to succeed in Education space

Quality first, then scale
Be prepared for long haul, then scale
Then comes franchising

—————————————————– As a special invitee..

AKAMAI Presentation – Digital delivery platform, especially Video that will be 80% of the content on-line in the near future..

– formats : 5 min and 20 min content
– launch has to be fast, else you lose the client/subscriber

High quality
– no stalling/no buffering;
– always available, relevant,
– no data plan restrictions

Education on mobility? what are the trends, and what will be challenges of the future..

Instant user experience – FB provides
Consume as much as possible
Offline content goes online – you tube
Download during nights, local content play while travel
Challenges about space on device
Battery running out – delete the app

Here is the link to a set of photographs of the event uploaded by VCCircle on their FB page https://www.facebook.com/VCC-Events-1176152369113449/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1355409131187771

Save

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Horse and Goat : whom are we sacrificing? How do we enable!

There was a farmer who had a horse and a goat…..One day, the horse fell ill.

So the farmer called the veterinarian, who said:

“Well, your horse has a virus. He must take this medicine for three days.
I’ll come back on the 3rd day and if he’s not better, we’re going to have to put him down.

The goat, standing nearby, listened to their conversation and started introspecting.

The next day, they gave the horse the medicine and left.

The goat approached the horse and said: “Be strong, my friend.
Get up or else they’re going to put you to sleep!”

On the second day, they again gave the horse the medicine and left.

The goat came back and said: “Come on buddy, get up or else you’re going to die!
Come on, I’ll help you get up. Let’s go! One, two, three…”

On the third day, they came to give the horse the medicine and the vet said:
“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to put him down tomorrow. Otherwise,
the virus might spread and infect the other horses”.

After they left, the goat approached the horse and said: “Listen pal, it’s now or never!
Get up, come on! Have courage! Come on! Get up! Get up! That’s it, slowly! Great!
Come on, one, two, three… Good, good. Now faster, come on…… Fantastic! Run, run more!
Yes! Yay! Yes! You did it, you’re a champion…!!!”

All of a sudden, the owner came back and saw the horse running in the field! He began shouting:
“It’s a miracle! My horse is cured. We must have a grand party. Let’s kill the goat!!!!”

For introspection :
Who is the real contributor? Am I listening to the one who is only shouting? Am I rewarding the right person? How do I create a good feedback loop?

—————

If anyone ever tells you that your work is unprofessional, remember:

AMATEURS BUILT THE ARK [which saved all the species]

and

PROFESSIONALS BUILT THE TITANIC [all died tragically]

Gandhiji and his relevance today : Dr R K Pachauri, Chairperson of Nobel Prize winning IPCC

Dr. R K Pachauri sharing the Gandhian Values that are relevant today, and for ages to come

Dr. R K Pachauri sharing the Gandhian Values that are relevant today, and for ages to come

Padma vibhushan Dr, R. k . Pachauri, Chair of intergovernmental panel on climate change (ipcc) addressing the gathering at BIMTECH on the occassion of inauguration of the golden jubilee celebrations, shared a few inspiring thoughts from the journey of Mahatma Gandhi, as it was also OCT 2nd, Gandhiji’s birth Anniversary. Here I try to recall for my own self and also for those who are keen learners.

Dr. Pachauri, apart from being instrumental in IPCC getting the NOBEL peace prize for the work it has been doing under his leadership, has also been decorated by the governments of France, Japan, finland, mexico, belgium. He is the director of TERI (The Energy Research Institute of India, formerly TATA ENERGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE)

His speech revolved around the question “Can the MOTHER EARTH bear the brunt of materialistic world? For how long?”, especially in the context of business and the conscience business management graduates need to have in the dynamically changing world.

Tatas and Birlas, being at the forefront of industrialization of the country have been conscious about contributing to the nation and the environment. GD Birla’ left his vast empire to his son B K Birla, advising that he will use the wealth for the cause of humanity apart from growing the wealth in a fair manner. We can see their contributions, in terms of institutions they have created that are identities of our nation, INDIA.

Dr. Pachauri shared Gandhiji’s list to his grandson of ‘Seven sins that will destroy us’. We need to be very conscious of these in the emerging socio-political conditions.

– Wealth without work
– Pleasure without conscience
– Knowledge without character
– Commerce without morality
– Science without humanity
– Worship without sacrifice
– politics without principles

Gandhiji wrote this on a piece of paper to his grandson, on the very day, a few hours before his assassination.

It is time to rediscover Gandhiji. Gandhiji has to be with us 365 days a year. It is not about one single day…We need to leave behind a legacy for our children

SEVEN thoughts culled out from the principles that Gandhiji said and followed.. and its relevance..

1. Industry should regard themselves as trustees of the society

Jagdish Bhagavati said “It is pity that the leaders in the industry are earning only to do the vulgar display”

G d Birla is a great example of being a follower of Gandhiji. He was a visionary who has created such a value for the nation, and never displayed vulgarity of the wealth. CSR has to be within. It has to come from within each of those who are going to lead the industry in the future. We need to lose ourselves in those whom we have to serve, the society at large; nothing as satisfying as serving to the society.

Gandhiji is far more relevant today than at any other point in the past.

We need to go beyond the consumerist values prevalent today. We are acting like the locusts. We need to protect and preserve natural resources around us. We are binging unmitigated, without any constraints. Where will it take us?

We want to buy cars, more cars. In a society where substantial numbers are deprived, can we increase the disparity.

2. Model of development

India cannot prosper if rural India is left behind. Urbanization is inevitable. But at what rate? Are we destroying social values, culture and tradition. Are we able to adjust with the rapid urbanization.

The social fabric and cultural ethos is under enormous pressure. Neighbors do not know each other. Community involvement has to be promoted. Individual enterprise is important and is a corner stone of growth, but are we conscious of our social responsibility?

3. Value of maintaining natural resources

“Mr Gandhi would you want India reach the level of prosperity as great Britain” was a question put to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji responded -“Great Briton needed Half of the planet. How many planets do we need?” We cannot have a plan B, as there is no planet B.

4. The pattern of economic developement, in a subtle way. GDP is seen as the measure of growth. There a few significant things that if overseen then we are in the wrong direction

Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction- Gandhi

5. Wildlife is decreasing in the jungle, but increasing in the cities? The more we prosper, the greater is our propensity towards profligacy and irreverence towards the nature and systems

6. Gandhi always was concerned with the underprivileged. Apply the test of what is the underprivileged going to receive? We are worse than most of the African countries.

Gandhiji spoke about holistic living –

– Keep focus on the benefit of the poor
– keep responsibility of the society in mind

7. India must emerge a pattern of sustainable development. We need to set an example. Each one of us has the responsibility. We are now a population of 9bn from 2bn in the beginning of 20th century. what do we pass on to the next generations..

—–

Q&A

1. Corporates and individuals know there is no planet B. we are losing cultural ethos. How do we work to facilitate?

A. We need to ask ourselves what is the impact on ecosystem and poorest of the poor.

We clean our home and empty on the streets, philosophically speaking! We need to inbuilt conscience in our every day life..

2. We as B-School graduates are heading to MNC companies. We are looking at only profits. Your advise?

A. Kindly exercise your conscience. These need to dictate terms. Organizations are not incensitive. Can we individually or in groups influence. Companies are sensitive. Subject of triple bottom line. The reputation that you will gain due to sustainability practices is immense. We will be thru immense public scrutiny. You can be leaders to make the shifts in the direction

3. Mahatma Gandhi suggested many about environment. Which of these is the best to followed?

A. Mahatma Gandhi had a very comprehensive view of development. It is holistic. We need to express much greater solidarity with the poorest of the poor. It is a causality. Welfare programs are poorly administered. NREGA is poorly implemented – noble cause, poor outcome. We can use the resources judiciously. We cannot afford to have this level of poverty. It has to be very high on the agenda.

4. Each time I hear a person like you and about trusteeship, I wonder -‘ Is trying to create wealth a crime? Is poverty a byproduct of wealth creation? How to create trusteeship. How do we define this trusteeship

A. Wealth need not be created along with elimination of poverty. Poverty is being patronized. Politicians have done it for obvious reasons. If we had created skills and capabilities to pull population out of poverty, we would have been much better off. We need greater focus now.

What is the education that our children in the rural India is getting. Can we use resources effectively.

Jimmy Carter commented, “when I was governor of Georgia, very small number were in jail; today the number is seven times, largest per capit in the world”.

Four countries are responsible for the capital punishment – Iran, Russia, China and the US

Scandinavian countries are rich yet welfare rich too

5. CSR – based on your experience, kindly share

The TERI program, ‘Lighting a billion lives’, initiated. Reach 400mn who do not have access to electricity. Low cost, light weight LED lanterns, to train villagers. Women charge and rent to the villages… Corporates are supporting it. No direct benefit to them.. Covered 2000 villages. It will snowball.

We have no idea what it makes to a household by providing such a simple solution..children, women, family healthier with less fumes, more time to study and do other household work…

6. Land use and forestry are major contributors. Urbanization contributes to degradation. How can we be inclusive.

Delhi has areas that are green. We need pattern of urbanization that promotes natural beauty and greenery. There is a large area in this country that can be consciously worked upon. Nainital, where I was born is in a sad state – degradation

We can have green cities. Safdarjug airport can be converted to green spaces. We get stuck between departments. I hope we soon do it.

7. We saw you with a Lantern in hand with Al Gore in the Chicago summit… Could you share your thoughts on Role of government

A. I have a vision. Programs that can feed power into the national grid. How do we go about convincing the nation

Solar roof programmes. Delhi can really contribute with vast amount roof space. Solar water heater, can. Not do it consciously. We can save several hundred megawatts of power. We need leadership, that acts.

[Sreeni: One of my friends from Germany shared about the solar farms on the roof tops that pump into the national grid. Imagine with 340 days of bright sun across the country, how many Terrawatts of energy that we can generate..]

8. Climate change. A lot of hue and cry…

Is it really a reality. It is natural for the earth to have the changes. Is it natural? Climate of the earth changes gets due to natural and human factors. A large change is very likely because of human induced changes. With our behavioral patterns we are changing the planet. Right now we are overwhelming the changes, which may bring about natural overwhelming. Small islands, coastal area, rain fed agriculture and … Are getting impacted. Let us be conscious of our every act.

Thanks.

Social Media – tread judiciously to safeguard yourself and your institution

(An article written for a publication, to appear soon. While we are aware of all the lovely upsides, very few look at the downsides, especially in an institutional environment. This article / interview has been in that context.)

Social Media is a great tool to reap rich rewards, if tread judiciously.  Institutions and individuals have adopted social media (e.g. Facebook, Linkedin, blogs, Twitter) as a medium of sharing information and connecting with people.

  • Institutional uses include connecting with work groups, sharing knowledge, recruiting, rapid dissemination of information as conditions change, and connecting with immediate stakeholders or larger audience.
  • Individuals are excited about reconnecting with people who are distant in both time and location or engaging with others who share similar interests and many a times to show the face that would get them more following and LIKES!!

The impact of these tools of ‘unimaginable speed’ is far reaching. While this rapid and widespread dissemination has many advantages, many times the social networking sites end up being a place for big online cocktail party or even an open glasshouse! It is no more about reaching twenty people with ‘an image’, but about twenty million with a click of the mouse!

1. What are the specific concerns around security on social networks as it relates to the higher education sector (Institution, students and faculty)? Any incidents of security threat through the social network especially in academic environments?

The very nature of the medium makes an individual, institution, organization and even a nation vulnerable. The unintended and intended consequences are pretty high –

  • Classrooms with laptops and wifi connectivity have not only created distractions, but also made the institutions vulnerable – anything can fly-out any time!
  • Break-ins resulting from innocuous Tweets about being on leave or vacation
  • Students posting a short video on YOUTUBE –
    • A discussion among themselves about a situation or a faculty, tarnishing the image;
    • A video of preparing food in an unsanitary way leading to charges of health code violations
  • With corporate recruiters and other stake holders always cross checking the veracity of statements of individuals in their CVs or publications with their online presence and activities, every individual is vulnerable
  • Social friendship building to an emotional plane and at times threat to personal privacy leading to really bizarre situations; god forbid the extreme personal safety incidents that come to light!
  • At an extreme, institutionally –
    • It shapes perceptions and thinking like the one that may lead to revolutions like the African spring across nations, an Anna Hazare’s movement in India, ‘Occupy squares’ in the US – universities and institutions have always been the hubs and epicenters!
    • Educational, corporates, research labs, national agencies – The number of channels of exit of classified documents have multiplied: Wikileaks is a great example of thriving on such a phenomenon

Knowingly or unknowingly many of the innocuous acts on this medium of ‘anonymity’ and ‘lulled privacy’ are leading to damaging the public’s perception of an individual, institution, organization and nation.

In fact, the law has not yet caught up with the pace at which technology is moving, leaving many helpless! Nations like India are still groping in the dark!

2. What guidelines do you recommend/suggest to prepare students and faculty in the higher education sector for the security concerns on social networks?

Social networks are highly impacting channels to communicate to the outside world in an economical way. What could be a better way than reaching the target segment directly without clutter! World wide they have taken away about 20-30% pie from conventional marketing channels. But, yes, if it is not handled judiciously we can end up in a soup.

Recognizing the vulnerability and threats, intentional and unintentional, an institution has to safe guard itself and its community. The aforesaid reasons are compelling enough for most institutions to come out with behavioral code or advisory on ‘net-etiquettes’. Everyone will benefit if each one of us keep a few things in mind –

  • Discretion is part of valor – While creating your profile page or writing on any blog or public forum, do not divulge any detailed information [addresses, designations, birth dates, family details, schedules, business or financial information.] that would expose you or anyone else to unscrupulous individuals who may take advantage of it in the future or makes you vulnerable of identity theft or malicious threats.
  • Think before you type – Internet gives false security, your guard is low and at times you type things without any inhibitions.  This includes gossip, insults, obscenity or even outrageous claims. Be careful so that nothing will come back to haunt you.
  • Being a Skeptic helps for sure – Useful information as well as useless propaganda is abounding on social networks. While a few out there are wearing colorful masks or even masquerading as some one else to further their personal agenda, certainly a great number of posts or stupid or ignorant. Take everything with a pinch of salt!
  • Professionalism pays
    • Never post any picture or video of individuals, contexts and situations that can compromise anyone’s dignity and security, above all institutions.
    • Never download anything from untrusted sources that can compromise your personal privacy – computer, personal data, bank accounts and also institutions privacy.
    • Check the privacy and security setting details on your net-tools and bring in appropriate checks to thwart any untoward data flow.


  • Vigilant Firewalls save – Take precautions by creating monitoring methods to track individual accounts for unusual bandwidth traffic. This can help quicken any response towards untoward endings.

All in all, if our sensory and analytical antennae are conscious and alive, we can certainly take advantage of such a wonderful medium. Let us tread judiciously.

Sreeni in Charcha Mein – DD News : Reforms in Indian Education System – Is coaching a necessary evil?

For the textual version of it that I blogged earlier, kindly visit Sreeni in charch mein – Is coaching a necessary evil?

Indialogues – India’s TED – India future of change

Amit Shahi, founder Idea Works and initiator of Indialogues welcoming

Amit Shahi, founder Idea Works and initiator of Indialogues welcoming

Amit Shahi

Engaging with the youth was the main aim behind these intrepid entrepreneurs. AISEC international conference in Hyderabad was where we launched. We felt the best way to connect was through competition that leads to collaboration and then co-creating.

Five competitions – poster, essay, photography, product and business plan competition.

Over today and tomorrow, we will hear out the contestants presenting their ideas for India’s future of change.

Navdeep Suri, public diplomacy, has been instrumental. Indialogues is a catalyst for bringing youth from all over the world to contribute to the cause of India. This conference is to bring them together to brainstorm and share…

Navdeep Suri, diplomat and head public diplomacy division, MEA

Navdeep Suri, diplomat and head public diplomacy division, MEA

Navdeep Suri –

India communicates too much, but we hear multiple voices.

What is public diplomacy – changing attitudes or influencing attitude in broadest of the terms. It is overt. It is a tool to influence hearts and minds of men and folks alike; has been in existence since Chanakya in 4th century.

Public is being informed, not just be govt, but by TV, social medial 24 X 7. Old way of govt to govt is not the way any more. We have multitude of factors going into this. We diplomats and govt need to evolve as the technology is changing rapidly. Joseph… We are trying to put all effort in fostering cohesive narrative and creating soft power of India. We can be a catalyst in creating soft power.

We have magnificent history – culture, yoga, dance…then iconic Gandhi, Tagore…. IT industry, pharma, automobile, emerging industries… Can we work on communicating by partnering with organizations like IDEAWORKS, taking Idea India to youth at all universities. It is about integrating and collaborating between youth of India and in other world. Government will be in the back seat as a facilitator of this process.

At the Africa-India summit in Ethiopia, we were asked whether we could take the dialogues beyond the conference rooms of government. That is how India- Africa shared program came about. We want people under 35, brilliant people and entrepreneurs, across the continents to come together and make the ideas happen.

Can we create a series on any conceivable facet of India in the format of TED Talks, in the public domain? We want to create a body of content on India specific ideas that can spread across.

In public diplomacy, how do we engage the youngsters – we moved into social spaces – FB, Twitter and You Tube. This platform is growing and is enabling us to do a few things, can we create communities of friends of India, with whatever background you are from. Can I engage you, can I use twitter to get relevant, pertinent issues across to you. If you have interest in any of the areas, we would like to build the rapport and connection.

In this age, propaganda is dead and it is all about credibility. We cannot do a fast one, we have to engage, that is where social media can be of immense value and public diplomacy of external affairs, we are keen on engaging with young people.

Is there any guidelines for engagement?

We have created a basic set and now about 50 embassies are on FB. We have sent fairly common sense set of dos and donts. First walk in, quiet and observe. When once it is obvious, then slowly plunge into conversation.

Government postings have to be different from individuals. It has to be of value in building the national interests.

How do we handle criticism, how do we handle the unparliamentary postings? Governments are used to being lambasted. Ignore but do not block, is the guidelines.

We need to engage. Even criticism is a way of getting feedback.

What are the battles?

We need to make the backend solid. We need to have mechanisms to address the issues. The response is immediate, communicating happens. Action is conveyed. At least the movement happens.

Mobilizing International talents

How do we engage international talents to get them into challenges? Cultural and language barriers have to be overcome.

Young visionaries programme would bring the visionaries who have solved issues elsewhere to bring in the dialogue with similar youngsters here to address those issues.

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