The conference ‘Industry Disruption & Reimagining the Role of Education’ organized by S.P. Mandali’s WeSchool and ASSOCHAM focused on the inclusion of technology in education

Mumbai: The digital landscape in India reflects a rising trend on role of technology in education through edutech start ups and mobile apps. ‘Industry Disruption & Reimagining the Role of Education’ was the theme of the national conference organized by S. P. Mandali’s Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research and ASSOCHAM on Friday, 11th August, Mumbai. The objective of the event was to propel discussion on new age skills and role of education that focuses needs of the future workforce and equipping education stakeholders to leverage the opportunities offered. The event was attended by noted disruptors from academia, edu tech and corporate professionals, such as Shri. S.S. Chawla, Sr. Director, ASSOCHAM; Dr. Sudhanshu Rai, Head, Intercultural Communication & Management, Copenhagen Business School; Dr. S.S. Mantha (Former Chairman AICTE); Dr. Vijay Khole ( V.C. , Amity University – Mumbai Campus); Dr. Abhay Pethe, Economist; Mrs. Revathi Srinivasan, Director – Education and Principal, Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School; Mr. D. Y. Patil, Bharti Vidyapeeth’s Institute of Management Studies & Research, and corporate stalwarts like Ms. Anuja Shukla, Start up Ecosystem @ Google; Mr. Arup Roy, Research Director, Gartner and Mr. Surya Ramchandran, Chief Innovation Officer, ILFS Education and Mr. Sanjay Podder, Managing Director and R&D Head- Accenture Labs India.

Shri. Prakash Javadekar, Hon’ble Union Minister, MHRD, in his video message said, “Technology has advanced with the advent of Robotics, 3D printing and Artificial Intelligence. The way we live is also undergoing a tremendous change. With this, education must change too. Updating the curriculum is not going be enough, human values like empathy, ethics and governance must be inculcated in our youth.”

Mr. Ramesh Iyer, Vice-chairman and MD, Mahindra Finance the Chief Guest at the conference shared his experiences from industry and, “We must look at disruption as an opportunity and be innovative in our approach to reap maximum benefits. Fundamentally, our solutions need to bridge the gap we aim to address Personally, I believe the model of R.E.A.C.H which brings about Relevance, Engagement, Aspiration, Competence and Happiness if adapted in our education system, along with right governance, can help us create people with great potential to address any disruption.”

Advocate S. K. Jain, Chairman, Managing Council, S. P. Mandali and Local Managing Committee, WeSchool, opined, “Excellence in what we deliver in education so it has a meaningful outcome is critical to ensuring that as educationists we are doing our best in preparing the next generation. The Role of the Teacher and the Educational institutes in therefore revisiting their paradigms is extremely critical. India is poised to be a global leader but, to realize this dream we need to accept the changes and challenges and train our youth to be agile learners who adapt to changing times. And while we strive to enable students to take their place in industry, it is also equally important to develop a value system that will help them become good citizens and human beings.”

Prof. Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Chairman, National Council of Education, ASSOCHAM & Group Director, WeSchool, said, “We are moving into the world of speed, imagination and disruption. The sixth wave is about the various disruptions we are going to experience in our daily life. As we step into the fourth industrial revolution with the advent of Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality and machine learning, time has come to think as to how much education needs to disrupt itself . Our role therefore is to identify the impact of these changes on education, listen to industry and society, assess and prepare for creating models that can deal with these disruptions.”

The panel discussion evaluated the challenges and opportunities of the conference theme. Dr. Sudhanshu Rai, Copenhagen University brought out a thought provoking aspect. He shared, “Since disruption is change in the dominant design that governs a product or service, we need to introspect on what is the dominant design that drives education, and how we may cause a positive and innovative impact by bringing in disruption in education.” The other dominant aspects that came across from the panel members included, Customization becoming key to the learning ecosystem. And for us to remain relevant, it is evident that reskilling is not a choice any more. The important point though is that this reskilling, with the help of the various “do it yourself” and free authentic learning resources that new age technology offers us, is now the responsibility of every individual and we should not wait for organizations to create formal systems for it.

The panel members addressed the questions arising about the academic leadership, acute talent crisis in higher education, quality of teachers and the centers of excellence for research. The conference unfolded solutions to all of these challenges and questions as it manifested the importance of higher education institutes being the producers of information and how industry and academia together can face the phenomena of disruption. The valedictory session saw exchange of ideas and views that emerged from the breakout sessions ‘ reinventing the role of the teach and academic leadership, skills for the new world and technology, tools and pedagogy in education.

In the valedictory address delivered by Shri. Suresh Jain, Founder Member, Center for Integrated Development and Research, he emphasized “The role of individuals, education institutions, industry and the government towards using education to make a difference to society and improve quality of life. Disruptions challenge us to reach higher levels of our potential, so in a way, disruptions pave the way for progress. This progress however needs to be for the many.”