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Indian universities have 19th century mindset: Sam Pitroda

Sam Pitroda

Sam Pitroda

Complaining that education sector in India is “pretty rigid”, tech czar Sam Pitroda advocated the need for students to take up jobs along with studies, saying one cannot move ahead with a “19th century mindset”.

“In India that flexibility is needed. We can’t carry forward with the 19th century mindset, 20th century process and 21st century needs,” Pitroda, the Advisor to Prime Minster Manmohan Singh, said.

Addressing the ‘Academic Congress’ organised by Delhi University, Pitroda also found fault with the present system and demanded that the universities and colleges should be given freedom to award a student with a degree whenever they think the student is ready to be a graduate.

“There is a need for theoretical and practical experiences and to achieve this students should also be allowed to work in their respective sectors of interest even while studying.”

Advising the need for a generational change to make education more accessible, he said the education system in the country is pretty rigid and the country needed expansion, equity and excellence so that the quality of education can be raised.

He said a number of education bills are stuck in Parliament and alleged that parties, unions and people with vested interest block reforms in the country.

“Who decides that it will take four years to get a degree? Why can’t we give freedom to the universities and colleges to give the degrees within two or three years, whenever they think the student is ready to be a graduate. Why a standard procedure of four years?” he asked.

Pitroda said teachers are not needed for content generation and defining the content but they should be in the role of mentors. “To achieve this teachers training programme should be change. We need to re-define the needs of students and teachers,” he said.

Pitroda said the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) plan was to set up 40 new innovation universities with new ideas, which could offer degree in 2 to 3 years but now the government is talking of forming just 14 Universities or making desired changes in the existing universities.

He claimed the government is in no mood to change the education system, but it is students who should demand for change.

Claiming that Universities do not provide fertile ground for innovations, he said hardly any programmes for internships are conducted.

“Professors from outside are not called and Professors in the country do not do the researches, so it has become a chain where nobody wants to change. Innovation require collaboration.

Every University should have innovation centres,” he said.

He said in the US “classes are held on sea, on railway stations. Why a teacher should take class in a room only, why not in garden or in a restaurant”.

Students learn more from each other than a teacher can teach them, he added.

“Education should be provided in multiple languages along with local languages otherwise students will not be able to have overall development,” he said. (The Indian Express)

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