The Vice President advocates for gender studies in educational institutions

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today advocated for including gender studies in the educational institutions so that children learn to respect and become sensitive towards people of all genders from an early age.

Inaugurating the FICCI  ARISE Conference on School Education here today, he called for value based education and said that education is not just for employment but also for empowerment and enlightenment of individuals and the society. He stressed upon inculcating values such as patience, honesty, respect, tolerance and empathy in the students.

Shri Naidu appreciated the increase in the capacity of India’s higher education sector in the last two decades, but expressed concerns over the reports pointing out a decline in employability of our graduates.

In this regard, he called for reforming our teaching and training systems to improve learning outcomes.

“Globally, there is a dramatic change in the way teachers are teaching and learners are assimilating knowledge”, he said and highlighted the need to move away from rote learning and to focus on analytical and critical thinking abilities among students.

“The new wave of technologies has transformed our industry and society in an unprecedented manner”, the Vice President said and stressed that “the skills needed for future workforce will be totally different”.

He called upon the schools and universities to prepare and educate young Indians for these future challenges posed by technologies.

“We will have to train our youngsters to be experts in Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data so that they may spearhead the 4th Industrial Revolution in our country’, he said.

Shri Naidu expressed concern that there is a great void in the market because we gain knowledge in academic institutions and not the skills required for jobs.

As a result, Indian corporate and educational space is witnessing huge investment of time and money in skill training, talent acquisition and retention to address the dearth of skilled workforce.

The Vice President also called the entrepreneurship education and training as very important so that we may empower young people to be the job creators of the future and not just job seekers.

He appreciated several government initiatives in this regard, such as Atal Innovation Mission under which Atal Tinkering Labs have been set up in schools.

Shri Naidu called for special attention towards the children who are at greater risk of dropping out of schools such as- girl children, orphans, child-laborers, street children and victims of riots and natural disasters.

“It should be our top priority to bring such ‘out-of-school’ children back to schools”, he said.

We must raise a generation of young people who will not only make India a powerful economy but will also secure a position for it among the most inclusive, innovative and harmonious societies of the world, VP said.

The theme for this year’s FICCI ARISE Conference is ‘Future Ready Learners and Schools’. The Conference is expected to witness participation of more than 700 delegates including state and central government officials, regulators, prominent educators, think tanks, consulting firms and institutions from across India and the world.

Shri Sandip Somany, President, FICCI, Shri Naga Prasad Tummala, Chairman, FICCI ARISE & Chairman, People Combine Initiatives, Shri Shishir Jaipuria, Governing Body Member, FICCI ARISE, Shri Prabhat Jain, Founding Chairman, FICCI ARISE, Shri Manit Jain, Co-Chairman, FICCI ARISE and Shri Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.

Following is the full text of the speech –

“I am delighted to be here today with all of you at the inauguration of the Conference for school education and nation building, being organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). I am very happy to know that this year’s conference will focus on the theme ‘Future Ready Learners and Schools’.

The topic is quite pertinent, because of the transformation that the education sector is currently witnessing. There is a paradigm shift in education today as new technologies are impacting the economy and society. 

I am glad to note that the conference aims to deliberate on drawing a visionary roadmap and evolving a new model of schooling, powered by innovation, inclusivity, autonomy and concern for sustainability, to help us adapt to this rapid and unprecedented disruption.

It is truly noteworthy that the conference will witness participation of more than 700 delegates including state and central government officials, regulators, prominent educators, think tanks, consulting firms and institutions from across India and the world.

I am sure that the Conference will bring to the fore, solutions through which K-12 sector can work along with the government to make a definitive, positive difference in our education sector.

My dear sisters and brothers,

In the last two decades, India has firmly established itself on the global landscape in many fields including education.

Fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong and stable and we are well on the path to development.

As a nation of young people, India has been bestowed with an enormous demographic advantage – out of a population of more than 1.25 billion, 672 million i.e. almost 50% are in the age-group 15 to 59 years.

The government’s focus on flagship programs such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Start-Up India’, has clearly articulated India’s aspiration to be a global leader in the near future with its tremendous youth population as the main drivers of growth.

By 2030, the number of school-going children in the age group of 4 – 17 years is estimated to be 300 million. 140 million young people in the in the age group of 18-23 years are all set to be enrolled in colleges and universities by 2030.

At this critical juncture, we must ask ourselves, are our schools and universities adequately prepared to educate young people for future challenges?

As per the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, 104.62 Million fresh entrants to the work force are required to be skilled by 2022.

Thanks to the Right to Education Act, we have successfully increased the enrolment in schools.

We have also witnessed a rise in the number of students who complete schooling. But we must not forget that 62 million children of school-going age, between 6 and 18 years were out-of-school in 2015.

We have also still have not been able to improve learning outcomes to the extent desired.

Though India has seen a dramatic increase in the capacity of its higher education sector in the last two decades, reports point out a decline in the employability of our graduates, which is a cause for great concern.

The solution to these problems lies in creating an education system that is built on the pillars of access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability and focuses on the creation of essential skills and the inculcation of values in our youngsters.

It should be our top priority of the country to bring out-of-school children back to schools.

We must take particular care in ensuring that girl children and groups of children who are deemed to be ‘at risk’, such as orphans, child-laborers, street children and victims of riots and natural disasters, must be brought into the fold of formal education system.

We must also re-imagine and re-invent our teaching, training systems to improve learning outcomes.

Globally, there is a dramatic change in the way teachers are teaching and learners are assimilating knowledge. We must constantly innovate when it comes to instruction and provide both context and content to learners so that they move away from rote learning and start critically analyzing and absorbing what is being taught. 

Along with universalization of primary education and augmentation of literacy rates, we must also improve    access and quality at all levels of education, increase funding in higher education, augment Infrastructure and professionalize management.

My dear sisters and brothers,

As the country transitions to a knowledge-based economy, participation of the educators to promote quality school education and innovation assumes great significance.

To emerge as a dominant economy in the world, India must endeavor to develop a high-quality education system that produces workforce with ‘new age’ skills. 

The government is endeavoring to focus on providing a robust and resilient framework for education, up-skilling our youth and firmly putting in place an establishment which promotes R&D, bolsters quality and fosters an environment which is conducive to innovation.

It has also taken several key initiatives to bring education in India at par with global standards.

The Draft National Education Policy 2019 aims to transform India sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing high-quality education to all. It sets the stage for the next generation of reforms by extending the Right to Education act by including pre-primary and secondary education within its purview.

With the objective to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12, an Integrated Scheme for School Education (Samagra Shiksha) has also been prepared by subsuming Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).

In order to promote research, innovation & entrepreneurship, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has selected 3,000 additional schools for the establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs), bringing the total number of ATL schools to over 5400. The selected schools shall receive a grant of Rs 20 lakh spread over the next five years to establish Atal Tinkering Labs for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurial spirit among secondary school children across India.

I am happy to know that our education sector has been embracing the many possibilities of Information Technology through initiatives like NCERT’s e-resource centre ‘e-pathshala’ and CBSE’s Decision Support System ‘Saransh’.

The new wave of technologies and digitization has transformed our industry in an unprecedented manner.

As a result, the skills set needed for the future workforce in a world of disruptive technologies will be totally different.

Indian corporate and educational space is witnessing huge investment of time and money in skill training, talent acquisition and retention to address the dearth of skilled workforce. There is a great void in the market because we gain knowledge in academic institutions and not the skills required for jobs.

To fill this void, the government and the Indian industry is now implementing up-skilling and re-skilling training along with academic learning through advanced technology interventions.

We will have to train our youngsters to be experts in Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data so that they may spearhead the 4th Industrial Revolution in our country.

Entrepreneurship education and training is also necessary so that we may empower young people to be the job creators of the future and not just job seekers.

My dear sisters and brothers,

Though we speak of the need to educate and skill youngsters to make them employable, I strongly believe that education is not just for employment but also for empowerment and enlightenment.

Swami Vivekananda once said that “education is the manifestation of perfection already in man”.

Education is meaningful only if it is able to bring out the best in every person and make them more compassionate human beings.

The need of the hour is to impart value based education.

The stress should be on inculcating values such as patience, honesty, respect, tolerance and empathy.

The youngsters need not only to be taught how to develop their skills, talents, and abilities, they must also be taught how to use these skills, talents and abilities for the welfare and betterment of the world.

They must be taught to love nature and live in harmony with all living beings. We must nurture in them a zeal to protect and conserve the environment right from a young age.

Children must also be sensitized to our rich cultural heritage and must be encouraged to pick up as many languages and practice as many art forms as they can.

I would especially advocate for gender studies in our educational institutions so that children learn to respect and be sensitive towards people of all genders.

We must dispel prejudices from their young minds and encourage them to be open and be brave enough to question the absurd and to reject the irrational.

We must raise a generation of young people who will not only make India a powerful economy but will also secure a position for it among the most inclusive, innovative and harmonious societies of the world.

I congratulate FICCI ARISE for its tremendous contribution towards catalyzing both Government and Private efforts and facilitating the delivery of quality education in the schools.

I am hopeful that the Conference will witness informed debates and open discussions and will serve as a platform for exchange of knowledge, information and experiences, leading to the synthesis of creative solutions to persistent challenges.

Thank You!

Jai Hind!”

VRRK/MS/MSY/RK