Chennai, 8th Aug 2019: Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of Shri Shankarlal Sundarbai Shasun Jain College for Women organized a panel discussion on ‘Draft National Educational Policy 2019’ in the college premises on 8th August 2019.
The Chief Guest Dr. Nilofer Kafeel, Minister of Labour, and Employment, Government of Tamil Nadu and Dr. Jothi Venkateswaran, Director (FAC), Department of Higher Education, and Government of Tamil Nadu graced the occasion with the esteemed presence. Secretary Shri S. Abhaya Srisrimal Jain, Associate Secretary Shri. R. Ashok Kumar Mehta, Principal Dr. S. Padmavathi and Advisory committee members were also present for the inaugural session. Principal welcomed the gathering and introduced the guests for the day.
The Chief Guest Dr. Nilofer Kafeel expressed her gratitude to the management for the invite and addressed the audience on how the State Government caters to the work force requirements through funds. She emphasized on the need to have a balance of employment skills and holistic approach in the current pedagogical structure in order to meet the evolving dynamics of the global world.
Dr. Kafeel made a point to have more training centres of ten thousand IT graduates. She requested the youth to take skill-based training to fit in the present competetive world. She appreciated the present Government following the recommendations of NEP 2019. In his presidential address, the Secretary addressed the need to have the balance of knowledge, critical thinking, activity-oriented skills.
The purpose of such an open discourse is to make us aware of the new modifications that the government has included in the primary, secondary, and higher educational sectors and to discuss the latest pedagogical structure of education that is more relevant to our current societal framework. He also mentioned that as an all-inclusive system National Educational Policy of 2019 focuses on producing individuals who are not only well informed, but skilled and sensitized to the happenings of our country thereby contributing to the transformation of our nation.
The Guest of Honour, Dr. Jothi Venkateswaran, appreciated the college for taking the initiative to conduct the panel discussion on NEP 2019. Quoting the statistics of funds allocated for higher education in Tamil Nadu, he stated that the state is the pioneer in taking efforts for encouraging women’s education. He also mentioned the significance of imparting quality-based education in the current scenario.
The inagural session was followed by the panel discussion. The panelist Dr. S Venkatraman, senior consultant (UNESCO), gave a broad spectrum and his insights on NEP 2019. He praised the document saying that it a vision and it should be implemented with maximum effectiveness.
He highlighted that the three areas the policy looks into the journey so far, discussing about the emerging issues and the future course of actions. He also spoke about the global commitment and sustainable development goals for 2030. He stressed greatly on the 4 pillars of learning namely learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together.
Highlighting the need to include different kinds of disabilities under inclusive education, he spoke about how people should be ready to accept and sensitize themselves to gear up for the policy. He also talked about the necessity to give importance for Tribal education and to put efforts to improve their education. He ended his speech with the need to relook in the monitoring policy and to create accountability through effective data. The next panelist Dr. G. Geetha, Controller of Examination, D. G. Vaishnav College, threw light on the importance of researches being timely, relevant, and diverse.
She accented the fact that language is not just words but a cultural signifier. She was concerned about the increasing number of Indians going abroad. Dr. L Jagannathan, Professor, School of Computing Science and Engineering, VIT University, shared his thoughts that the purpose of education is to trigger one’s thinking.
He spoke openly about the adverse effects of commercialisation in the educational framework and praised the effectiveness of Gurukul system of learning. He strongly believed in learning by doing and was extremely worried about the missing element of community engagement in the present scenario. He also added a point that teachers have to be sensitized enough to mould the students understand the holistic concept of life. He ended his speech with a suggestion that the plicy should address the ‘end-user’.
Dr. P.R. Ramakrishnan, Dean of Commerce, Vels University, opened his speech sharing the staggeringly low statistics of the accessibility of higher education in India. He accentuated the importance of practical knowledge and the need to have proper data for realistic assessment. His primary stress was on skill development and positive approach to excel in life.
Dr. S. Hosimin Thilagar, Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Anna University spoke about the different commitees and recommendations mentioned in the draft. He suggested the revision of funds for education. His groundbreaking solution for assuring the effectiveness of the policy was the need to include educationists in its framework. He added that realistically, our country has not achieved even 2% of the objective of ‘universalization of education’.
He said, “It is in the hands of educationists to transform individuals, what Government can do is to provide funds for it”. For him, “education is a different affair all together. You can’t compare it with some production unit.” He ended his speech by requesting the Government to make education affordable even for the poorest of poor.
Shri. P.G Subramaniam, Principal, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidhyashram, Chennai emphasized the importance of strengthening the individuals at their grassroot level. Lack of communication skills on the edge of globalization was his serious concern and he hoped to equip the future citizens of the country with the cognitive capacity to participate at the global level.
He prioritized the implementation of policies with true spirit without politicizing it. He pointed out that the right time to give exposure to the students is when they are at their early stage of schooling as that is the time when their minds are fully capable of grasping mutiple languages.
Dr. P. R. Ramakrishnan summarised the points covered by the panelists and gave a few recommendations to be included in the draft NEP 2019 like role of centre in the dispersal of funds, India’s participation in International Student Assessment and to build on coginitive capabilities to participate in global level. He also mentioned that the teachers should be fully informed, aware, and ready to share knowledge with their students.
The session ended on an interactive note with the hope for a paradigm shift in the present higher educational structure. The program concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Dr. S. Rukmani, Vice Principal, Shri Shankarlal Sundarbai Shasun jain College for Women.