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Last Updated : Nov 28, 2019 03:08 PM IST

Formal schooling to skill development: How tech can play a pivotal role

The following article is an initiative of Cisco India and is intended to create awareness among readers

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There is a huge difference between the present school curriculum and skills requirement and what was in-demand 10 years back. In the present day and age, technology has transformed the education sector, and there is a difference in the course curriculum, the way children study (desktop to mobile), teaching modules, and types of skills that are imparted to individuals.

Tech initiatives such as mobile learning, e-learning, etc., have changed the way of imparting education and skills as well. Thus, technology has become a part of India’s education and skill development story. But, can new-age technologies unlock the potential of India’s youth?

To discuss the importance of technology in India’s education growth story, Krishna Kumar, Founder& CEO, Simplilearn; Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE; Padma M. Sarangapani, Chairperson, Centre for Education Innovation & Action Research, TISS; Dr Manish Kumar, MD& CEO, National Skill Development Corporation; and Daisy Chittilapilly, MD-Digital Transformation Officer-CISCO India & SAARC sat down for a discussion at ‘Cisco Idea Lab’ series by Cisco in association with CNBC-TV18.

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Top minds from the education and skill development sectors deliberated on how technology was making a difference, curriculums were getting revised, and the future course of action.

Talking about the formal education sector, Sarangapani said there’s a lot of cover.

“Technology makes a difference provided there is a teacher also in the picture, it’s not technology doing it alone, which brings us to another area where technology has an important area to play which is developing professional capabilities of teachers. In the Indian context, access to technology is the biggest divider currently between the haves and the have-nots. Of course, things are improving, mobile technology is penetrating but students need much better computer labs in their schools and they need internet connectivity and I think that’s an area the Indian government has to do a lot,” said Sarangapani.

Although there is a positive sentiment to impart tech knowledge to children from the beginning, there are various barriers such as adoption, mindset, agility, etc. to it.

“If you look at an educational institute, or skill building institutions, most of their stuff is academic oriented, so information technology is not something they have as their core competency inside the institute. Grasping complex tech, sometimes, becomes a barrier to start with. Secondly, there is definitely under-funding in these initiatives as well because we are still grappling with the basics of getting access to education and teachers. Technology is seen as ‘good to have once’ you cover the basics than a necessity, an ingredient into your education. Lastly, yes there is some resistance to change as well,” said Chittilapilly.

Moving onto curriculum of technical institutions in India, experts spoke about tackling rapid obsolescence in course curriculum.

“The curriculum needs to be changed continuously. We would like to have on the board of studies, persons from not only academia but also from industry who actually know what is required in the future and that’s how curriculum revision has been an annual ongoing process. Since many universities do not do this on their own, AICTE on its part has created a model curriculum that can adopted and tweak it based on requirements,” said Sahasrabudhe.

Speaking about the continuous vocational skills training, courses in line with the jobs of the future, Dr Kumar said most of the courses keep evolving.

“We are always in consultation with the industry to understand what is the type of job role that they need and as they communicate to us, we revise our courses. Nasscomm helps us a lot to refine many of the contents, we also partner with other countries such as Singapore and they give us insights into how they perceive the future of work in the world and we adapt to that. Most of the courses that we have are continuously evolving, we have an expiry date for every course and National Skill Development Agency look at updation on continuous basis,” said Dr Kumar.

During the insightful conversation, experts said innovation, getting good ICT labs, adding women to workforce, personalised learning and ability to learn from anywhere and any device can add value to the education system in India.

“If we can build some framework wherein people can move from formal education to some skilling course and take whatever they have done as a part of their skilling course to formal education, I think that will go a long way and letting people not get a feeling that I am wasting my time and I can always do a mix-and-match and move on both sides,” said Krishna Kumar.

Watch the full video of the episode here to know more.

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First Published on Nov 28, 2019 02:51 pm
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