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NICOM 2014: NES Seminar at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar

On 10th and 11th January, 2014, the Government of Gujarat (Education Department) organised the National Education Summit in association with Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat. As part of the Nirma International Conference on Management (NICOM 2014), a seminar and panel discussion cum paper presentation was organized by Institute of Management, Nirma University. The seminar was held at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar on 10th January, 2013 and the panel discussion was held at the institute on 11th January, 2014. The key speakers at the seminar were Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Shri Vinod Rai, Dr Jagdish Sheth, Dr Joseph Shevel and Dr Frank Linnehan. The main objective of the seminar was to deliberate upon the current status of management education in India and its relevance in the wake of the changing global scenario. The session was chaired by Dr Anup Singh – Director General, Nirma University.

In his introductory address, Dr Anup Singh noted the increasing focus on personality development and the practical side of theory subjects in today’s world. He said that the future of pedagogical learning belongs to action based learning. In this regard, Institute of Management has taken a step forward through its course in Managing Social Projects where students are required to visit the villages, take stock of the ground situation and design solutions based on their observations. Learning reinforcement has to occur through the use of study groups, internet resources and the co-operation between faculty and students.

In the first address, Minister of Education, Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasama spoke about the progress made in the state of Gujarat in the field of education. The present Summit on Education is one among the series of summits that the Government of Gujarat organises every year as part of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The idea behind the summit is to have leading domestic and international experts on a topic together at a place where they discuss the concerns and issues in the particular field and come to a conclusion. These are then distilled further to the stakeholder on the ground for application.

Dr Jagdish Sheth – Charles H Kellstadt Professor, Goizueta Business School, Emory University, USA – spoke on the topic of repositioning India’s management education. He noted that the half life of knowledge is decreasing rapidly. For software developers, the half life is 2 years whereas for management students, the half life is only 18 months. This means that by the time a management student graduates from his/her institute, the knowledge that he acquired a year back is already obsolete. In today’s competitive scenario, the main differentiator between nations is human capital. Indians have already proved themselves outside India in a variety of fields, it is about time that they should prove themselves in India. To do this, they need quality education. But, today because of a burgeoning number of institutes of questionable quality, there is a mismatch between demand and supply of quality education. He suggested four changes to management education. First, both faculty and student have to be involved in the creation of knowledge. Second, it is not enough to have only domestic accreditation of institutes. Institutes should try and seek international accreditation. Thirdly, both students and teachers have to focus on the three “I”s of education – Interactivity, Individualism and Integration. Fourthly, students should develop a global mindset by active participation in case studies and action learning.

Addressing the audience, Shri Vinod Rai – Former CAG and current chairman of UN panel of External Auditors – said that the ultimate goal of an institute was to enable free flow of knowledge and enhancement of knowledge. The government on its part should incubate such institutes. The academic and intellectual integrity of students as well as the academicians is also very important. He highlighted the five issues that will impact the governance of public educational institutes – autonomy of the operations, democratisation of decision making, regulations, accountability and access to education. Unfortunately, in India, the process of regulation is started from day one which stymies the growth of the institute. Instead, the institutes should be given considerable amount of autonomy till it reaches a certain stage of growth. If the country has to progress, every endeavour has to be made to innovate and provide access to quality education.

Dr Joseph Shevel – President, Galilee International Management Institute, Israel, stressed that the only way to improve management education further is to internationalise it. This can occur in two ways: by increasing partnerships with international institutes from across the world and by inviting students from other countries to India and thus increasing the diversity of education. He marvelled at the fact that Indians constituted a major chunk of students at US but the inflow of students from India’s neighbours into India was very low. He pointed out that India had a major opportunity here of developing as a major hub. Here, Gujarat, because of its economic status and relative prosperity could become the education hub of the region by promoting quality education. He explained all of these by showing examples of US, France and Canada. He also showed how Galilee Institute is taking steps towards the internationalisation of education by promoting partnerships with European and African countries.

Dr Frank Linnehan – Professor of Management, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University, USA, spoke about the challenges faced by the educations sector in USA. He also spoke on what should be the role of the government in the field of education.

Concluding the seminar, Dr Anup Singh gave two observations – unless we add value to the stakeholders, we will be in serious trouble, we have to consistently keep improving value that has been thus added.

(Content Courtesy: Media Committee)

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