Early education was more about autonomy: Professor Mantha

CHANDIGAR: The Society for Advancement of Science and Technology India (SPSTI), in one of its popular lecture series – “Institution Building & Nurturing Initiatives in Independent India”, organized the 17th Education Conference on Saturday quality in India.

Prof. SS Mantha, Former President of AICTE, Government of India was the guest speaker and Prof. N. Sathyamurthy, Founding Director of IISER Mohali was the guest speaker. Professor Mantha took the audience into the education system of the ancient period which involved Vedic in Sanskrit and Buddhist in Pali and was mainly focused on imparting ethics like humility, truthfulness, discipline, self-reliance and respect for all creations. He informed about the foundation of universities laid in the very first millennium – Nalanda, Takshila, Ujjain and Vikramshila universities.

Moving on to modern education, he mentions the contribution of Lord Macaulay, who introduced the English language in the 1830s. Later, the era of science, technology and innovation in the 21st century catalyzed the learning through online platforms. He shared that despite having over 1000 universities and 45,000 colleges in India, the gross enrollment ratio is only 26 while the GER is around 98 and above 70 in the case of India. primary and secondary education. It reveals higher dropout rate in the higher education system, some of the reasons being lack of quality education due to inadequate faculty members, poor quality of faculty, diminishing opportunities employment, etc.

He also discussed some national frameworks such as NIRF developed to assess the quality of higher education institutions in terms of education and research.

While talking about factors that affect quality, he shared that teaching, learning, research, IPRs, patents, infrastructure, connection with industry and society, collaborations, internationalization, governance are the most important. Professor Mantha also raised the concern of the increasing diversity in the nature of universities and the lack of inclusiveness of all specializations under one roof, which could otherwise complement interdisciplinary research like the early universities that nurtured all facets of education such as humanities, liberal arts, social sciences. sciences, basic sciences and applied sciences. Talking about quality research, he cited that India has only 140 researchers per ten lakh population compared to 4651 in the United States.

He highlighted the need for next-generation laboratories in partnership with industry and international universities to align the education system with industrial and societal needs. Showing an interest in graphics, he mapped the skills required to sync with Industry 4.0, some of which included machine learning, big data, Python, cloud computing, mathematical finance, agile management, planning project, analysis, etc. Concluding his speech, Professor Mantha highlighted the need for a blended mode of learning with appropriate portions of physical and online learning modes.

A healthy Q&A session took place at the end of the conference. Prof. Arun K. Grover, Former Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof. Harish Kumar of UIET, Prof. Keya Dharamvir, Secretary General of SPSTI, Shri Dharam Vir, IAS (Retd.) & President SPSTI, Prof. Arvind, VC from Punjab University, were present at the session.

Sam D. Gomez