Lacklustre opening to the 3-day FICCI Higher Education Summit 2017

The13th FICCI Higher Education Summit 2017, a Global Conference and Exhibition on education happening annually for the last several years opened to a thin attendance in Greater Noida, a satellite city of Delhi. The shifting of venue outside Delhi perhaps robbed the event of the presence of high profile ministerial and other VIPs  in opening plenary even though organizers had secured a few video messages from union ministers, Prakash Javadekar (HRD) and Suresh Prabhu (Commerce).

Organized at the Greater Noida Expo Mart (centre), the conference also suffered from poor sound proofing of conference halls which impact audio quality and added to the poor showing at the event on day one. Nevertheless, the organizers put a brave front and released a few research papers on higher education. FICCI-EY report ‘Leapfrogging to Education 4.0: Student at the Core’ and FICCI Report on Social Outreach in Higher Education to be exact.

This year 67 countries, 1000 delegates of which more than 247 are foreign delegates predominantly from Africa, SAARC, Middle East, CIS, Finland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia, USA, etc. are participating at  the summit.

Representing Finland, the Partner Country, participating in the summit with a 15-member delegation,  Nina Vaskunlahti, Ambassador of Finland to India, said that Finland’s education system stands on four pillars of equality, efficiency, quality and internationalism. Finland’s education system is rated among the best in the world and the country would be forthcoming in sharing its knowledge, technology and best practices in the education domain with India.

In his theme Address, Prof (Dr) Rajan Saxena, Chair-FICCI HE Committee & VC, NMIMS University, said that the student is the epicenter in Education 4.0 which is giving way to personalized learning with the  use of collaborative technology. Education institutions and regulatory framework have to embrace 4.0 technologies and processes. Besides, flexible regulatory framework and academic, financial and administrative autonomy are imperative for higher education going forward. This year FICCI is signing a MoU with AICTE to take the agenda of Education 4. 0 ahead.

Prof Vinod Bhat, Co chair, FICCI Higher Education Summit, the emphasishas been on teaching and not on learning which needs to change in India.  The education sector is undergoing disruptive changes with the advent  of new pedagogy, assessment systems and delivery of knowledge. Therefore, there is a need to focus on learning which is outcome and result-oriented.

Dr Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI, said that better education would facilitate in creating a better talent pool for industry. Thus, there is a need to create an enabling atmosphere where the government, academia and industry could work in tandem and create synergies to take  Education 4.0. forward.

Sangeeta Godbole, Director General, Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC), said that SEPC would bridge the gap between academia and industry while pushing for greater autonomy in the education sector, policy reforms and internationalization of education.