Q. Sir, under your able leadership, E-learning in the country is currently thriving by turning adversity into opportunity. We, at AsiaOne, appreciate the fact that for promoting innovation in the online education ecosystem in India you recently launched a week long ‘Bharat Padhe Online’ campaign for crowdsourcing of ideas from some of the best brains in India to overcome constraints of online education while promoting the available digital education platforms and reviewed the suggestions personally. Please share some insights on the success of this campaign.
A. The unprecedented crises of COVID-19 have led to a paradigm transformation in education. The education institutions were closed in the second week of March even before Lockdown was imposed. All Exams and evaluations got postponed. The Ministry of Human Resource Development came forth to mitigate the impact of school closures and found ways to make sure that ‘Learning doesn’t stop’. Adapting to the multi-modal delivery of transactions of the curriculum including digital learning helped us to lessen the impact of the crises. We stood advert to our commitment to provide education based on the foundational pillars of access, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability as outlaid in the Draft New Education Policy.
As a step forward, we initiated a campaign a week ‘Bharat Padhe Online’ for crowdsourcing of ideas for intensifying digital education in India. We have received more than 10, 500+ suggestions from students, teachers, academicians, and scholars. The suggestions have been analyzed by NCERT. The valuable suggestions are being incorporated into the guidelines and implementation of digital education. Recently, we have also launched PRAGYTA – guideless for digital education which provides a roadmap for carrying forward online education to enhance the quality of education.
Q. Sir, what are your views on PM Modi Ji’s call for “Vocal for Local” and “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan.” How are you planning to further this agenda?
A. The ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ vision of the Honourable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will make India a self-reliant nation among the global powers. I along with the whole Ministry of Education will work for achieving his mission in a mission mode manner.
The higher education institutes have come forward to solve the myriad of challenges with innovative measures to tackle the pernicious situation which has made an unparalleled impact globally. From research to the rescue, our HEIs have shown a great degree of responsibility by contributing to different dimensions to combat the CoVID-19 challenge. To up strong the challenge and their participation, we are conducting various hackathons such as Drug Discovery Hackathon, ‘Fight Corona IDEAthon’, and Smart India Hackathon.
I am delighted to share that we have launched COROSURE – a testing kit of COVID-19. Researchers at IIT Delhi Kusuma School of Biological Science (KSBS) has developed a detection assay for COVID-19 which has been approved by ICMR. The assay has been validated at ICMR with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%. This makes IITD the first academic institute to have obtained ICMR approval for a real-time PCR based diagnostic assay. The frugal CoVID-19 testing kit developed by IIT Delhi is a great example of PPP.
Be it ventilators, testing kits, mask production, sanitizer units mobile-based contact tracking applications, various web portals for resource mobilization, our HEI have done world classwork. IIT Roorkee has developed a low-cost ventilator Prana Vayu. IIT Kanpur has started an indigenous mask production facility. Covid19 Test Bus developed by IIT Alumni has been launched in Maharashtra. I am certainly proud of the ample work being done across IITs, IIITs, NITs, and IISERs.
I am also thankful to the Union Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitaraman for announcing various transformative initiatives for transformative education under the Economic Relief Package. The initiatives include PM E- Vidya, Manodarpan, expansion of online education in higher education, and decision on the initiation of National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework and A National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission.
Q. Sir, you are a multi-talented leader with a Poet, Social Worker, and Writer all rolled into one. You have numerous publications to your credit and have also been actively associated with various social activities such as ‘Swaran Ganga’ drive. Despite hailing from a humble background, you have risen to a position of prominence, owing to hard work and dedication. You are an inspiration for umpteen aspiring students and others who aim to make it big. What’s your message for the youth of the nation who looks up to you for inspiration?
A. As propounded by Swami Vivekananda, education should not only be a collection of information, but something more meaningful; it should strive to achieve ‘satchitananda’ (existence, consciousness, and bliss). While gaining knowledge the students should widen their horizons to incorporate the learnings from the Indian traditions, culture, morals, and ethos. The righteous knowledge should be a blend of the traditional system and the advancement of the 21st century. I am sure that the teachers are working hard for the same.
Keeping a foresight on the global transformations that are taking place and abiding by our movement towards ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat’ I am expecting a magnificent contribution from the youth for a prosperous development of the society. The youth of the country has to lead the country with solutions for the transformation of the education system, economic issues, climate change, poverty, health, and other traversed global issues.
Trust me, I am counting on you to emerge as the world leader!
Q. Sir, what do you feel about this new series by AsiaOne Magazine titled “Greatest Brands and Leaders” and what’s your message for AsiaOne Magazine and Mr. Rajat Shukal?
A. I congratulate AsiaOne Magazine & Mr. Rajat Shukal for this new series titled “Greatest Brands & Leaders” which showcases awe-inspiring success stories of top Asian brands and leaders from across the globe who have enabled Asia to acquire a unique and distinguished status in the world.
This would certainly inspire and motivate the aspiring young Asian entrepreneurs, sportspersons, socialist activists, philanthropists, and achievers in various spheres to follow the footprints of these greatest leaders and enable the Asian continent to acquire a position of prominence on the world map.