The National Education Summit 2011, organized by Dainik Bhaskar Group on June 11, 2011 in New Delhi proved to be a remarkable success. Focussed on improving the quality of higher education in India, the summit involved sharing of apt insights from several veteran management gurus of today. The in-depth discussion between the dignitaries and learned management experts highlighted several key issues and the ways to address them.
Mentioning about the real-world implications of the quality gap, Mr. Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, Chairman at Dainik Bhaskar Group highlighted the lack of quality manpower as one of their prime challenges. According to him, Dainik Bhaskar Group is in an annual need of nearly 2000 new people but the gap between the desired and available quality of manpower adversely affects recruitments.
The Director, IMT Ghaziabad, Dr. Bibek Banerjee shared his views about brand building and quality improvement at B-schools. He recognized the lack of imagination and creativity amongst the students and faculty both as one of the major factors that hampers the quality of education. He also mentioned that the notion of ‘B-schools becoming more of placement centres rather than the educational institutes’ deviates their focus from ‘providing quality education’ to marketing.
In order to overcome these challenges, Dr. Bibek Banerjee laid stress upon the attracting and retaining the great faculty. He also emphasised on maintaining focus on creating value rather than participating in the rat-race of rankings and ratings. As a definitive measure to achieve this, he highlighted the importance of practical learning and building international connections to offer students a real world-class education.
Chairman of AICTE, SS Mantha, also talked about employment opportunities and applicability of quality education to employability potential of budding professionals. He brought up the subject of transparent and clean system considering the importance of education sector in the overall growth of country. Whereas he emphasized on the need of knowledgeable workers, he mentioned that it could be possible only by newer and better training models. He highlighted the existing deficit of employable graduates because of the lack of quality our current education system is suffering from.
Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University, Prof. Rajasekharan Pillai contributed with his views on media’s changing role in the entire education scenario. He discussed the need for improving communication using ICT tools in the classroom-based training of professionals. According to him, the education system should also benefit by the established ways of quality assurance and effective school leadership management. Re-iterating the role of media in the changing educational scenario, he also recognized the fact that the vocabulary of education is changing.
Prof. Raj Dhankar, Dean, FMS Delhi also supported the importance of quality measurement and quality assurance in the educational institute. At the same time, he shared his concerns about attracting and retaining the good faculty at the management institutes. In this rapidly changing economic scenario of the country, he maintained that education’s commercialization should be restricted to a measurable limit.
Hon. HRD Minister, Govt of India, Kapil Sibal, who was also the Chief Guest at the summit, identified ‘management’ as one of the least discussed subject in India. On the issues around corruption in the education system, his opinion for everyone is to maintain a positive and optimistic attitude. He focused on introducing values to the education system such that the B-schools could inspire everyone to give rise to a better and more manageable social system. Discussing the need to foresee the future while designing educational systems, he also quoted, “The mind is like parachute you need to open it.”
The Dean (Academics) at IIM Bangalore, Prof. Trilochan Sastry shared his blunt remarks about the need of establishing international benchmarks to assess the quality of education. In addition, he stressed upon the need for having role models who could responsibly run the entire education system. Clearly, he was quite vocal in emphasizing the importance of quality leadership that could cascade well into the education system.
Following the similar lines, Prof. Xavier, Director, IIM Ranchi pointed out few parameters about the Indian educational system. His direct approach while asking about the number of world-class institutes and the net knowledge creation was apparently quite thought provoking among the attendees. He also recognized that the Indian institutes merely become launching pads for the students to go for western universities later. This is why we should focus on building a holistic education system that can compete with world-class universities.
K. Srikkanth, former Indian Cricket Captain and Chairman Selection Committee Indian Cricket Team correlated his cricket and leadership experiences with the education system too. He delivered a charged-up speech to point out the importance of making learning enjoyable like in sports. Importance of doing things differently and seeing management education as something beyond analytics and theory were few other points he highlighted during his speech.
The audience also exhibited their curiosity with their thought-provoking question about the relevance of bodies like AICTE and UGC. In response to this question, the panel of experts told that the functioning of these bodies is consistently reviewed and governed by the government.
In addition to several noteworthy speakers, corporate giants including IBM and Microsoft also affirmed the importance of quality education. The IBM team delivered a presentation on “Education Generation Y” and covered several points relevant to the discussion. The presentation was aimed at fostering a spirit of collaboration amongst students and making them learn to identify their shortcomings. It also identified knowledge sharing with tools, such as a wiki or a team room, as crucial educational aids. The IBM team consistently maintained that the future of India can only be driven by excellent students and great education system.
Similarly, representatives of Microsoft India contributed to the discussion mentioning about the technology-centric ways to improve quality of education. Identifying the importance of utilization of technology, they suggested that B-schools should extend their partnerships with companies. This will assist them create a corporate-ready culture based on the relevant researches.
With the synergy of thoughts from the most learned minds of the country, the National Education Summit 2011 established a new milestone towards improvement of quality of education. In India, where economic and education scenarios are rapidly changing, there is a need for frequent revisions in the way education is being delivered. The panel of reputed management experts and leaders from the corporate giants contributed benevolently to the benefit of management schools and higher education system in India.