Panel consisting of eminent professors and industrialist.
Prof Kanti Bajaj said that there are 3 common grounds, in his opinion, which make it reasonable for an India-ASEAN cooperation in education, to be considered a good possibility.
- Both are open societies by and large
- Both are at similar economic levels and thus face similar challenges in their economy
- Both have a young and aspirational society with many being below the age of 30 years.
Areas of possible cooperation for promoting good governance, include the following he said:
- Digitisation and Technology
- Social Integration
- Service Delivery
Prof Kanti Bajaj did create a buzz among the audience when he stated that India considers itself too big to learn from the smaller ASEAN nations. He added that ASEAN in turn is approaching the Western countries and East Asia for help instead of seeking India’s assistance.
Prof BVR Chowdari spoke of the need for a change from ‘career for life’ to a ‘lifetime of careers’. He went on to speak about how continuous learning can help one reskill throughout life. Learning can occur outside the classroom through work experience and travel he noted.
Prof Dipak Jain said that the ‘future of competition is collaboration’. A ‘cross pollination’ where ideas, research and results are shared between India and ASEAN. He said that joint research centers could be set up with every country focusing on its strength and then sharing it with the rest.
Mr. Rakesh Mittal spoke about creating a higher education ‘eco system’ where academia matches industry needs. There are constant technological disruptions with major ones every five years or so he noted. So there should be a major shift in education too. He added that ‘Institutes of Eminence’ would provide free education to the economically less privileged.
Dr. N. Varaprasad
Excellence in school, from even before Grade 1, should precede excellence in higher education he stated. The demographic dividend of a young population in a sharing economy can also lead to joblessness, he cautioned. Skills for the 21st century keep shifting because demands keep changing he concluded.
The Q & A session brought up issues such as ‘ Work as you study’ schemes, ‘Silver Tsunami’ & reskilling of older workers in Singapore as well as how – increasing globalisation versus rising nationalism – could be handled.
All in all, it was a very interesting panel discussion attended by a large audience.