21 Aug 2020 18:14 IST

India soon to become education capital of the world: Assocham Chief

Niranjan Hiranandani discusses the introduction of the second cluster university in Mumbai

The year 2020 has significantly changed the face of education in India. The schools and colleges have gone digital while the students have opted for remote learning methods owing to the ongoing pandemic.

Recently, the second cluster university under the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate (HSNC) Board in South Mumbai also got the government approval. This comes in synch with the new education policy which has been announced by the Centre after 34 years. In an interview with BLonCampus, Niranjan Hiranandani, Founder of the Hiranandani Group, President of Assocham and NAREDCO, and Provost of HSNC University, talks about his visions for the second cluster university and the education system in India. Excerpts from an interview:

What are the changes you intend to bring in after the introduction of the second cluster university inaugurated by CM Udhav Thackeray?

There are many initiatives that we are planning to take. The three colleges in the second cluster are highly prestigious colleges in Mumbai. And, the cluster will indeed help in the acquisition of new skill sets in students. We have revised the entire syllabus in order to suit the position of the marketplace.

We have incorporated skill sets that are not put into a business line but are essential for the growth of the students. This includes public speaking, negotiation skills, and so on.

This will also ensure that students are not strait-jacketed into a particular subject or line. There should be flexibility and a multidisciplinary approach to various subjects. We have also incorporated the credit-based system. This will help us see the overall position of a person at the end of the year. Students can pick up different subjects in order to complete the credits.

How will the reforms made in the education policy impact the second cluster university?

Our initiatives are in sync with the national education policy. And we're very happy that the new education policy actually subscribes to the same.

How do you think the incorporation of skill-based learning will help students at a time when the economy is crippled and 41 lakh youth in the country lost jobs due to the Covid-19?

The new system will help in getting skills, rather than just being subject-oriented. One can pick up so many things. By getting more skills, you will able to contribute more to your work environment and secure your jobs.

How will it affect the socially and economically disadvantaged groups since they are scantily mentioned in the new reforms?

I think this will benefit them the most. They would be able to simultaneously learn and work and get a chance to apply their new skills.

Do you think the policies will fall flat if we do not have teachers equipped with a required set of knowledge on various subjects that have recently been introduced?

We are re-skilling our teachers under the new initiative. Teachers are being re-skilled in our online training module. We got all our 2,000 teachers and non-teaching staff now skilled to teach 45,000 students online.

Do you think India could be the hub of education a few years down the line?

That is what I'm hoping for. There was a time when Nalanda was the hub of education in 5-6 century AD. India was actually the education capital of the world. That is going to be brought back soon.

Do you think this will make Indian students stay in the country rather pursuing education abroad?

Our main focus is to not only make Indian students stay but also drive foreign students to come to India to study.