“One Nation One Digital Platform will ensure equitable, accessible, affordable and quality education for all”, said Union Minister Sanjay Dhotre

New Delhi: Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India while delivering the keynote address today on the 2nd day of CII Education Summit mentioned that the country is experiencing unprecedented challenges from COVID-19, and re-defining and re-visiting education are the needs of the hour. He further emphasized that with primarily no supplies three months ago, India today is the world’s 2nd largest supplier of PPEs and several educational institutes such as IITs, NITs in India have significantly contributed in providing some breakthrough solutions for Covid-19.

He stated that while the pandemic has resulted in disruption in overall life, it has also impacted jobs and placements drastically. He further emphasized that measures like special placement drives, alumni association, placement committees of institutions and active support from the industry would be needed to overcome this crisis. He also urged CII to play an important role to reach out to its member companies for recruitment of technical manpower, thereby mitigating the impact of crises on jobs. He further congratulated CII for covering all such important aspects of education in this Education Summit.

He also highlighted that proactive steps are being taken up by the Government to support and reach out to those who do not have access to the internet, through initiatives like DIKSHA, and SWAYAM PRABHA and extensive usage of radio, community radio stations etc.

He urged educational institutes and industry to focus on up-skilling of youth in artificial intelligence, data science and analytics; and skilling the rural in agricultural, healthcare and yoga as well. He also insisted on the skilling of young generation in the area of sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation etc. He mentioned that transforming the education and bringing new education policy are the important steps to boost PM’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It would call for greater collaboration between educational institutes and the industry.

Mr. BVR Mohan Reddy Chairman, CII Education Council & Executive Chairman, Cyient & Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Hyderabad mentioned that in the present time, the use of technology is extensive by every stakeholder of the society, which is exemplified by drastic increase in e-commerce over a past couple of months. He highlighted the need for up-skilling in higher education to adopt new normal; gearing-up of students to adopt the new normal emerging in recruitment system; and just-in-time training strategy.
He also emphasised the need for quality teachers, creation of better digital contents, encouraging micro- degrees and hybrid learning with proper communication and connectivity to create a better educational system in India.

Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Past President, CII and Chairman Hero Enterprise during his address stated that the current pandemic had a massive impact all the sectors including education in India. Many companies and professionals are adopting work from home as the new normal. The dual pandemic challenges which India has been facing are from the health and socio-economic fronts. He brought forth several challenges like job losses, labour shortages and imbalances in resource allocation. He further stated that as we unlock, and as the industries become technology centric, it would be imperative for higher education institutions to impart new skills. He highlighted the need for constituting a task force by CII under aegis of Ministry to improve the research orientation in education; to enhance outreach of education; and boost the high-quality vocational degree programme.

While interacting with Hon’ble State Minister, Mr. Yogi Shriram, Senior Vice President, Corporate HR, Larsen & Toubro highlighted that the current crisis has taught many lessons, including adoption of hybrid learning model. However, this requires institutional support as many students are not able to access the online learning. He further emphasized on the adoption of asynchronous learning in the education system; and finding new ways to connect with students. He also talked about the need for more training programme such as NAPS scheme, launched by Government to promote basic training and practical training at workplace in the industry. While the industry was badly impacted by the current crisis, manufacturing and production have not resumed to normal level with the opening up and are not likely to any time soon. Migration of labour and resultant shortage of hands means industry will have to move quickly towards automation. Till the changeover takes effect, it may impact the recruitments and halt the hiring in campuses.

Organized by CII, the 2nd day of ten-day long virtual Education conference on 26thJune 2020 also witnessed Indian luminaries and educationists discussing on the impact of Covid-19 on recruitments in industry and the response of higher education institutions thereof.