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UOW Australia & NSE Academy unveil book on Corporate Finance; Adam Gilchrist rings the ceremonial bell

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The University of Wollongong (UOW) Australia, in collaboration with the NSE Academy launched their new book titled “Introduction to Corporate Finance (sixth edition)” at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in Mumbai. The book, authored by first year lecturers at UOW campuses in Hong Kong and Dubai, is poised to become a seminal work in understanding the complexities and nuances of the corporate finance landscape.

The book was launched by MD & CEO, NSE Ashishkumar Chauhan, UOW’s Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Patricia M. Davidson, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Alex Frino, and Global Brand Ambassador Adam Gilchrist. The book includes a chapter which details how shares are traded on the National Stock Exchange.  

The book launch took place on the heels of UOW unveiling its India identity at GIFT City, Gujarat, on September 18 (Monday). The University is on track to being one of the first foreign universities to have a teaching base in India, and to hand out Australian degrees to Indian students. 

The event at NSE featured a discussion by Chauhan and Frino on the intriguing subject of the ‘Future of Equities Markets in India’. The highly anticipated talk provided a comprehensive overview of the evolving trends, the formidable challenges, and the abundant opportunities that shape India’s dynamic equities markets landscape. 

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“India has made significant strides in maintaining a regulatory environment that is investor-friendly, a key factor in attracting more foreign investment into our vibrant markets. The ongoing reforms and initiatives, including the establishment of the GIFT City as a financial hub and IFSCA (GIFT City regulator), exemplify our commitment to nurturing global partnerships and welcoming foreign institutions, such as the University of Wollongong, to have a physical presence in India. It is an exciting time for India, and we are dedicated to embracing innovation, facilitating market integration with the global arena, and ensuring a prosperous future for both our domestic and international stakeholders,” said Ashishkumar Chauhan, MD & CEO, NSE

“India’s remarkable rise in fintech and technological advancements in recent years, coupled with the surge in digital consumption, presents an ideal environment for international businesses to thrive. UOW’s physical presence in India signifies more than just a strategic move; it represents our commitment to fostering deeper research engagements with our Indian partners, resulting in impactful global outcomes. Our presence in India allows us to provide world-class education, nurturing India’s young population and contributing to their holistic development. It also aligns with our vision to expand our international footprint, strengthening our global network and creating a bridge for knowledge exchange,” added Professor Frino from UOW

On the occasion of the book launch, UOW Global Brand Ambassador and cricketing legend Adam Gilchrist interacted with the delegation from NSE and key Australian government officials and rang the ceremonial bell, signifying stronger Australia – India relations in trade, research and education partnerships.

The University, which has a strong global presence, has been successfully operating campuses in Australia, Dubai, Malaysia and Hong Kong. It will commence its India operations in 2024 with a Graduate Certificate in Computing and a Masters in Computing (Data Analytics), followed by other undergraduate programs. UOW already has close ties with over 30 Indian universities for research and educational collaborations in the areas of software development, advanced medicine solutions, molecular and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and mining technologies.

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Unlocking Excellence: Top Reasons Why Study Abroad Aspirants Prefer the UK

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Some of the prominent universities in the world have their origins in the UK. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and colleges like the Imperial College are well known and have been beacons of education historically. The UK offers a wide range of relevant graduation and postgraduate programs in various disciplines that can appeal to the diverse student diaspora throughout the world. This diversity offers opportunities for students at multiple colleges and academic institutions. Further, the education system of the UK is unique in a number of aspects. These are –

  1. Emphasis on Research
  2. Importance of Projects like Capstone Projects.
  3. Internships
  4. Development of skills, thinking, and applications of the various courses of study.

From an Indian perspective, the degrees and diplomas awarded by UK-based institutions are recognized & accepted the world over.

The main requirement from a foreign student would be proficiency in the English Language which is validated through various tests like IELTS, Pearson PTE, ESOL, etc. This is mandated as the mode of instruction for the UK-based colleges and institutions is primarily in English. The major advantage for the Indian students is the cultural diversity and acceptance at the UK-based universities. Students from various parts of the world converge in the UK making it a cultural conundrum of countries, races, religions, and exposures. This is one of the greatest advantages of studying in the UK.

The UKVI norms allow for a student to intern during his studentship. This adds a separate dimension to the work experience of the students. The students will be free to convert their student visas to work visas post the completion of their academic commitments. Networking among students is also a great way to earn employment. UK universities allow for events such as job fairs wherein the recruiters and the students can meet and exchange their requirements. This remains one of the most popular methods of gaining employment in the UK. Alumni referrals also facilitate employment. The alumni are the ambassadors of education at UK-based Universities as students can reach out to them and understand about cultural differences, changes in the academic structure at UK, Internship opportunities, assessment systems, etc.

Finally, a UK-based academic program may be perceived as costly. However, this requires a micro detailed research as earning and interning opportunities will end up renumerating in UK Pounds which is a strong currency. The currency differentials will make the program viable. Secondly, the UK-based institutions will offer employment or internships in world-class organizations that will offer worldwide exposure.

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Hence, a UK-based education offers exposure, excellent academics, internship opportunities, the best cultural interfaces, reputed universities, and colleges, etc. that will offer education of world standards.

Authored By: Dr. Raju Varghese, Director PGDM & Global Programs, Lexicon MILE

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The Future of K-12 Education in Low-Income Countries: A Digital Learning Perspective

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Digital learning has become an essential part of education in the 21st century. It has transformed the way students access information, engage with content, and interact with educators. However, the implementation of digital learning in K-12 education in low-income countries faces a unique set of challenges. 

Difficulties and Challenges

Lack of Infrastructure and Resources: One of the primary challenges in implementing digital learning in low-income countries is the inadequate infrastructure and resources. According to a report by UNESCO, only 10% of low-income countries had sufficient facilities to ensure the safety of all learners and staff in early 2021. This lack of basic infrastructure, including access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, creates a challenging environment for effective digital learning.

Limited Access to Digital Devices and Internet Connectivity: A significant obstacle to digital learning in low-income countries is the limited access to digital devices and internet connectivity. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reported that half of the 1.5 billion students affected by school closures worldwide faced economic and technical barriers to online learning, with the majority of these students residing in developing countries. This lack of access to devices and the internet hinders students’ ability to participate in digital learning.

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While these challenges are significant, there are also opportunities that can be leveraged to reimagine K-12 digital learning in low-income countries. Reports indicate that digital technology is becoming more accessible to the bottom segment of the population in low-income countries. This trend suggests a growing need to invest in digital infrastructure and education, making digital learning a reality for more students.

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are a powerful and transformative concept in education. They represent a wide array of educational materials and resources, including textbooks, lectures, videos, quizzes, and more, that are made freely available to the public. OERs have the potential to revolutionize education by eliminating financial barriers, expanding access to quality learning materials, and fostering a culture of collaboration and sharing. Unlike traditional textbooks and proprietary educational resources, OERs are typically released under open licenses, such as Creative Commons, which allow users to access, modify, and redistribute the content. This openness not only reduces the financial burden on students who no longer need to purchase expensive textbooks but also empowers educators to adapt and customize materials to better suit their students’ needs and local contexts.

Moreover, OERs promote innovation and pedagogical diversity. They encourage educators to experiment with new teaching methods, as they can easily access a wealth of materials to support their instructional objectives. 

This freedom to adapt and tailor resources to individual students’ needs fosters a more inclusive and personalized learning environment. OERs enable international collaboration and knowledge sharing, breaking down geographical barriers and allowing educators and learners to access high-quality educational content from around the world. As the OER movement continues to grow, it has the potential to make education more affordable, adaptable, and inclusive, ultimately contributing to improved learning outcomes and a more equitable educational landscape.

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OERs are freely accessible, openly licensed educational materials that can include text, media, and other digital assets. OERs provide a solution to the lack of access to traditional textbooks and educational materials in low-income countries. These resources can be tailored to local contexts and are a cost-effective way to enhance learning.

Strategies for Reimagining K-12 Digital Learning in Low-Income Countries

To make digital learning a reality in low-income countries, a multi-faceted approach is needed:

  • Investing in Digital Infrastructure: Governments and stakeholders should invest in digital infrastructure, including high-speed internet connectivity, reliable electricity supply, and computer labs in schools. Adequate infrastructure is essential for effective digital learning.
  • Providing Digital Devices: Governments and organizations should provide digital devices, such as laptops or tablets, to students who cannot afford them. This initiative ensures that all students have equal access to digital learning resources.
  • Developing Context-Relevant OERs: Governments and stakeholders must focus on the development of open educational resources that are tailored to local contexts and curricula. These OERs can replace traditional textbooks and be made accessible to all students, regardless of their economic background.
  • Teacher Training: To implement digital learning effectively, it is crucial to provide teachers with training on how to use digital devices and integrate technology into their teaching. Teachers play a vital role in delivering quality education through digital means.
  • Collaboration with the Private Sector: Governments can collaborate with private sector companies that specialize in educational technology solutions. This partnership can result in affordable and context-relevant educational technology solutions for schools.

Reimagining K-12 digital learning in low-income countries is a complex and critical task. These strategies can not only enhance educational opportunities but also contribute to reducing educational inequalities and promoting economic development in low-income countries.

 

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The Indian National Education Policy: Embracing Multidisciplinarity in Higher Education

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The work of Leonardo da Vinci is regarded as the pinnacle of human brilliance in the archives. He was a Renaissance polymath who made significant contributions to science, architecture, and many other disciplines in addition to his artistic talent. The tale of Da Vinci serves as a powerful symbol of the importance of interdisciplinary knowledge. The Indian National Education Policy (NEP) has welcomed the idea of multidisciplinary with open arms in today’s interconnected world where the lines between disciplines are becoming more hazy. The expanding tendency of colleges to offer a broad range of subjects from numerous fields reflects this policy change.

Fast forward to the 21st century, we live in a society that appreciates multiple skill intersections more than ever. Individuals who can adapt, innovate, and work across disciplines are needed to meet the challenges of today’s globalized, rapidly evolving job environment. Higher education institutions are redesigning their educational programs to offer multidisciplinary programs that give students a wider range of skills in response to these requirements.

From 2023, many advanced management programs in India will start to offer interdisciplinary skills. These programs emphasize that current employees require a toolset that cuts across disciplines rather than merely a restricted specialization in one area. This change in education is a reflection of what students themselves want.

In a poll by TeamLease Edtech, a shocking 94% of students reportedly expressed a significant interest in studying multidisciplinary degrees. Additionally, 70% of respondents favored hybrid learning settings, which blend conventional classroom instruction with online and on-the-job training. This preference for a variety of educational opportunities highlights the dynamics of modern education 

Online education, once viewed with skepticism, is now gaining acceptance among students. More than half of the students surveyed (55%) said they would pay for online degrees offered by renowned professors. This represents a change in how students view the benefits of online learning, particularly when it originates from respectable schools.

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Furthermore, according to 60% of students, online courses should be cheaper than conventional in-person ones, reflecting the evolving economics of education. The landscape of higher education is changing as a result of the availability of quality education from the convenience of one’s home or place of work.

The New Education Policy (NEP) of the Indian government is a forward-thinking policy that precisely reflects the changing requirements and ambitions of students. In recognition of the fact that the workforce of the future needs a synthesis of knowledge and abilities from diverse fields, this policy has prepared the way for multidisciplinary degrees.

The NEP also introduces the idea of “Professors of Practice,” an initiative meant to encourage hands-on learning. Experienced professionals from a variety of industries are invited into the classroom to give students practical knowledge that is essential in today’s job market.

Recognizing the value of online education in the age of technology, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has also taken action by promoting online course credits. This change in policy embraces the flexibility and accessibility that online education can provide in addition to recognizing the value of multidisciplinary.

The change is undoubtedly difficult in higher education towards multidisciplinary and online learning. But it also has a great deal of promise. It promises to provide students with a wider range of skills, better preparing them for a labor market that is continually changing. In order to reach students in the most remote areas of the nation, it claims to make education more inclusive and accessible. It guarantees that graduates are prepared for employment right out of school by bridging the gap between academia and business.

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The Indian National Education Policy’s embracing of multiple learning routes and multidisciplinary degrees is a noteworthy move in a world where Leonardo da Vinci’s ideology of multidisciplinarity is as important as ever. It reflects students’ shifting requirements in a changing educational landscape and workforce. Moving forward, we must continue to support these programs in order to ensure that education remains an empowering force for future generations. Just as Leonardo da Vinci’s talent overcame boundaries, so can India’s multidisciplinary education system create a better future for everybody.

Authored By- Avya Jain

Avya Jain, a passionate high school freshman, explores her deep interest in geopolitics and history. With a keen eye for global affairs and an insatiable curiosity about the past, Avya delves into complex narratives, viewing history and geopolitics as threads weaving our world together. Committed to unraveling these stories, she brings a fresh perspective to topics like the role of technology in wildlife conservation, showcasing her skills in research and content creation. 

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Irony of the Idiot Box: How Television made Education Smarter?

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Television, often labelled as the ‘idiot box,’ paradoxically stood as a formidable force that reshaped the educational landscape in India. Its influence, both before and after the internet era, was transformative, leveraging the power of visual and auditory stimulation to enhance learning experiences. This medium, with its broad reach, played a pivotal role in overcoming barriers to education, acting as an inclusive educator that transcended geographical, linguistic, and socio-economic boundaries.

Educational programs address issues ranging from social justice to environmental sustainability, instilling values of democracy, diversity, and tolerance. The medium serves as a conduit for raising awareness and sensitizing viewers to the pressing challenges faced by society. One remarkable example is the vast array of educational programs under the PM e-Vidya initiative, with India boasting the largest number of educational TV channels globally, totaling 280. This initiative underscored television’s potential as a tool for democratizing education, making quality content accessible even in the remotest corners of the country.

Television’s impact on academic performance is substantiated by a study from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), revealing that watching educational TV programs could improve students’ academic performance by a significant 10 to 15 percent. These findings emphasized the educational value embedded in televised content.

The rural penetration of television, as highlighted by a survey conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), was striking. More than 80 percent of rural households in India had access to television, and over 60 percent of rural children regularly engaged with educational TV programs. This extensive reach underscored television’s role as a key player in disseminating educational content to a diverse and widespread audience.

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India-specific shows further exemplified television’s prowess as an educational tool. The iconic ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Ramayan‘ adaptations by BR Chopra and Ramanand Sagar, respectively, not only popularized ancient Indian scriptures but also conveyed enduring values to a vast audience. These epics became cultural touchstones, imparting lessons of duty, loyalty, courage, and morality.

Bharat Ek Khoj,’ a historical series based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s book, offered a panoramic view of India’s history, tracing its evolution from the Indus Valley Civilization to modern times. This show served as an educational journey, enlightening viewers about the diverse and complex tapestry of India’s past.

Shaktimaan,’ a superhero series, did not just entertain but also educated a generation. Through the protagonist’s battles against evil forces, the show imparted knowledge on scientific, social, and environmental topics. It stood as a testament to television’s ability to combine entertainment with education, fostering a sense of responsibility and curiosity among its viewers.

Further enriching the educational spectrum was the show ‘Tarang‘ on Doordarshan, which was instrumental in making learning interactive and engaging. ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati,’ the Indian adaptation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ not only continues to entertain but also encourages millions to expand their knowledge base through a quiz format. ‘Panchtantra Ki Kahaniyan‘ on DD, with its fables and moral stories, contributed to character-building and ethical understanding. In the realm of science, ‘Khud Bud: Khel Vigyan Ke‘ carved a niche. This show, with its focus on scientific principles and experiments, not only entertained but also educated, nurturing a scientific temperament among its audience.

The vastness of television’s reach, has potentially redefined the landscape of teacher education and, consequently, the quality of education imparted across the country. Television, once labeled an ‘idiot box,’ has proven to be a dynamic educational tool, reaching far beyond its initial moniker. It continues to shape the educational narrative in India, bringing knowledge, inspiration, and social consciousness to millions. As we celebrate the transformation wrought by this medium, it becomes evident that the ‘idiot box’ was anything but foolish—it was a catalyst for intellectual growth and societal progress.

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Educational Renaissance: Narayana Murthy’s Visionary Call for a $1 Billion Investment in Teacher Training

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Narayana Murthy, Co-Founder, Infosys

In a seminal declaration, N R Narayana Murthy has thrust the spotlight on a critical facet of India’s education system, urging an annual investment of $1 billion for the comprehensive training of school teachers. This visionary proposition advocates tapping into the wealth of experience harboured by 10,000 retired, highly accomplished educators from both developed nations and India, with a specific focus on STEM areas — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

At its core, this proposal compels us to reevaluate our educational priorities, directing attention towards the educators who are the architects of our nation’s intellectual foundation. While discussions on educational investments often revolve around students, Murthy’s call resonates with the acknowledgment that the future of teaching lies in the hands of our educators.

The fundamental question that emerges is, why the emphasis on such substantial financial allocation for teacher training? To begin with, investing in teachers is an investment in the very fabric of our society. They are the conduits of knowledge, shaping the minds that will steer the nation’s trajectory. However, despite the crucial role they play, the teaching profession is often undervalued and undercompensated.

The suggested $1 billion annual investment is undoubtedly a substantial figure, prompting some to question the necessity of such a significant financial commitment. It is imperative to recognize that teaching, despite its paramount importance, is often remunerated far less than corporate roles, despite the immense responsibility it carries. This discrepancy in compensation is a deterrent to attracting and retaining top-tier talent in the education sector. Hence, the call for substantial funding is not just an arbitrary figure but a strategic move to rectify the undervaluation of the teaching profession.

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Moreover, this proposal prompts us to reflect on the broader issue of the societal perception of teaching. Teachers, the architects of intellectual growth, deserve not only financial remuneration which is well deserved for their pivotal role in an economy but also comprehensive training that keeps them abreast of evolving pedagogical methodologies and technological advancements. Respect, a commodity sometimes undervalued, is also an integral part of the equation. The proposed investment is not merely a financial allocation; it is a symbolic gesture of acknowledging the critical role teachers play in shaping the future of our nation.

The concept of enlisting 10,000 retired, highly accomplished teachers, both from developed nations and India, is particularly noteworthy. It suggests a collaborative approach, harnessing global expertise to elevate the standard of teaching in India. The focus on STEM areas is strategic, aligning with the evolving demands of the job market and technological landscape.

The ‘Train the Teacher’ program, coupled with the proposed annual expenditure of $1 billion, stands as a transformative initiative poised to redefine the landscape of education in India. Envisaging this as more than a mere financial allocation, the program introduces a comprehensive training approach at the school level. This strategic move is not just about empowering teachers with subject matter expertise; it’s a holistic endeavor aimed at fostering a culture of critical thinking, encouraging experimentation, promoting teamwork, igniting curiosity, and honing problem-solving abilities among educators. By instilling these qualities in teachers, the initiative creates a cascading effect on students, shaping a learning environment that not only imparts knowledge but also nurtures the essential skills crucial for navigating the challenges of the future.

The broader impact of such an initiative extends beyond individual teachers. It gives birth to a ripple effect where enhanced teacher training translates into a more dynamic and effective education system. Students exposed to well-trained educators benefit from a more enriched learning experience, preparing them not just academically but also fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for the challenges of the future.

In conclusion, Narayana Murthy’s call for a $1 billion annual investment in teacher training is a clear and much awaited call for a paradigm shift in our approach to education. It beckons us to recognize and rectify the undervaluation of teachers, both in terms of remuneration and societal respect. It is an investment not just in individuals but in the very bedrock of our nation’s intellectual growth. As we navigate the complexities of the 21st century, the emphasis on teacher training becomes not just an option but an imperative for sculpting a future-ready generation.

 

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Transforming Young Minds: The Imperative of STEM Education in Today’s World

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We live in an era of rapid technological advancements and a dynamic job market. This has led to an increase in the need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning now more than ever. STEM is not just an industry, it is the foundation upon which the future generation of our world will rely.  At ThinkerPlace, we understand the significance of STEM in nurturing young minds and are delighted to see that this understanding is being recognized on a broader scale, as seen in the National Education Policy 2020. 

STEM education is not just preparing young minds for the future but it is also about empowering them with critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that will help them throughout their lives. It fosters curiosity, creativity, and a passion for learning. The practical application of STEM concepts in our daily lives, from smartphones to renewable energy solutions, underscores the need for a solid foundation in these fields. 

There is a high demand for STEM jobs in the current scenario that is focused on automation, data analysis, and technology-driven skills. To ensure that our children are not left behind, we must equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to thrive in this digital age. This is where STEM education comes into play, preparing students to become the innovators, problem solvers, and leaders of tomorrow. 

The National Education Policy 2020 recognizes the importance of STEM education very well in shaping young minds for the future. It places a strong emphasis on holistic development, with an increased focus on experiential learning and skill development. One of the key aspects of the policy is the integration of STEM education from an early age, making it an integral part of the school syllabus. This shift acknowledges that STEM education is not a luxury but a necessity for students to succeed in an increasingly competitive global landscape.  

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STEM education is all about practical learning. When children build their own robots, experiment with circuits, or delve into scientific principles, they are not just memorizing concepts; they are experiencing the thrill of discovery. This kind of active learning ignites a passion for knowledge & curiosity that can last a lifetime. 

STEM education also encourages an entrepreneurial mindset. It empowers young minds to think outside the box, develop innovative solutions, and create new technologies. By nurturing a culture of innovation from a young age, we can inspire the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, and leaders who will drive progress and change the world. 

STEM education equips children with the skills, knowledge, and mindset needed to navigate the complexities of the modern world. The National Education Policy 2020’s recognition of STEM as a fundamental part of education is a wonderful step in the right direction much needed at this hour. 

It is crucial to foster a passion for STEM among our youth, after all, it is for the betterment of their future.  As we look ahead, it is clear that STEM education is the need of the hour, and we must embrace it wholeheartedly to ensure a brighter and more innovative tomorrow for our children and the world they will shape. 

Written by Deepti Sharma, Director, ThinkerPlace

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Preparing High School Students for Tomorrow’s Thriving Job Market: Is the Education System Up to the Task?

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In the rapidly evolving landscape of the 21st century, the job market is undergoing a profound transformation. Traditional career paths are giving way to innovative roles, demanding new skills and adaptability. The question that resonates across boardrooms, classrooms, and dinner tables alike is whether our education system is adequately preparing high school students for this dynamic future.

In this thought-provoking exploration, we delve into the heart of the matter: the readiness of our education system to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and mindset essential for success in tomorrow’s job market. Through insights from industry experts, we aim to dissect the challenges, unveil innovative solutions, and inspire a collective reimagining of education. Join us on this insightful journey, where we question, reflect, and envision a future where our students are not just equipped to survive, but to thrive.

However, the current education system in many countries, including India, is not adequately preparing them for this dynamic and uncertain scenario.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum in 2020, at least 54% of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling, and 42% of core skills required for existing jobs would have changed by 2022. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and remote working, creating new challenges and opportunities for learning and employment

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As the world hurtles toward an unpredictable future, high school students find themselves standing at the crossroads, uncertain about the path that leads to tomorrow’s job market. In a conversation with Dr. Devesh Kumar Singh, Chairman of Noida International University, emphasises that “preparing students for the expanding labour market is our top priority in a world where change is continual.” He advocates for a curriculum that combines academic knowledge with real-world skills and adaptability, equipping students for the diverse opportunities they might encounter.

In today’s digital age, Mayank Singh, Co-founder of Campus 365, emphasizes the significance of digital readiness. He stresses that “digital literacy and the willingness to adopt technology by educational institutions are crucial in today’s fast-changing job market.” His perspective highlights the importance of bridging the digital divide and ensuring students are not only technologically adept but also agile in the face of technological advancements.

Mamta Shekhawat, Founder of Gradding.com, sheds light on an often-overlooked aspect of education: understanding the job market itself. She believes that “by learning about the job market, students can adjust to developing technology and develop more productive skills.” Her insight emphasizes the importance of students being cognizant of the evolving landscape they are about to step into. Education needs to promote lifelong learning and career guidance, that help students to adapt and grow in a changing environment, she says.

Ms. Shaina Ganapathy, Head of Community Outreach, Embassy Group said, “The education system should facilitate students’ understanding of what’s out there, both through exposure to the diverse array of industries and in understanding the kinds of skills required. Programmes should be put in place to help students gauge their strengths, weaknesses, and interests while mapping them to the industries in the existing job market. Furthermore, technological education and computer skills, including programming and data analysis, are essential to preparing students for the digital age.”

To prepare high school students for tomorrow’s thriving job market, the education system needs to undergo a fundamental transformation. It needs to shift from a rigid and rote-based curriculum to a flexible and learner-centred one, that fosters creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. Addressing the need for a lifelong learning mindset, Prof. (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy, Founding Vice-Chancellor of RV University, asserts that “we must teach students how to learn rather than what to learn.” His words underscore the significance of instilling not just knowledge, but the ability to adapt and continuously educate oneself in the face of constant change.

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Pratibha Sharma, Academic Director of Bhai Parmanand Vidya Mandir, champions a holistic approach to education. She believes that “the evolving job market demands a transformation in education. It is not merely about imparting specific skills; it is about instilling a mindset of lifelong learning.” Her perspective emphasizes the importance of nurturing curiosity, creativity, and adaptability in students, essential traits in the ever-changing professional world.

Ms. Aparna Prasad, Founder of Knowledgeum, points toward the future. She asserts that “embracing industry and technological advancements, coupled with dynamic and future-oriented approaches to education, is the way forward.” Her view emphasizes the need to expose students to emerging fields, preparing them for careers in areas like artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and cybersecurity.

Dr. Bishnu Pal, Dean of School of Engineering and Academics at Mahindra University, underscores the qualities demanded in the contemporary job market. He believes that “the booming job market demands individuals who can innovate, collaborate, and lead from the front with integrity.” His perspective accentuates the importance of nurturing qualities like innovation and ethical leadership in students.

Practical experience is paramount, as Mr. Patriek Karayil, President of American Colleges, suggests. He emphasizes that “in today’s high-speed job market, it is crucial for high school students to not only be knowledgeable but also to be shrewd in their academic and geographic choices for the future.” His words underscore the necessity for strategic decisions in education, aligning students’ choices with market demands.

Dr. Kasturi Bose, Strategy Consultant at Somerset English, advocates for experiential learning. “High school education is a crucial life-stage imparting skills to excel in a profession one will enter in the future,” she affirms, emphasizing the practical skills students gain during this period. She vouches for project-based learning, internships, and mentorships, that expose students to real-world problems and solutions.

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In today’s globally competitive world, Abhijit Zaveri, Founder and Director of Career Mosaic, asserts the importance of a broader perspective. He believes that “students must stay informed about current events, geopolitics, and tech innovations to thrive in a globally competitive world.” His words underscore the necessity for students to be well-rounded individuals, informed about the world beyond textbooks.

In India, the education system is facing several challenges, such as low enrolment and retention rates, poor learning outcomes, high teacher-student ratios, inadequate infrastructure and resources, and socio-economic disparities. However, the recent National Education Policy 2020, which aims to overhaul the entire education system, offers a ray of hope.

The policy envisages a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to education, that aligns with the global trends and needs. It proposes to introduce a 5+3+3+4 structure, that covers the age group of 3-18 years, and emphasises on foundational literacy and numeracy, experiential learning, skill development, and vocational education. It also proposes to integrate artificial intelligence, coding, and digital skills into the curriculum, and to create a National Digital Education Architecture, that will enable online and blended learning. According to Mr. Nasir Shaikh, Group CEO, The Lexicon Group of Institutes, Multifit & EduCrack, the Indian education sector is undergoing a transformation. “The Indian education sector is actively reshaping its approach by adapting curricula, prioritizing the development of essential soft skills, fostering valuable industry partnerships, embracing technology, and providing additional industry-relevant certifications,” he states, indicating the sector’s proactive stance in bridging the skills gap.

Meeta Kapoor, Principal of MGM First Steps School, delves into the heart of the matter. She believes that India’s education sector needs to focus on enhancing educational infrastructure, enabling access to quality practical skilling opportunities, and improving curriculum to match the prevailing market trends.

Vyankatesh Kharage, Founder and Director of Asude Foundation, emphasizes the urgency of action. “The time for action is now, as we cannot afford to let the potential of countless students, particularly those facing economic hardships, go untapped and unfulfilled,” he states, indicating the need for inclusive education that addresses the unique challenges faced by economically disadvantaged students.

These diverse voices collectively form a symphony of insights, urging educational institutions, leaders, and policymakers to chart a new course. As we navigate the intricate landscape of tomorrow’s job market, these perspectives illuminate the way, guiding us toward an education system that not only equips students with knowledge but empowers them with the skills and mindset to thrive in an ever-changing world.

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What are your thoughts on preparing high school students for the challenges of the future job market? Share your insights in the comment box below. Let’s continue this crucial conversation together.

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CBSE to Open a New Regional Office in UAE

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On 2nd November 2023 at the Consulate of India, Dubai, Sh. Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Union Minister of Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India, addressed a long-standing demand of the overseas CBSE schools and announced the opening of a new CBSE Regional Office in UAE. This decision would help in streamlining operations and enhancing the teaching learning experience for students and teachers in the CBSE schools in GCC countries. 

Hon’ble Minister interacted with the local Indian community comprising educationists and School Heads from all across UAE. In his address, he stressed on the potential of the Indian Education system and its global reach. He congratulated CBSE and the Indian schools in UAE for their achievements in the field of education and creating a good name for the homeland India. The Minister also motivated the principals to come up with the expectations of the leadership of UAE for further strengthening the Indian educational ecosystem at UAE. 

Sh. Pradhan urged the school leaders to dedicate themselves to the future of the upcoming generation from the Bal Vatika Level, as envisaged in the National Education Policy 2020. 

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Education

Remembering Sardar Patel: Observing Ekta (Unity) in Education

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Statue of Unity | Image Source: Gujarat Tourism

Every year, on October 31, India comes together to observe Ekta Diwas or National Unity Day, a significant occasion that commemorates the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a stalwart in India’s struggle for independence and the nation’s first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister. Born in 1875, Patel’s legacy reverberates through the annals of history, especially for his pivotal role in integrating the princely states and colonial provinces, shaping the modern map of India post its independence from British rule.

In 2014, the Government of India declared this day as National Unity Day, a heartfelt tribute to Sardar Patel’s monumental contributions to the nation’s unity, integrity, and security. This declaration signifies more than just a date on the calendar; it embodies the collective strength and resilience of India against internal and external threats.

The celebrations on National Unity Day are vibrant and diverse, reflecting the essence of India’s rich cultural tapestry. Various activities, such as runs for unity, pledge-taking ceremonies, cultural programs, debates, quizzes, essay competitions, and exhibitions about Sardar Patel’s life, mark the day. The focal point of these celebrations is the Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue standing at 182 meters (597 feet), dedicated to Sardar Patel. This colossal statue, situated near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river in Gujarat, Sardar Patel’s home state, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018.

National Unity Day is not merely a ritual; it is a day of inspiration. It urges the citizens of India to emulate Sardar Patel’s ideals of unity, patriotism, and selfless service. Beyond that, it serves as a reminder, urging the nation to recall the sacrifices and struggles of the freedom fighters who toiled for India’s independence and integration. It is a day to cherish India’s diversity, a unique feature of its culture and identity, and a day to recommit ourselves to preserving the unity, integrity, and sovereignty of our nation.

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This day is a call to action, reminding every Indian of their duty towards their motherland. It instills a sense of national pride, fostering a spirit of belonging among the citizens. National Unity Day promotes harmony and brotherhood, serving as a beacon of India’s secular and democratic values enshrined in its Constitution. It strengthens our resolve, reminding us that as a united nation, we can face any challenge that comes our way.

National Unity Day stands as a testament to India’s unity in diversity. It is not just a tribute to Sardar Patel; it is a celebration of his legacy, a legacy that unites the hearts of every Indian. On this day, we salute him not just as a leader but as an icon of national unity, reminding us of the strength we possess when we stand together as one, undivided nation.

As we observe National Unity Day, let us reflect on Sardar Patel’s wisdom and vision. Let us embrace the diversity that defines us and work hand in hand to build a stronger, more united India for the generations to come.

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Education

Ramayana as a Literary Masterpiece: Analyzing Its Profound Impact on Indian Literature and Curriculum

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The Ramayana, an epic saga that unfolds the life and adventures of Prince Ram, is not just a story; it’s a cornerstone of Indian culture and spirituality. This revered scripture, attributed to the brilliant mind of Valmiki, goes beyond being a mere narrative. It is a reservoir of moral teachings, spiritual wisdom, and timeless ideals that continue to resonate with millions of people across the globe.

The Literary Marvel of Ramayana:

Valmiki’s poetic brilliance shines through the nearly 24,000 verses of the Ramayana, composed in the eloquent Shloka or Anustubh metre. Divided into seven Kandas or books, it intricately weaves a rich tapestry of characters, dialogues, and allegories. Within these verses lie not just a story but profound life lessons, making it a literary masterpiece that transcends time and culture.

Beyond its literary eminence, the Ramayana has inspired countless artistic expressions. From classical Indian dance dramas to intricate temple carvings, the characters of Ram, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman have been immortalized in various art forms. The epic’s narrative depth has provided fodder for filmmakers, writers, painters, and performers, ensuring its legacy lives on through diverse mediums.

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The Ramayana isn’t confined to the realms of literature and art; its influence permeates the socio-political fabric of India. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, drew inspiration from Ram’s unwavering devotion and adherence to truth for his non-violent struggle against British colonialism. The concept of Ram Rajya, an ideal state envisioned by Ram, has been invoked by leaders as a blueprint for just governance and societal harmony.

Ramayana in Educational Landscape:

In the educational landscape, the Ramayana is not just a story but a holistic lesson. It’s a historical document, a linguistic treasure, and a moral guide. In schools and Gurukuls across India, students delve into its verses to understand the complexities of morality, dharma (righteousness), and the human psyche. The epic serves as a foundation for cultural knowledge, fostering a deep sense of identity and pride among the youth.

The Ramayana, as a cultural phenomenon, has transcended linguistic and geographical boundaries. Over 300 versions of the epic exist, each adding a unique cultural hue to the narrative. Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas in Hindi, Kamban’s Kambaramayanam in Tamil, and Madhava Kandali’s Saptakanda Ramayana in Assamese are testaments to its adaptability across languages and cultures.

Beyond its cultural significance, the Ramayana has piqued the interest of scholars worldwide. Scientific investigations into its astronomical references, geographical locations, and historical context have added layers of understanding. The epic has become a subject of rigorous analysis, contributing to the interdisciplinary dialogue between literature, history, and science.

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Shailesh Prithani, Founder & CEO, Jumbaya writes about Ramayan’s impact on children. He says, “Ever since we can remember, our parents and grandparents have tried to get us interested in the Ramayana. They’d tell us its stories or sit us down to watch TV adaptations. Today, I completely understand why they emphasised this literary masterpiece so much. The Ramayana, believed to be written by Maharishi Valmiki around the 5th century BCE, holds a distinguished place as one of the most ancient historical documents in the Indian subcontinent. Through this narrative, Valmiki imparts the life of Lord Rama, the noble prince of Ayodhya, to his sons Lav and Kush. Beyond being a mere story, the Ramayana is a profound source of life lessons, with themes of virtue, duty, and the eternal triumph of good over evil. Its influence continues to inspire people from all walks of life.  I’ve particularly gleaned invaluable lessons on facing obstacles headfirst and maintaining calm in the face of adversity. These teachings are especially pertinent for today’s children.

I firmly believe that children need more than just language, maths, and science lessons. While these subjects are undeniably vital, they form only part of the broader education required. Children should also learn about society, morality, emotions, and everything that shapes them into well-rounded individuals. And what better way than the Ramayana? This epic conveys every emotion & virtue in the right proportions – love, hatred, jealousy, friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, selflessness, righteousness, respect, courage, acceptance, forgiveness, and much more.

Indeed, our society’s civility isn’t just about how we behave outwardly; it’s about our culture, our inner thoughts, knowledge, and ethics. In simple terms, our culture defines our behaviour. The Ramayana has played a vital role in developing the identity of human civilization and will always be a guiding light for morality and ethical living.

This profound essence is beautifully captured in the Sanskrit verse:

यावत्सथासयनतनरयःनरतशचमहीतले।तावत्रामायणकथालोकेषुप् रचनरयनत।

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This means that- Till there is a hill or mountain on earth, Ramayana will be.”

In essence, the Ramayana stands not just as an epic tale but as a testament to the enduring power of literature to shape minds and societies. Its influence, both profound and far-reaching, continues to weave its magic, bridging the past and the present, making it a timeless beacon of wisdom and cultural heritage. With every generation, its legacy lives on, ensuring that the tale of Ram remains etched in the hearts and minds of humanity.

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