President Pranab Mukherjee said that there was a need to propagate the use of technology in dispensation of education, adding that education programmes must be driven by the three E’s of expansion, equity and excellence.
“There is (a) need to propagate technology use in the dispensation of education. A fast digitalizing world holds scope to usher in sweeping changes in pedagogy and teaching-learning structures. Our efforts in harnessing new technology are at a nascent stage. We cannot afford to lose time. We have to leverage our advanced technological institutions and leadership position in IT,” he said.
The president was speaking at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first education minister, at Vigyan Bhavan here.
Adding that education that can lead to the “trinity of progress”, he said that universal coverage by education should be complemented by universal high standards in education.
“Our education programmes must be driven by the three E’s of expansion, equity and excellence. We must establish norms and performance benchmarks for learning processes and outcomes and strictly enforce them across all schools.
On the occasion, Mukherjee launched the All India Council of Technical Education’s (AICTE) “Know Your College Portal” – aimed at helping students make informed choices regarding colleges across the nation; and the website of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan – aimed at developing technologies for development of rural India.
The programme also witnessed the launch of two scholarship schemes – Saksham and Pragati, which is aimed at providing assistance for advancement of girls in technical education and providing encouragement and support to specially-abled children to pursue technical education, respectively.
A skills credit framework developed by AICTE, called Skill Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth (SAMVAY) was released by Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on the occasion.
The president also said that the “wedge” between digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ should be removed.
“Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which seeks to bridge the digital divide through computer education, should look for inter-linkages with the ‘Digital India’ programme that envisages provision of digital infrastructure to create a digitally-empowered knowledge society,” he said.
Mukherjee added that a profound objective of education is “transformation of the individual and the nation” as he noted that India has the largest young population in the world.
“It poses both a challenge and an opportunity to our policymakers to harness the youth power productively by equipping them with relevant knowledge and skills. Modern education promotes a spirit of competitiveness and utilitarianism. But it should never lead to creation of a generation that turns a blind eye to the problems afflicting the society. The youth should be pro-active participants in nation-building,” he said.
He added that the onus is on them to find solutions to burning problems in sanitation, drinking water, energy, accessibility to remote areas, public health and so on.
Speaking at the event, Irani said that all the initiatives by the ministry are taken to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of inclusive development.
“Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan will connect our institutions of higher education develop technical solutions to address challenges in rural India,” she said about the initiative.
Irani also said that hopefully from next academic session all central universities will implement credit transfer scheme to facilitate seamless movement of students.
Satyanarayan Mohanty, secretary department of higher education, said all the schemes were for “quality expansion and equity in education.”