New Delhi: A day after the reshuffle of the Union Cabinet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started working with the new batch of ministers and initiated the move with Directors of centrally funded technical institutions like IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur and IISc Bangalore.
New Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State for Education Annapurna Devi, the first time MP from Koderma, was present during the interaction via video conferencing in which Prime Minister lauded the Research and Development work done by these institutions towards meeting the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of young innovators towards providing quick technological solutions during the interaction which was joined by more than 100 heads of institutions.
In the meeting, Modi stressed on the need to adapt higher education and technical education to keep in tune with the changing environment and emerging challenges, adding "this requires the institutions to reinvent and re-evaluate themselves, develop alternative and innovative models in accordance with the present and future needs of the country and society."
The Prime Minister emphasized that Indian higher educational and technical institutions need to prepare youth for continuous disruptions and changes, keeping in mind the fourth industrial revolution.
Underlined the need to progress towards education models that are flexible, seamless, and able to provide learning opportunities as per the requirements of the learners, the Prime Minister said that access, affordability, equity, and quality should be the core values of such education models.
Prime Minister appreciated the improvement in the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education in the past few years and emphasized that digitization of higher education can play a big role in increasing GER, and students will have easier access to good quality and affordable education.
Prime Minister also lauded the various initiatives taken by the institutions to increase digitization such as that of online bachelor and master's degree programmes and added that we need to develop an ecosystem of technological education in Indian languages and translate global journals into regional languages.
Prime minister said that 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' will form the basis of dreams and aspirations of India in the coming 25 years when we celebrate 100 years of Independence. He added that technological, R&D institutions will play a major role in the upcoming decade, which is also being called as "India's Techade".
He further emphasised to focus on developing futuristic solutions in fields of education, healthcare, agriculture, defense, and cyber technologies.
Highlighting the importance of good quality infrastructure in higher educational institutions to ensure that products associated with Artificial Intelligence, smart wearables, augmented reality systems, and digital assistants reach the common man, the Prime Minister emphasized to focus on affordable, personalized, and AI-driven education.
During the interaction, Prof Govindan Rangarajan of IISc Bangalore, Prof Subhasis Chaudhuri of IIT Bombay, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi of IIT Madras, and Prof Abhay Karandikar of IIT Kanpur, gave presentations to the Prime Minister and highlighted various ongoing projects, academic work, and new research being done in the country.
The Prime Minister was apprised about the Covid related research being done that encompasses developing new techniques for testing, Covid vaccine development efforts, indigenous oxygen concentrators, Oxygen generators, Cancer Cell Therapy, Modular hospitals, Hotspot prediction, Ventilators production. The Prime Minister was also informed about new academic courses, especially the online courses that are being developed, as per the changing nature of the economy and technology.