Monday Motivation: Roundtable on National Education Policy 2020, at Symbiosis International University

I am still reeling under the effects of the wonderful, intellectual and engaging roundtable that was held at the Symbiosis International University campus, Lavale on Saturday. Much to our delight Shri Dharmendra Pradhan the Hon’ble Minister of Education, Government of India graced the roundtable as the Chief Guest. Not only did the Hon’ble Minister address the audience but also found time to answer the many questions that were posed to him.

At the very onset the Hon’ble Minister commended Symbiosis’ efforts at implementing the National Education Policy 2020 and creating a sense of accountability by submitting a report on NEP 2020. He mentioned Pune’s importance in India’s journey in education as even thousands of years ago Pune had been an important educational hub of India and even today with the presence of international students here, it remains so. It was so heartening to see Dr. Mujumdar’s vision of internationalization which he had thought of fifty years ago, and which led to the initiation of Symbiosis International University being commended. The Minister said that being a Guru is a state of mind and the gurus have been the catalyst for NEP 2020. He further went on to say that gurus transform students and therefore the modern-day teacher is the harbinger of social reforms. He mentioned that by 2025, crore of jobs would be lost but an equal number of jobs will be created. This will cause a major upheaval where many people will need to be upskilled, many will have to be reskilled and many will have to be brought into the skill ecosystem. He talked about the disruptive manner in which technology has permeated into our lives and the manner in which it has led to our progress.

The Hon’ble Minister brought out the multidisciplinary approach that has been brought in by NEP 2020 and he highlighted that the societal benefit of this multidisciplinary approach can only be brought in by educationists and academicians. A picture of a single ray of light being refracted into a rainbow in the NEP Report submitted by Symbiosis, caught the Minster’s eye and he complimented Symbiosis for drawing it as a parallel with multidisciplinary approach. In fact, he even encouraged other institutions to follow the multidisciplinary approach in academics. Talking about his expectations from the city of Pune he concluded his address by saying that he expects Pune to bring forth even more revolutionizing 21st century ideas, before the world.

I felt immensely happy to see that along with the Hon’ble Minster, academic leaders and educationists from all across Maharashtra attended the roundtable and brought such honest questions to the table. The Minister was equally gracious in answering the questions. While one academician asked him about the deficit of faculty in the colleges of India, another academician asked him about the deeper nuances of the Academic Credit Bank and the Minister shared his progressive thoughts on turning internship experience and job-related experiences into academic credits.

As rightly brought out by the Vice Chancellor of SIU, Swami Vivekananda had said “We want education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s own feet,” and the NEP 2020 aims to achieve this.

I am sure that the Hon’ble Minister’s presence at the Roundtable on National Education Policy 2020, at SIU will prove to be inspiring for all involved in academia and we will come together to make India the Vishwasguru once again!