the3h - Hum Hain Hindustani
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Making a money smart generation: What are our schools doing? | Moneycontrol, 03 jul 2019
Budget 2019: Healthcare startup wishlist for FinMin | Deccan Herald, 03 jul 2019
Reviving banking will be key to sustainable growth | Livemint, 03 jul 2019
Education sector's expectations from Budget 2019 | The Times of India, 02 jul 2019
As India extends preschool education to all, incorporate gender sensitivity from the start | Brookings, 02 jul 2019
India's crumbling public healthcare system is in dire-need of surgery, specialists | Times Now, 02 jul 2019
What Is Wrong With India's GDP Numbers? | The Diplomat, 02 jul 2019
Innovation to be Focal point for Technology from Budget 2019 | Entrepreneur, 02 jul 2019
Water, life, and climate change in South Asia | Harvard Gazette, 02 jul 2019
Miles to go: Self-care medical interventions | The Hindu, 01 jul 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2019
According to 'Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) 2017' by nonprofit Pratham, about 42% of rural youth between the ages of 14 and 18 were employed in January 2018, despite going to school. Among these, 79% were working in agriculture, while at the same time only 1.2% of the youth surveyed wanted to become farmers. India's rural population residing in about 600000 villages has not benefited substantially from economic growth and opportunities are limited, resulting in large migration of youth to urban areas in search for greener pastures. But, they are not well equipped in terms of education and skills, to compete in a challenging urban environment to avail better opportunities and respectable lifestyle. Education, coupled with skill development, is the key to bring them at par with their urban counterparts. Ashweetha Shetty, founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation, is trying to bridge this rural-urban divide by building confidence and self-esteem among young people living in rural areas. Explaining the work of her nonprofit, Ms. Shetty says, 'Our foundation works with rural youth between the ages of 17 and 23. We help them build life skills and enlighten them about opportunities. We achieve all this through intervention at our village centers. We have a residential program for girls, and we also work with district administrations on initiatives, particularly those which concern the children of sanitation workers. Most of the rural youth we help are usually first generation college goers. Bodhi Tree helps them to think about their future. These young kids have many inferiority complexes, and there is an information gap. We are trying to bridge that through our organization.' Regarding the life skills that her organization is trying to build, she says, 'We do self-development, self-awareness workshops, and provide exposure to opportunities - we help the children to discover what they want to do in life and understand their strengths and weaknesses. We enable them to develop themselves through public speaking and other skills. We also conduct workshops on resumé writing to help them achieve their goal.' Differentiating her nonprofit from skill building organizations, she says, 'Bodhi Tree is completely different from skill building organizations. We don't want to build a skill in someone and send the message that it's the only thing they can do. Skill building programs have no progression, no scope for dreaming. I feel it robs opportunities from the children. Children should have access to government jobs, schemes, internships - they should have knowledge and know what to do with it. I think that's the difference between us and skill building initiatives. Maybe our model is not working that well because we are not focused on one skill, but I think this is a conscious choice we have made where we don't tell people about what skills they can inculcate. Rather, we tell them what kind of dreams you should have, we make people realize their potential. For us, the immediate impact is more like standing up for yourself and going to college.' Read on...
Helping India's Rural Youth Unlock Their Potential
Authors: Ankita Mukhopadhyay, Ashweetha Shetty
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jun 2019
Creativity is at the core of art and design. They both are visual and material culmination of varied degrees of human expression. Vibhor Sogani, fusing the lines between design and art, between being a product designer and public installation artist, says, 'At the end of the day, it is all about creativity. People may deem art superior to design but designing is serious business and a very responsible job.' He explains the value of public art for the growth-oriented country like India, 'Since India has so many people and so many public spaces, it is an ideal ground for engaging with them through art. The all-important ingredient of public art is engagement with people.' On balancing creativity and guidelines in commissioned projects, he says, 'We all need a sense of direction. After all, you need to align yourself with something. I think the brief given to me by my client is only a starting point. Thereafter, I am free to follow my vision.' An alumnus of National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad, India) and having worked in the field of industrial design, he is well-versed in the craft of materials as well as technology. He follows both reactive and proactive approaches to pursue his creative work. He suggests that while thinking of an idea is instant, putting it into a tangible shape of art is slow and time consuming. His public art works include Joy in Dubai, Sprouts in New Delhi and Kalpavriksha in Ahmedabad. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 jan 2019
According to the 'Global Highly-Cited Researchers 2018 List' by Clarivate Analytics, India has only 10 researchers among the world's 4000 most influential researchers. Even though India has many globally renowned institutions, but it lacks breakthrough research output. Top three countries in the list are - US (2639), UK (546), China (482). Prof. CNR Rao, world renowned chemist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Sciences and named in the list, says, 'About 15 years ago, China and India were at the same level, but China today contributes to 15-16% of the science output in the world, while we currently contribute only 4%.' Prof. Dinesh Mohan, environmental science academic at JNU and included in the list, says, 'Areas such as climate change, water and energy are areas where research is more relevant nowadays. Where you publish your work is also important for impact.' Dr. Avnish Agarwal, also named in the list, says, 'We need to improve our research ecosystem...There is a lack of focus on quality research in Indian academia. If teachers do not do high-quality research, they will not be updated with new developments.' Others in the list are - Dr. Rajeev Varshney (Agriculture researcher at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics-ICRISAT); Dr. Ashok Pandey (Researcher at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research); Dr. Alok Mittal and Dr. Jyoti Mittal (Researchers in environmental science, water treatment, green chemistry and chemical kinetics at the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology); Dr. Rajnish Kumar (Researcher and professor at IIT Madras's Department of Chemical Engineering); Dr. Sanjeeb Sahoo (Researcher in nanotechnology at the Institute of Life Sciences); Dr. Sakthivel Rathinaswamy (Professor and researcher in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Bharathiar University). Read on...
ONLY 10 AMONG THE WORLD'S TOP 4000 INFLUENTIAL RESEARCHERS ARE INDIAN: REPORT
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2018
In India there are central government run healthcare institutions, public state run institutions and private medical colleges that provide modern healthcare education mainly the four year degree MBBS and after that post-graduate degrees of MS and MD. India also have a number of institutions that provide degrees in other healthcare systems like Ayurveda (BAMS), Unani-Greek (BUMS), Homoeopathy (BHMS), Naturopathy etc. Moreover, there are vocational training institutes that provide skills and courses to develop other medical staff like nurses, health assistants etc. There are also corporate run and other private medical colleges and universities and training institutes. India's healthcare facilities are generally concentrated in urban areas while rural areas are generally served by public hospitals and centers. Private clinics are also present in both rural and urban areas. They are generally run by a single doctor or doctor couple and provide basic healthcare. Diagnostic centers are spread all over due to technological advancements and compact and affordable equipments. Healthcare has major disparities between urban and rural areas when it comes to healthcare access. Healthcare has become one of India's largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment. The industry comprises public and private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, pathology and diagnostics, medical devices industry, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. The public sector constitutes primary health centers, central research centers and hospitals, state-run research institutes and hospitals etc. The private sector provides majority of secondary, tertiary and quaternary care institutions with a major concentration in metros, tier-I and tier-II cities. According to National Family Health Survey-3, the private medical sector remains the primary source of health care for 70% of households in urban areas and 63% of households in rural areas. Rise of technology is creating new business models in the healthcare industry. Healthcare through smart phones and fitness trackers is new trend. Information technology is automating and streamlining various healthcare processes. Big data is creating new ways of improving healthcare delivery. Startups in India are promising to provide best healthcare at affordable cost more effectively. Latest healthcare equipment is not only imported but also manufactured in India. Digital technologies are enhancing every aspect of healthcare. Technology solutions are able to modernise current medical practices, reduce costs, eliminate any duplication of tests as well as streamline processes and update medical records in real time. Modern technology has great potential to increase access of healthcare services in rural communities, especially the ones where there is serious shortage of doctors. India has demonstrated since long a commitment to offer comprehensive healthcare to all citizens. This has been reaffirmed in the 12th Five-year Plan, National Health Assurance Mission, and more recently through Ayushman Bharat Program. However, the challenges remain and this goal has not been achieved as of yet. There are two critical components of successful healthcare systems. One is the financial aspects whereby citizens are protected against any eventuality and don't get into penury due to health spending. Second is the provision and delivery of healthcare services. It is imperative to ensure that healthcare infrastructure is sufficiently equipped to provide effective healthcare when needed by its citizens. Technology, public-private partnerships, access and affordability are the critical component in the future of India's healthcare. Better healthcare with policy, financial and physical framework will bring long-term benefits to the nation. Develop effective mechanisms to improve general health, and disease prevention strategies through campaigns, advocacy etc. To make India's citizens more aware about their health, inculcate better sanitization and cleanliness habits will help to improve overall health of India. Prevention before cure becomes the key for the country with the size and demographic profile like India. Health aware citizens, trained, sensitive and caring medical staff, cutting edge technologies and modern infrastructure, are the golden elements for a healthy future of India. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 oct 2018
According to the report by Prof. Anne Boddington (PVC of Research, Business & Innovation at Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, UK), 'Future of design education in India', India needs to produce 65000 designs annually to satisfy the capacity of indigenous creative industry. The current production is around 5000 per year. Prof. Boddington is working on the development of arts and design education in India and collaborating with Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD). She says, 'Design and Art as a field is emerging in India. There is not only a huge opportunity but also a sense of enthusiasm and can-do attitude in Indians for it. But to match-up to the emerging field, there is a need to train teachers first...A design teacher needs to make the student autonomous and increase their level of creativity and understanding.' She recommends that arts and design education should not be limited to creative fields, but should also become part of all fields of learning. She considers critical listening, research, and quality assessment are part of design and art curriculum. According to her, there is a great potential to create interdisciplinary programs where creative skills will be imparted as a part of foundation courses. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 oct 2018
Indian corporates that fulfil the conditions of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 relating to mandatory spending of 2% of last 3 years average profit on CSR are making a difference in vulnerable communities in India. According to the latest India CSR Outlook Report published by NGOBOX, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, Wipro, Tata Steel, NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation & ONGC spent more than their prescribed CSR budgets in FY 2017-18. The report analyzed CSR spends of 359 companies. The prescribed CSR budget of these 359 companies was Rs 9543.51 crore whereas the actual CSR spend was Rs 8875.93 crore (3/4th of total CSR spend in India). There is an increase in the prescribed CSR from 6% to 8% in the actual CSR spend from FY 16-17 and the number of projects have also increased by 25% from the previous year. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat together received over 1/4th of India's total CSR fund. North-eastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have received least funds; Public sector contribution is over 1/4th of the total; Oil, refinery and petrochemicals account for alsmost 1/4th of the total while healthcare and pharma contributes the least with just Rs 294 crore; CSR funding on education and skill increased by 50% from last year and is 1/3rd of the total CSR spend; Over 1/4th is spend on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and healthcare projects. Read on...
Corporates spend 50% CSR funds in education, skill development: Report
Author: Sonal Khetarpal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 sep 2018
India's large size with huge population (1.25 billion), substantial part of which resides in rural and underdeveloped regions, brings both challenges and opportunities for implementing healthcare policies and initiatives, both public and private. Over the years ineffective implementation of such initiatives at various levels, has created lopsided infrastructure and uneven development in healthcare. Indian health system also lacks effective payment mechanism and has a high out-of-pocket expenditure (roughly 70%). Adverse health events (health shocks) have considerable impact on India's overall poverty figures, adding about seven percentage points. Health is associated with the overall wellness of the citizens. Good health reflects on the productivity and growth of the nation. More so in the case of India as substantial population is young. India has more than 50% (about 662 million) of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. By 2020, the average age of India's population is expected to be 29 years. Aging of this large population will happen at the same time. Having adequate infrastructure is key to avoid a massive health catastrophe for this elderly population in future. Health is also a key issue in the public policy sphere. In the public policy context healthcare issues are often related to accessibility, affordability, socio-economic disparities, healthcare delivery mechanisms, illness and diseases and their impact on society etc. India have a conceptual universal health care system run by the constituent states and union territories. The biggest challenge is to make it accessible and affordable for the overall population. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 aug 2018
Education and awareness about protecting environment at the early stage of student learning can play a big role to save it. Bhavisha Buddhadeo, a social activist and an expert in organic farming and kitchten gardening based in Gurgaon (India), is doing just that as a mission to promote ecological wellbeing and safeguard environment. She conducts learning workshops and lectures on importance of sustainability and how to better care for the environment. Ms. Buddhadeo says, 'I have engaged children and women in plantation drives, kitchen garden activities and (a) solar energy initiative to educate them regarding the utmost importance of conservation of nature. Schools are doing environmental education and (the) best have made sustainability a school-wide, hands-on project, rather than just another topic for children to write reports on. My programs offer opportunities for experiential learning outside of the classroom, (and) enable students to make connections and apply their learning in the real world.' In her career spanning about 20 years she has taught 100000 students from across many states of India. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2018
Design as a separate field is getting more recognition in India. Policy initiatives like 'Design in India' and 'Make in India' will give design further impetus and assist in creating a thriving design ecosystem. India now have 30 to 35 design schools, most of them came up in the last few years. Prof. Anirudha Joshi of Industrial Design Centre at IIT-Bombay explores the condition of design education in India and suggests ways to make it better and more in tune with industry. He lists prevalent gaps between academia and industry - what is taught in design schools and what a professional designer need to do - (1) Uninentional gaps: Things that left out in design curriculums. Course duration is shorter than what is needed to become a good designer. (2) Lack of industry/hands-on environment: Certain things are best taught in industry setup and academic setup doesn't suit them. (3) Intentional gaps: Design school is not supposed to prepare students only for industry. Focus is on developing thought leaders having theoretical concepts and not just skills and training. (4) Limited availability of design teachers. (5) Lack of strong tradition in design research. (6) Lack of design education infrastructure. There is demand/supply gap in terms of skilled human resources. As the industry is growing, at least five million designers are required as compared to the current approximately 20000 designers. Many sectors like manufacturing, small scale industries, small printing and publishing houses etc, although have need for designers but can't afford one in the present scenario. Moreover, the focus of current designs is more global and there are few instances of designs that are specific to the Indian market. More emphasis should be given to designers that specifically focus on India. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 mar 2018
Ineffectively designed education and training system breeds unemployability. As former President of India Late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had rightly once said, 'It is not unemployment, which is a major problem; it is the question of 'unemployability', which is a bigger crisis.' According to the recent TeamLease Services' survey report 'Industry Opportunity Based Vocational Course Design', that included 105 organisation and 65 students, 'The vocational education ecosystem in its current form has not succeeded in creating adequate employable job seekers in India as more than 60% candidates and employers find these courses ineffective.' The report also mentions that only 18% of the students undergoing voc-ed (vocational education) courses get jobs, of which merely 7% are formal jobs. The survey highlights the reasons of disconnect between courses and industry - unavailability of quality academic content, lack of funds and negative perception about courses. Neeti Sharma, SVP of TeamLease, says, 'With advancement in technology, improved infrastructure and easy access to domestic and global market, job profiles are continuously and rapidly evolving every day. The need of the hour is advanced vocational skills training...' Read on...
The Economic Times:
Vocational education mostly ineffective in India - Survey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 mar 2018
According to the recent report based on PRIME Database, listed Indian companies that total 1019 have spent Rs. 9034 crore in 2017-18 to fund their CSR (Corporate Social Resposibility) projects and activities. Nearly 37% of these funds were used for education and vocational skill training activities. This development area also witnessed the largest absolute increase in allocation of resources and funds. Moreover, the biggest increase was found in activities that support and benefit the armed forces veterans, war widows and their dependents. Other focus areas that saw increased in expenditure were community development, infrastructure, environment sustainability, social welfare, sports, and slum development. But, eradication of hunger and poverty, and promotion of healthcare and sanitation had expenditure decreased by 18.6%, from Rs. 2944 crore to Rs. 2394 crore. Report by KPMG, 'India CSR Reporting Survey 2017', showed that while education and healthcare have been in focus for the past three years, organizations have slowly begun diversifying their area and geography of development in the last one year. Another recent report found the total CSR expenditure figure at Rs. 7050 crores and said that out of India's top 100 firms, 59 met their CSR targets, while 33 companies had an expenditure of less than required 2%. This report also listed educational projects, rural development, and healthcare as the key focus areas of the companies. Read on...
India Inc.'s CSR spend highest on education and skilling - Report
Author: Manav Seth
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2018
Social entrepreneurs utilize their skills and efforts to solve social issues and make world better. The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) India runs a 9 months long Social Start-Up Fellowship program, an initiative supported by PwC India, to assist social entrepreneurs develop and scale their social enterprise ideas and concepts. SSE recently felicitated 17 social enterpreneurs that graduated from the program. Attending the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (PMO, Govt. of India), said, 'There is a sense of satisfaction when you witness, for the second year in a row, a new set of social entrepreneurs graduate with the skills to make a difference in the lives of others through their innovative ventures.' Satyavati Berera, COO of PwC India, said, 'Social entrepreneurship is steadily gaining momentum in our country and we are proud to be part of this journey which for PwC began its association with SSE India in 2016...Each mentoring opportunity helped our people interact with those working at the grassroots and built a different perspective, which will have a deep positive impact on the way we serve our stakeholders.' Shalabh Mittal, CEO of SSE India, said, 'At SSE India, we believe in bottom-up social change and help social entrepreneurs work in broken markets or in the poorest of communities...our learning approach has the ability to empower entrepreneurs to start, grow and scale.' Also present was Jaivir Singh, Chairperson of SSE India and Vice Chairman of PwC India Foundation. Website the-sseindia.org gives list of 17 social entrepreneurs felicitated - (1) Prem Kumar (Sambhawana Development Foundation, Livelihood, Non-Timber Forest Produce - NTFP) (2) Bharti Singh Chauhan (PraveenLata Sansthan, Women & Child Welfare) (3) Dr. Anirudh Gaurang (Rovnost Healthcare, Healthcare) (4) Sonali Patwe (Perseverance Infosystems Pvt Ltd., Technology) (5) Hemanta Gogoi (wowNE, Livelihood) (6) Lourdes Soares (SabrCare, Healthcare) (7) Dr. Sumedha Kushwaha (ATTAC, Healthcare) (8) Dr. Raunaq Pradhan (Saaras Foundation, Policy Implementation) (9) Abhishek Juneja (Adhyaay Foundation, Education) (10) Riddhi Dastidar (Riyaaz, Education) (11) Abhishek Jhawar (National Abacus, Education) (12) Ayushi Shukla (Sanima, Arts & Cinema) (13) Inderpreet Singh (SPEEE, Community Well-being) (14) Neharika Mahajan (Oryn, Environment & Livelihood) (15) Umang Shridhar (KhaDigi, Rural Livelihood & Khadi) (16) Vilas Gite (Praas Development Foundation, Rural Development) (17) Devaja Shah (Amiku, Mental Healthcare). Read on...
17 Social Entrepreneurs Honoured By School For Social Entrepreneurs India And PwC India
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 dec 2017
Entrepreneurship as a thought process is to be inculcated at the very early stage among children. It is also essential to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in India that brings all the elements together for entrepreneurship to thrive. In a recently held panel discussion in Hyderabad (India) on developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem, moderated by Ramesh Abhishek (Secretary at the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), Patricia G. Greene (Director of Women's Bureau, US Department of Labour) said, 'This effort should begin right from the pre-school days in children where teachers can drive kids to become future entrepreneurs.' Another panelist, Ravi Kailas (Chairman at Mytrah Energy) said, 'The ecosystem has a huge impact on creating different types of entrepreneurs...Innovative ideas and ventures will always bring in funds.' While Amit Ranbir Chandra (MD and India Head at Bain Capital) emphasised the need for domestic capital to address the requirements of entrepreneurs and less dependency on government funding. Read on...
Inculcate entrepreneurship spirit from 'pre-school days'
Author: G. Naga Sridhar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2017
According to the recent UNICEF report, 'Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2017', India has witnessed 66% decline in the under-5 mortality rate from 1990 to 2015 but most of the newborn deaths (24% of all) still occur in the country. With this reduction India has met one of its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. The report emphasised the need for equitable access to healthcare for girl child as under-5 mortality for girls in India remains 12.5% higher than the boys. Major barriers in seeking healthcare for the girl child include the high out-of-pocket expenses and cultural issues. The report stressed that investment in the education of the girl child is crucial and acknowledged that 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' scheme could be used for addressing the prevailing negative social norms towards the girl child in India. The report said that most of newborn deaths occurred in two regions: South Asia (39%) and sub-Saharan Africa (38%). Read on...
66% decline in child mortality rate but most newborn still die in India: UN report
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2017
India's future success will be defined on the basis of how its positive elements like demographic dividend, IT and software, manufacturing, agriculture, government initiatives (Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Startup India) etc, gel together effectively and grow. Adding to all these, focus on research, design and innovation, will further propel creation and development of new and emerging technologies and concepts. Specifically, Indian auto industry does have R&D capabilities, but it is mostly driven by foreign collaborations and partnerships. Moreover, Indian operations of most foreign auto makers rely on their global development centers when it comes to technological innovations. But the dynamics of the industry are shifting, and companies are mobilizing resources and assets towards design and development also, in addition to manufacturing. The change is also visible in the electric vehicle segment with a strong policy focus. Recent conference organized by NASSCOM and Autocar Professional was directed towards discussing the design, R&D and technology based future of the industry. Sameer Yajnik, COO-APAC of Tata Technologies, says, 'Indian engineers, thus far, have brought together just a few parts of the jigsaw puzzle in terms of vehicle development, but this is set to be transformed. With EVs, ADAS, autonomous, connected cars, et al, there are a slew of technology-driven changes that need to be responded to and India is an excellent place.' Patrick Newbery, Chief Digital Officer of Global Logic, says, 'Design and engineering work best when coupled together, and the Indian start-up ecosystem has displayed a good show of that already...Amalgamating design and engineering, as well as with its ability to innovate and create as a response-stimulus to change, India holds a strong place in developing new future technologies, where even the US would be looking outside to outsource these innovative solutions. There is more likelihood of innovation coming out of such environment.' Current spend in automotive engineering and R&D of Europe is 35%, that of US is 25% and, India's is at 10%. This is expected to triple in next 3 years. Sanjeev Verma, CEO of Altran India, says, 'India holds a very important place in the whole jigsaw and especially can play a great role in designing passive safety and IoT systems...With the whole ecosystem springing up now, the next three to four years are going to be extremely transformational for the development vertical in the Indian automotive sector.' Commenting on design in India, Raman Vaidyanathan of Tech Mahindra says, 'Indian engineering is bound to be more frugal, compared to the rest of the world because of the country’s legacy in being cost conscious. This is very positive as it implies that a good quality product, designed and developed to a cost in India could be produced in the emerged markets, while the reverse is going to prove rather expensive.' The challenge of skilled human resources in design and engineering in India remains. NASSCOM has started a foundation course in integrated product development that has reached 1000 colleges since CY2015. Government, academica and industry has to come up with integrated strategies that need to be applied to upgrade the knowledge and skills of graduates coming out of technology institutes and ensure success of design, research and development in India. Read on...
Beyond Make in India - Design and develop in India now imperative
Authors: Sumantra B. Barooah, Mayank Dhingra
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 sep 2017
Technological advancements in education facilitate and expand the reach of learning to larger audience and transform the way educational content is delivered and consumed. India is also undergoing technology-based shift in educational sector. Rajshekhar Ratrey, VP Educational Content at Toppr.com, provides list of technological trends that are enabling the growth of digital education in India - (1) Personalized and Adaptive Learning (2) Two-way conversations in E-Learning (3) Mobile-based Learning (4) Video-based Learning (5) Open Educational Resources (6) Usage of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for Learning. Read on...
6 technology trends that pushing up digital education in India
Author: Rajshekhar Ratrey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 may 2017
Design influences every aspect of human life. Pradyumna Vyas, Director of NID-Ahmedabad (India), says, 'From the minute you wake up and pick up your brush to the time you retire to bed, there is design touching your life every minute.' Sanjay Dhande, former Director of IIT-Kanpur and founder of Avantika University, says, 'Our education, curricula, pedagogy and assessment is all outdated. Avantika University will have courses like liberal arts, body and mind, creative arts and the like. Even economics and management will be taught keeping design in mind.' According to a report, 'Future of Design Education in India' by India Design Council and British Council, 'The market for design in India is expected to touch Rs 18,832 cr by 2020...Only a fifth of the design market is currently tapped.' A design industry survey finds that 57% of design school graduates find jobs with large and medium-sized businesses, with small and medium-sized enterprises employing about 17% of the students. Nearly 13% of D-school graduates work for individuals, 9% work for public sectors and 8% join academic institutions. Apart from the traditional architecture, interior, arts and crafts etc, there more newer design areas for career opportunities - Social Design; Industrial Design; Space Designing; User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) [Tangible Interactions]; Doodling. Nandita Abraham, CEO at Pearl Academy, says, 'Today , especially for young people, doodling has become a language and a way of communicating with each other expressively.' R. Sandesh, Associate Professor at Industrial Design Centre (IIT-Bombay), says, 'Design is an overarching discipline.' Read on...
The Times of India:
No more offbeat - Careers in design define our lives
Author: Hemali Chhapia
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 may 2017
India's demographic dividend can only achieve full potential if its young population continues to update their skills, the private sector continues to upgrade its processes, technologies and management practices to remain profitable and growth oriented, and government continues to improve infrastructure, ease regulations to do business, and attract internal and foreign funds as investments in various industries and businesses. Approximately half of India's 1.2 billion people are under the age of 26. By 2020, around 64% of India's population will be in the working age group of 15-64 years, and it is forecast to be the youngest country in the world, with a median age of 29. Moreover, India is a US$ 2 trillion economy, growing at approximately 7% year on year. It has a strong domestic focus with approximately 75% of the GDP generated on domestic consumption. India's demographic dividend will work in favour of the Indian economy when its young, educated and healthy population, is trained, skilled and gainfully employed, giving rise to an upwardly mobile consumer class. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2017
Education technology promises to increase access, lower costs and bridge the rural-urban divide, in learning opportunities. Aakash Chaudhry, Director of Aakash Education Services Pvt. Ltd, explains how educational technologies can bring the transformation in India's educational system. He explores the present scenario and what is expected in future for the education sector. According to him, 'With an overwhelming increase in mobile-connected devices, global data traffic and mobile video traffic, the EduTech sector is set to enter a new era...In India, where mobile penetration is counting a billion people with over 300 million connected to the internet and is expected to reach 550 million by 2018, we have immense potential to digitally educate the masses...EduTech companies are driving further development of data-driven education technologies, leading to fundamental changes in how school and college students as well as professionals seeking new skills are learning.' He mentions some of the technologies and methodologies that are driving the transformation in education - Online interactive platforms; Cloud computing; Data centers; Virtualization; Global high quality online content; Live braodcasts; Video content delivery; Virtual updating of textbooks; Video conferencing; Availability of content offline and at low internet connectivity; Mobile classrooms; Online tutors; Adaptive learning; Student-teacher interface in the form of mobile learning. He concludes, 'A country that depends on the development of its educational sector for its economic and social growth, a surge in switching to technology-driven education will amply propel rural India towards empowerment.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2017
According to the NASSCOM Foundation report, 'Catalysing Change Through CSR', about half of the IT and financial services companies (70) interviewed have spent more than 70% of their CSR in education and employable skills initiatives. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of NASSCOM Foundation, says, 'Education and employable skills are the key to most of India's social problems. An industry, which has grown solely by investing into knowledge and key skills, realises the difference a skilled knowledge society can make and therefore, a major chunk of the CSR funds has been dedicated to education and employable skills.' The report finds that companies are placing greater importance on monitoring outcomes by integrating technology. Among the roadblocks cited by most companies was identification, selection and due diligence on NGOs and the absence of robust tracking process. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 oct 2016
Design is critical for national and industrial competitiveness. Prof. Sanjay Dhande, former director of IIT-Kanpur and chief mentor of design-centered Avantika University, explains the value of design in India's competitiveness for manufacturing and service industries, analyzes the evolution of design education and suggests how India can further develop design education to impart skills and training, and nurture creative talent that keeps it at the cutting edge of innovation and design. He says, 'By incorporating design, which by and large shapes our ideas better is inherent in our every act. We design, we create experiences to make the life of individuals more comfortable, information readily available, work more efficient, spaces more convivial, and in turn making peoples' life more meaningful...The government of India has initiated a consultee approach with industry and designers to develop the broad contours for a combined vision towards a design enabled Indian industry.' National Institute of Design was first setup in 1961 by Government of India based on the report on design education developed by American industrial designer duo Charles Eames and his wife Ray Eames. Since then, to fulfil the demand of growing design professionals, number of institutes have come into existence over the years, giving rise to a thriving design ecosystem. But to maintain high quality of design education is an obvious challenge. According to Prof. Dhande, 'Though with a faster-changing world even the standards in design education are very high. And the question remains around how can we remove the loopholes and sustain a high-quality education from a conventional structure?...There is a growing need to eradicate the redundancies in the traditional course curriculum. A strategic streamlining of the education structure which offers practice exposure encourages focussed learning is much required.' He suggests continously evolving and innovation directed approach to design education, starting with admission process, practical learning, quest for right faculty, learning environment and a specialization focus. He concludes, 'Innovation is essential to be able to adapt to, for creating that difference in Indian design education to help students work better in unpredictable market conditions and intense global competition. Incremental improvements by themselves will not do and hence the listed points will help address improve the quality of design training in India.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2016
According to the conditions set forth in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Law in India, all companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1000 cr or net profit of Rs 5 cr should spend 2% of last 3 years average profit on charity work. CSR management firm, NextGen, studied the annual reports of the top 100 firms by market capitalizations on NSE (National Stock Exchange) for 2014-15 & 91 firms for 2015-16. The total spend on CSR activities for 91 firms is Rs 6033 cr for FY16, while it was Rs 4760 cr by 100 companies in FY15. According to Abhishek Humbad, co-founder of NextGen, 'More and more companies are realizing that not meeting 2% makes them look bad, and for large companies, it can turn out be a reputational risk.' The energy sector accounted for nearly 26% of the total CSR spending. Reliance was the largest spender in FY16, using 2.3% of its profit (Rs 652 cr) on education, health and other social activities. Jagannatha Kumar at chairman's office of RIL says, 'The amount spent on each of the focus areas varies on an annual basis depending on the scope of work for the year.' In FY16 RIL spend on healthcare halved to Rs 314 cr while on education it increased to Rs 215 cr from Rs 18 cr in FY15. According to Parul Soni of Thinkthrough Consulting, a CSR consultancy, 'Manufacturing companies like automotive have been well poised to do CSR because they focus on communities around their plants and it helps build engagement with local communities. Also, many of them are working in skill development.' Some of the top causes that corporates spend on are healthcare, poverty eradication, education, skill development, rural development, and environment. Noshir Dadrawala, CEO of Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, says, 'Skills have been trendy. These causes have seen an increase because many of the skilling initiatives instead of being classified as an education initiative is being put under providing employment and reducing poverty. Also when it comes to healthcare, conducting blood donation camps is a popular way of doing CSR as it is easy and effective.' Ravi Chellam, ED of Greenpeace, points out that environment is not a priority issue for most Indian corporates. He says, 'On environmental issues, companies seem to prefer to focus on either their own campuses or areas immediately surrounding their locations.' According to Loveleen Kacker, CEO of Tech Mahindra Foundation, '50% of all our CSR capital goes into empowering women and another 10% for the disabled. We believe that any development can happen in any of the areas - from nutrition to sanitation, only when women are empowered. And we feel only economic empowerment of women can bring about social empowerment.' The top geographical regions that were beneficiary of CSR funds for FY16 are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Vinod Kulkarni, head of CSR at Tata Motors Ltd, says, 'It is part of our policy to invest CSR funds in geographies in close proximity to our area of operation. It amplifies the outcomes and impact.' Arun Nagpal, co-founder of Mrida Group, comments, 'The reasons for firms to select geographies close to manufacturing plants or areas of work are valid but this leads to an imbalance in the division of CSR funding.' Read on...
Firms ramp up CSR focus on healthcare, poverty, hunger
Authors: Arundhati Ramanathan, Moyna Manku
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 sep 2016
In the fast paced technology industry, knowledge and skills get obsolete as soon as anything new, effective and valuable comes into the market. Job candidates should continuously update and upgrade their skillset to stay relevant and get hired in the better paid bracket of the technology market. They also have to anticipate the shifts and trends in technologies and acquire the know-how from the best sources. Online courses in many technological domains are just a click away. With just a reasonable internet access, anyone in India can access courses from around the world. Key is when to select what course from which provider. According to Kabir Chadha of Coursera, 'We see a lot of demand for high-tech skills and certifications. Technology and computer science courses register more than half of all the enrollments in India. Computer Science and Data Science lead the pack at 25% and 18% respectively...Most Indian learners associate such courses as a medium to gain skill sets for a new job or enhance their existing job profiles. A lot of users also use our courses to enhance their application for higher education...' Following are some tech courses that can help get a better job in India - (1) R Programming: It is the next programming language that is used in a variety of domains including software development, business analysis, statistical reporting and scientific research. (2) Machine Learning: According to Packt, Machine Learning is one of the most in-demand skills in 2016. (3) Python Programming: IT experts suggest that Python should be the first programming language of a programmer. (4) How to create a website in the weekend: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of web developers is projected to grow 20 per cent from 2012 to 2022. (5) Data Science: Harvard Business Review considers the job of data scientist as the 'Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2016
According to the latest Elsevier Report 2016, India's scientific publications grew 13.9% as against the global average of 4.1%. The study sifted through the publication output of researchers covered under Elsevier's Scopus database, that covers 60 million documents published in over 22000 journals, book series and conference proceeding by nearly 5000 publishers. It looked at the work of 366455 active researchers who are working with or are affiliated to Indian institutions. But this increase in publications hasn't made much impact on scientific progress or commercialization, considering their limited citation by other researchers. Prof. Anshul Kumar of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, explains, 'There is pressure to publish, but not much scrutiny of where papers are published. Since promotions are tied to the volume of output, academics feel the need to show published output, even if it is not in very well-known publications. Moreover, spending on research and development is low, and this further serves as an impediment to producing original research that has the potential to have a higher impact.' Prof. Nirmalya Bagchi from Administrative Staff College of India, points out, 'A paper has a high impact when it is published in a prestigious journal, and it is difficult for an unknown researcher to publish in such places. Prestigious Western journals prefer to publish research from highly-ranked institutes, and it is well-known that most such institutes are in the West. Thus, Indian scientists who move abroad to work with well-known institutes do not face such difficulties in publishing. It also helps that the research infrastructure is well-developed abroad.' India also have to ramp up its knowledge sharing i.e. increase number of citations in patent documents and collaboration between industry and academia. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 may 2016
India's educational institutions need to ramp up their focus on research and innovation, in addition to quality of teaching, to improve their global rankings and stand at par with world's leading institutions. According to Prof. C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor of O. P. Jindal Global University and Dean of Jindal Global Law School, 'The reason why Indian higher education institutions constantly fail to feature in the annual world university rankings is because we have failed to appreciate the inter-disciplinary approach in higher education. In India, the gross enrolment ratio is less than 20% and the aspiration is to increase this to 30-40% in the next decade or so. Also, there is a high level of distrust between the government and the providers of higher education. We have a lot to learn for institution-building and there is a need for emphasising 'Making of India' rather than Make in India.' He further suggests, 'Widening the reach of education in the country, promoting research and world-class training programmes for academic administrators are some key measures needed to create a sustainable future for the country and its citizens.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 may 2016
UK-India Social Enterprise Education Network (UKISEEN), a collaborative project between IIT Madras (India) and University of Southampton (UK), funded by British Council, was recently launched in India. Prof. Pathik Pathak, Director of Social Enterprise and founding director of Social Impact Lab at University of Southampton, explains his views on social entrepreneurship education and employment, aims and objectives of UKISEEN and how India is embracing social entrepreneurship. ON SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: 'Fundamentally, it's about using entrepreneurship and innovation to drive social change. Social entrepreneurship is important because it gives students a unique skill-set...We think that social entrepreneurship is a catalyst for producing the graduates that the world needs. This is why so many universities in India have embraced social entrepreneurship.' ON UKISEEN: 'It involves universities collaborating to understand the best practices in social entrepreneurship education and exchanging ideas. There are two levels to the collaboration - at the faculty level and student level.' ON ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES: 'Employability is all about leadership now...universities' role includes more than merely educating students. Social entrepreneurship helps students inculcate innovation and creative skills. Fundamentally, it is about problem-solving, which is what leadership is all about as well. Besides, regardless of the profession you enter, you need to be entrepreneurial.' ON EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: 'One can go and work in the social investment space...Another indirect way is that it gives them the skills to go into the workforce and become leaders.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 dec 2015
US-based Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) while describing the goals of architectural education explains, 'As a professional discipline, architecture spans both the arts and the sciences. Students must have an understanding of the arts and humanities, as well as a basic technical understanding of structures and construction. Skills in communication, both visual and verbal, are essential. While knowledge and skills must be developed, design is ultimately a process of critical thinking, analysis, and creative activity.' Prof. Akhtar Chauhan, Director of Rizvi College of Architecture (Mumbai, India) and founder president of International Association for Humane Habitat (IAHH), provides architectural students his views, discusses various aspects of architectural education and suggests what the education system should look for to create professionals who can work cohesively and sustainably for the future. ON CURRICULUM AND CLASSROOM LEARNING: 'Each student is encouraged to find his or her own expression through creative exploration...several electives are included which provides colleges with opportunities to experiment, explore and evolve their distinctive philosophy. Here at Rizvi, we are concerned with issues of sustainable architecture, affordable housing, appropriate and innovative technology and humane habitat.' ON ACADEMICS AND STUDENTS: 'You are likely to find the dreamers and the rebels. The dreamers create new kinds of environments. The rebels are the ones who want to change the world and look at every aspect of academics accordingly...since students in architecture are generally stressed with creativity, they are more involved in the process of self discovery over marks.' ON SOFT SKILLS: 'These are integrated within the curriculum...It is imperative for students of architecture to learn to express themselves through different mediums, including model making, photography, design, films, and so on.' ON CHALLENGES FACED BY STUDENTS: 'For those getting into first year, the environment change is huge...They need to unlearn those old methods at every step and adopt a new approach which is much more creative and open-ended...Due to emphasis on creativity, almost every student struggles initially to find his or her own expression. And students soon realise that this becomes a lifelong struggle.' ON BALANCE BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL CREATIVITY AND CLIENT'S NEEDS: 'Creating something for a client is a two-way process and every student should try and develop solutions for spaces...Students should think about the environment, sustainability, and aesthetic expression so that their architecture contributes a pride-level in society.' ON FINDING INSPIRATION: 'Nature itself is a great source of inspiration. Students can also look upon the great role models, architects like Charles Correa, Achyut Kanvinde, Christopher Benninger and Laurie Baker...At institutional level, they can approach architecture societies, associations and networks for advice, consultation and guidance.' Read on...
The Free Press Journal:
"To create and innovate, you can't rely on copy and paste!" - Prof. Akhtar Chauhan
Author: Shraddha Kamdar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 oct 2015
Indian PM Narendra Modi's recent visit to Silicon Valley and meetings with the top executives of US technology giants, have possibilities and opportunities to build partnerships and collaborations for 'Digital India' concept. Moreover access to the attractive 1.25 billion people's market that India offers would be too hard to refuse for Silicon Valley companies. But what these companies also expect is the faster pace of economic reforms, ease of doing business and less bureaucratic hurdles and regulations. The recent exit of global commodities trader and hedge fund manager Jim Rogers from the Indian market gives a negative signal to the global investor community. India's digital upgrade holds a promise for educational and social modernization leading to advanced and skilled workforce, that are preconditions for a thriving economy along with sufficient consumption. Although India's literacy rate continues to rise since independence but it is still well short of projected world literacy of about 90% this year. A lot is still desired in educational infrastructure particularly in rural areas. Internet and latest educational technologies and platforms can help in this regard. India's internet penetration is only 20% of the population and the government's digital thrust can boost this number. Expertise from tech giants can be utilized to improve internet access. Moreover the digital strategy will also spur consumption through ecommerce. According to World Bank, at present consumption accounts for 60% of India's GDP, while Wall Street Journal mentioned that only 1% of India's population shops online. Also 80% of India's population lacks means to pay electronically for goods, says Morgan Stanley research report. The report also mentioned that India's internet market could rise to US$ 137 billion by 2020. All these statistics points towards a better scope and opportunities for businesses in a 'Digital India'. Read on...
How Silicon Valley can turn India's economy around
Author: S. Kumar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2015
According to the recent report by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), India's healthcare sector is expected to grow to Rs. 9.64 lakh crore by 2017 while the incremental workforce requirement is estimated to reach 74 lakh in 2022. In 2013 healthcare human resources requirement figure was 35.9 lakh. There are 11 lakh allied healthcare professionals in diverse fields and 6.21 lakh allopathic doctors and the sector is still quite short of the current demand. The report further states that there are only 356 registered medical institutions with the total admission capacity of 45000 at undergraduate level and about 24000 at post-graduate level. Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO of NSDC, says 'There is a need for both qualitative and quantitative skill development initiatives in the healthcare sector. We also need to focus heavily on upgrading technical skills of the workforce for advanced healthcare services.' Read on...
The Economic Times:
India's healthcare sector to require 74 lakh employees by 2022: NSDC
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 apr 2015
Using technology to bring social change and improve people's lives is a challenging task. 'One-size-fits-all' approaches to implement technology strategies may not be effective and provide expected results. There is need to have proper context, clarity of purpose and supportive environment to fulfil the promises that technology intends to bring for the well-being and welfare of the society. Professor Kentaro Toyama of University of Michigan, in his latest book 'Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology', argues that technologists undermine efforts at social progress by promoting 'packaged interventions' at the expense of more difficult reforms. Prof. Toyama has worked extensively in India and launched various projects that sought to use computers and Internet connectivity to improve education and reduce poverty. Following are selected excerpts from his Q&A session done by Brian Bergstein, deputy editor of MIT Technology Review - • 'There are already several randomized, controlled trials of schools with and without One Laptop per Child. Generally, what most of these studies show is that schools with laptops did not see their children gain anything in terms of academic achievement, in terms of grades, in terms of test scores, in terms of attendance, or in terms of supposed engagement with the classroom.' • 'I think it's perfectly sensible for parents to want a certain amount of exposure to technology for their children, both as a form of explorative play and as a way to get them used to technology that they'll undoubtedly encounter later in their life. I think the fundamental error people make is that, therefore, we should have the computer be the primary instrument of education for all children...I think one of the issues is we tend to think of education as being the content. We overemphasize the importance of content, as opposed to emphasizing the part that's really difficult in any good education, which is adult-supervised motivation - the motivation of the child to learn something.' • 'If you measure some positive benefit in the technology case, your conclusion is that technology helped. But it was always the people that we worked with, the partners that we chose and the people on the ground who interacted with the people that we wanted to support. All of those human factors were required for the technology itself to have an impact; whether the technology helped or not was really up to people.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 sep 2014
The recent study by Pitchbook Data, based on the funding data between 2009 to July 2014, number of startups and analysis of educational backgrounds of over 13000 founders globally, observed that IIT's (Indian Institute of Technology) are among the top 10 of world's most entrepreneurial universities, with 264 entrepreneurs, who have founded 205 companies and cumulatively raised US$3.15 billion. On the basis of total capital raised, at the top is Stanford University (US$ 3.51 billion) and at the 2nd spot is taken by Harvard University (US$ 3.23 billion). According to Sangeet Paul Choudary of Platform Thinking Labs, 'Less than 2 percent of the applicants get selected, and less than 0.1 percent make it to a top rated branch like computer science or electrical engineering, which is where most of tech-related entrepreneurship and VC activity takes place.' The study by Kauffman Foundation found that 33.2% of all companies founded by immigrants in the US had an Indian co-founder. But a different point that should also be mentioned here is that IIT's are not able to make a higher global mark on the academic basis with most of them being ranked between 351-400, according to The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2013-14. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 sep 2014
India can take advantage of its demographic dividend only when its younger population is provided right direction and opportunities. It is one of the countries with an acute talent crisis with even the educated youth having insufficient skills to be effectively absorbed in the job market. India lacks behind in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) investment, with only 0.88% of its GDP in science research while US (7-8%) & South Korea (3-4%) are way ahead. Former Director General of DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organization), Dr. Vijay Kumar Saraswat, last year mentioned that only 4 out of 1000 young students opt for science & technology or research as their future career as compared to 8 in China, 55 in the USA, 76 in Israel, 76 in Germany, 46 in Korea and 110 in Japan. According to a survey, by 2020 India is estimated to have a shortfall of 1.5 to 2.2 million engineers. To be a successful developed nation, India has to focus on a comprehensive program for STEM education. Moreover it has to encourage the spirit of creativity & innovation and promote students to also pursue true research. Intel Corporation is pursuing a program in a public-private partnership, Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science (IRIS), with Department of Science & Technology and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) to popularize science and the spirit of innovation among students of Class 5-12. The program selects innovative students through project-based competition and then these students are mentored to represent India at a global platform, Intel ISEF, and showcase their projects to win awards and scholarships. India has to develop a mechanism where students who have shown creative and innovative abilities are nurtured within the current education system and encouraged & supported to build upon their ideas. More involvement of private sector is also required to promote STEM proficiency. Debjani Ghosh of Intel, the author of article, further mentions, 'We need to encourage project based learning and inquiry based interdisciplinary approaches in the classroom. Without the change happening at the basic level, STEM will remain a periphery for our students.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 apr 2014
There are different levels of adopting technology in learning and education. In case of primary and secondary education the purpose of technology is to assist students not only to get acquainted with latest technologies but also to provide them with interactive and innovative medium for enhanced and effective learning. According to Elementary Education in India report 2011-12, 48% of 1.4 million schools in India now have computers. Moreover the market for information and communication technologies in education is growing with industry reports expecting it to grow to Rs. 57,000 crore in 2014 from Rs. 285,000 crore in 2012. In India various methods of introducing technology in school curriculum are being experimented - elearning and smart classroom; computer labs in schools; laptops & tablets to individual students. But experts differ in their opinion regarding the overall utility of devices like tablets to students. According to some, considering India's socio-economic disparities and the vast primary & secondary school setup, it would be difficult to effectively enforce mandatory buying of tablets by every student. The issue of choice is also a problem when a school promotes a particular brand while enforcing this policy. Some elite schools although are experimenting with owning a device policy for students but other private and public schools are providing computer and technology infrastructure within the school premises to all students and not enforcing individual buying of devices. Government itself has been in headlines regarding its efforts to provide subsidized low-cost Aakash tablets to school students but the program seems to have got delayed. Most experts do agree with the value of technology in education and learning considering its continuously increasing involvement in everyday human life, the overall pace of technological advancements and the need to timely equip students with 21st century knowledge and skills for their better future. Read on...
Indian schools adopt tablets. Will they improve education?
Author: Betwa Sharma
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 feb 2014
Open and distance learning (ODL) system in India is not new and first started in 1962. Over the years it has grown and now more than 4 million students (22%) are enrolled in higher education through ODL mode. The regulatory mechanism of ODL system was governed by DEC (Distance Education Council) established by IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open Univeristy) in 1991. Madhav Menon Committee, constituted in August 2010 by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource and Development) to suggest measures for effective and efficient regulation of distance education, questioned DEC's authority as the apex regulator on the basis of 'conflict of interest' (DEC being under the control of IGNOU), lack of adequate manpower and technological support. Based on the findings and recommendations of Madhav Menon Committee, MHRD and IGNOU dissolved DEC by an order in May 2013 and transferred the regulatory authority for ODL system to UGC (University Grants Commission) and AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education). Article provides detailed historical evolution of ODL system in India and the current regulatory dynamics. Moreover it suggests that more sustained reforms in this area are required to safeguard the interests of millions of students and there is need for 'independent' and 'effective' regulator for better coordination and consensus on important policy matters. The quality of ODL system has to be enhanced and upgraded. Moreover to attract more students into the ODL system, use of latest educational technologies should also be considered. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jan 2014
Search for affordable and quality education is a challenge for students all around the world. Better education is considered as a channel to provide future career opportunities. Internet and associated digital technologies focused towards education are capable of transforming the learning landscape. Initiatives like - online education from traditional universities; diverse learning content providers like Khan Academy, Alison.com, etc; MOOC platforms like Udacity, edX, Coursera etc - and not to forget the large number of self-learning content freely available through independent websites, all adds up to the online learning spectrum. Certification and degree recognition are some of the issues and challenges related to this form of education. According to University of Pennsylvania survey most of the MOOCs availing students are those that are already educated and take them up for enhancing specific knowledge and skills for career advancement, in poor countries accessed by mainly those who are wealthy and have computer and internet connection and 90% of those who register drop out without completing the course. Blended learning is also being utilized where online learning mechanism is adopted alongwith traditional education delivery. Coursera has started Learning Hubs in 10 countries that provide physical infrastructure to enhance learning access. Online learning and education space is expected to evolve innovative and more disruptive models in future particularly in a country like India with shortage of trained faculty and inadequate educational infrastructure. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jan 2014
Architects play an important role in building and developing both personal and public infrastructure and participate in the growth of nations. India is undergoing rapid urbanization and it is critical for the government and private sector to plan, facilitate and manage it with collaborative and converged approach. India's 1500 architects recently came together at IIA's (The Indian Institute of Architects) National Convention 2013 to discuss and consider various aspects and issues facing architecture including urbanization, sustainability and innovation. The convention concluded with recommendations called 'Chennai Charter' - To work for the establishment of Ministry of Architecture, Regional and Urban Planning' & Public Architecture Department, both at national and state level; Based on provisions of the Architect Act (1972) promote employment of architects in government projects; Formation of agricultural university at location where sufficient architecture schools/colleges are present. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 dec 2013
According to Dr. Madhav Deo, member of Academic Council of MCI (Medical Council of India), the estimated 90% of healthcare providers in rural India aren't even graduates. While mentioning the government's recent scheme to create mid-level rural healthcare professionals by providing a Bachelor of Science in Community Health, he also said that it will not completely solve the rural healthcare challenges and there has to be a nationwide debate regarding the condition of rural healthcare and solutions have to be evolved. India's healthcare direction seems to be similar to what US has gone through in 20th century, particularly regarding the state of healthcare education. This bleak period in US medical education history is often referred to as Pre-Flexner Era. Abraham Flexner, an educator, submitted a report regarding the condition of medical education in 1908, and provided the recommendations that became the blueprint defining the future of healthcare in US. It considered Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as the benchmark and model for medical schools in US and helped standardize medical education all across the country. India may not have to fully copy and adopt this model but it has to create its own ideal medical school considering local realities (AIIMS can be a model to follow) and standardize medical education in the country with strict norms and conditions keeping in mind the numerous challenges and issues that medical education and healthcare services delivery are currently facing in the country. Read on...
Is the government pushing medical education into the dark ages?
Author: Nirmalya Dutta
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 nov 2013
Technologies are faciliating social pervasiveness of mobile phones, electronic and social media and are empowering common people to have their say in various national and international issues and provides them opportunities to participate in political, social and economic processes. According to Professor Vivek Wadhwa of Singularity University, as poor gain access to internet through tablets and smart phones and the middle class gets better connectivity India will witness a revolution in commerce, education and social values. He says that advancement in tablet technology with reduced prices coupled with cheaper and wider availability of internet provides the necessary tools for the large Indian population to not only have social interactions and community connectedness but also avail benefits through access to ecommerce and online shopping, education through available online courses from around the world (MOOCs) and media and entertainment through quality global and local digital content online. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 oct 2013
Higher education is one of the most important thing on India's development agenda. In 12th Five Year Plan, the Planning Commission has a target to create capacity for additional 10 million students above the 25 million that are in the education system in 2011-12. One of the main focus of the plan is to improve the quality of education and skill development that would have an impact on the growth of the economy in the future. Industry experts expect technical talent coming out of Indian educational institutions should also have soft-skills for better overall value. Planning Commission mentions that Indian education system have variety of challenges like trained faculty shortage, inadequate infrastructure, outdated curricula, lack of quality research even in prestigious institutions etc. Academic experts also mention low funds and sub-standard research facilities and labs as one of the reasons for poor quality research. Moreover certain educational regulatory policies particularly in the creation of private educational institutions are restrictive for attracting private investments in the sector. Educational expert mentions the 'not-for-profit' clause as one of the main hindrance for the development of private education sector in India. Also entry of foreign educational institutions in the Indian education sector has to be considered with a balanced view and should encourage collaborations and partnerships for the mutual benefits. Read on...
Times Higher Education:
India's higher education sector focuses on standards
Author: John Morgan
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 oct 2013
It is challenging for faculty to impart quality education to their students if their salaries are comparatively low. The case particularly in question is that of Madurai district in India where self financing arts and science colleges face a deteriorating education standards due to the meagre salaries they provide to their faculty, even the qualified ones. Faculty needs resources to upgrade their skills and competencies and continue to inspire and motivate their students in the best possible way. According to an expert, government has to intervene both financially and in faculty selection process to ensure better quality of education. Read on...
The Times of India:
Poor salaries for faculty depriving quality education
Author: V. Devanathan
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