Anand Jacob Verghese, Director & CEO, Hindustan Group of Institutions, speaks about the importance of improving teaching-learning experience at higher educational institutions...
Q. What regulatory changes are needed in the Indian education system?
A. We realize that there is a huge gap between the marks secured by the student in 12th Boards and the actual intelligence of the said student. The academic foundation of a child is laid in the fourteen years spent in school. It is essential that the entire teaching-learning and evaluation process be overhauled, so that real learning takes place and not the rote learning encouraged in many schools.
At this point, I would like to emphasize that the teaching-learning process will not change unless the evaluation process changes.
We need to move away from the pass percentage driven method of evaluating schools as well. Once the student comes into college or university, it is essential to have an application-driven and outcome-based curriculum. Institutions should be given the flexibility to frame their own curriculum, which can offer the best combination of advanced technical skills as well as value-based holistic development.
Q. How do you look at the challenge of job availability for over a million entering into the higher education sector every year?
A. The issue is not the lack of jobs as much as the lack of appropriate skills. The situation is crucial now where there is wide spread concern regarding the advent of Artificial Intelligence making many jobs redundant. The same concern was there at the time of Industrial Revolution, when computers entered the scene. What we should realize is that when one set of job is lost, another is created and it is up to the educational institutions to ensure that they equip their students with those skills.
Q. How prepared are our universities to offer future skills and inculcate entrepreneurial outlook?
A. Any top-ranking university has to introduce new courses, new value added programmes, and new electives keeping the global scenario in mind. Technology at the centre of learning is the new mantra and more recently online education is the trend which will complement the classroom-based learning.
Q. It is felt that the government is shying away from helping private institutions. How true is this?
A. It is understandable that the public institutions are given priority. Also, a lot of research is happening in private institutions and needs to be encouraged. In this context, I must say that in our institutions we have a number of funded projects that is enabling us to pursue serious research. So, a process is in place where private institutions can apply and receive funds based on the merit of the proposal. There are plenty of opportunities for industries to fund research at such private universities, establish centres of excellence and find eco-friendly solutions for industry related issues.