Education Interview 2016-09-30

How Amity is transforming higher education by bringing competency-based education

In my opinion the Government should immediately merge traditional and vocational education. Keeping them separately is doing more harm than good.

How Amity is transforming higher education by bringing competency-based education

With 700 universities and more than 35,000 affiliated colleges enrolling more than 20 million students, Indian higher education is a large and complex system. India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world. However, skill/competency based education is a sector which is not given the attention it deserves.

Skills based education is marred by multiple access barriers like limited infrastructure facilities, quality of training, rigid entry requirements, lack of financial support, and negative perceptions. These shortcomings exist more for the disadvantaged, especially women and rural communities. Developing our human resources reservoir that not only feeds to the domestic market but also the global workforce and labour crunch is the urgent growth imperative. Indian workforce needs to be trained across the four levels, from White Collar to the Rust Collar workers linking them to job opportunities and market realities. Talking on the same, Ashok K Srivastava, Vice President - Competency based Education, Amity University, tells us how Indian parents still look down upon at skill based education and why a change needs to be brought about for rapid development.

What is the USP of Amity University?

Amity is a research and innovation driven University and it has filed so far 470 patents.

How is Amity University bringing about a change in the education industry in India?

Amity research finds that 761 Universities of India including more than 49,000 colleges are producing approximately 37 lakhs Graduates and Post graduates every year but their employability is below 27 per cent, which is not sustainable. Education in India was mostly theory based and it did not integrate the skills to apply the knowledge. Presently Government of India is overemphasising on skills but forgetting to provide knowledge. Both these situations are not sustainable in the long run. Therefore, Amity researched education system of all the developed countries and thought to implement and innovate the education system, and we call it “Competency based Education System”. This system incorporates the knowledge, the skill to apply the knowledge and also creates the right type of attitude amongst the students.

Amity also collaborated with world class professional bodies like RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), Apex industry bodies like CII and most trusted industry leaders like TATA to implement competency based education system in the country and improve employability of the students to a very high level. We are getting great success in this system and we feel it has the potential to transform the education system.

What is Amity doing in the area of skill development?

Skill should not be looked at in isolation. It is the same type of blunder when we looked at knowledge in isolation. We find that relevant knowledge and skill to apply the knowledge both are essential parts of the same coin to develop the employability of the students.

What are the gaps in the area of skill development to be filled in India?

India is still looking at skill development in isolation, which is not correct. The industries are moving towards greater and greater automation, machines are becoming intelligent, cities are becoming smart, cars are becoming self-driving. In such a situation higher level of relevant knowledge and higher level of application of skills is required. Therefore, we have entered into an era of competency based education. Talking only about delivery of knowledge and delivery of skills in isolation is not sustainable in my opinion.

Many educational institutions are benefitting from expansion via franchising? What is your opinion on franchising?

Franchising is a good way of doing business but in certain areas government did not allow it. We, being a private University, which is working under State Act till date, are not eligible for Franchisee model , but looking at the expansion of internet and boundary-less flow of knowledge and skills, I personally feel franchising is a good system and should be implemented into education.

How can we change the way India looks at vocational education?

Indian population is highly aspirational. Parents still feel their children should be either an Engineer or a Doctor. In this type of mind-set vocational education is looked down upon. The Government needs to change the perception and they are trying to do that.

Elaborate the role of technology and Edtech in vocational and skills training.

Disruptive technologies are changing the way education is imparted amongst the students. I personally feel that very soon, we are going to have a hybrid model where knowledge will be online while skill to apply knowledge will be Laboratories/Shop-floor based.

What is the role of government in helping educational institutions in promoting and providing vocational education?

In my opinion the Government should immediately merge traditional and vocational education. Keeping them separately is doing more harm than good.

Share some details about your tie-ups with corporates for on-the-job training.

Amity has done major tie-ups with following bodies:

1. RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), working in 148 countries

2. CII for Logistics and Supply Chain sector

3. Tata technologies for B.Tech in Automobile, Aerospace and Industry Heavy Machinery

These tie-ups not only help us with skill training but also help us in placement of students.

What is the role of these collaborations in skill development?

Above collaborations have been developed on true partnership basis, where relevant skill is provided by the partners based on shop-floor experience.

Where do you see India’s education sector in the next 5 years? Where do you see Amity University in the next 5 years.

Disruptive technologies are changing every sector extremely fast and education will not be an exception. Brick & Mortar Campuses will give way to Virtual Campuses and more online education. However, I find that a hybrid mode of education will be more prevalent where knowledge will be provided online while skill to apply knowledge will happen in specialised Laboratories called competency centres and shop-floor.

Thus, competency based skill education should be intertwined with the other academic courses and made an internal part of every institution as delivery of knowledge and delivery of skills in isolation is not sustainable.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above interview are A K Srivastava’s personal opinion.

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