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Dr. Sunil Rai, Chancellor of UPES, Dehradun, Shares Insights on Education and Skill Development

“I think this century is going to be the century of skills. Degrees, certificates, and all will have no meaning, it will be basically skills,” says Dr. Sunil Rai, Chancellor of UPES, Dehradun in an Interview with Pratik Ghosh, Content Writer, ArdorComm Media Group at the ‘New Normal – Education Leadership Summit & Awards 2023’ #ELSANewDelhi #ELSAGurugram

How are you feeling to witness the New Normal Education Leadership Summit and Awards in Delhi?

It’s a wonderfully organized event. Many congratulations to Chandan and all of you, the entire team. And many congratulations for completing two years since inception. It’s a wonderful event, very high quality, and good exchange of thoughts.

What according to you, does the word “New Normal” mean?

To look at life itself in a new manner, because everything is changing. Everybody is talking about these fast changes. So, this New Normal is not a static situation. This New Normal will keep changing. At today’s rate, it may change every five years, and after five years, it will change every two years, and then maybe every month. So, New Normal is a new way of life, which is a normal way of life.

What’s your take on skill development for the 21st-century workforce?

I think this century is going to be the century of skills. Degrees, certificates, and all will have no meaning, it will be basically skills. People will not be hired for time, but they will be hired for skills. When I say not be hired for time, today we are hired for time, nine to five one has to come to office and work, so I go and work with my skills in my own office. Tomorrow, it will be that there will be 30 people who will be talking to me, and I will be hired for my skills. So, doing this kind of analysis, it is one Sunil Rai who knows it. So, company A will call me two to three, company B will call me four to five. So, it will be skills. Skills are the way to go.

How are you implementing technology or integrating technology in your University?

Yeah, so basically, we always keep having the right portfolio mix of technology, which is what I mentioned in my panel also. There will always be a change that is required to your existing portfolio. So, we have our own LMS’s, our own means. We’ve got Blackboard and then there are other tools that we use for attendance, for monitoring, for student life cycle. What we do is either we change the components every about 20 to 30 percent every year, or we change even the software or the complete paradigm every three years. So, I think this is the kind of things working now, but going forward, we will have to see. So, we have to keep looking at what is working, what is not working, keep changing, keep changing in a way that you can digest it.

As you can see in these kinds of forums where we bring in education leaders, industry experts, as well as the government, how does this kind of forum benefit the education sector?

It definitely benefits all. My suggestion, in particular is that, because you are a media company, I think with this, there has been a phenomenal learning which has come out in today’s and will come out tomorrow as you are doing schools. There should be a complete kind of declaration or a kind of statement which should come out after this effort, and it should remain there next year. So, there could be some 20, 30, or 15 points that we should all as educators and as a society look at. These 15 things to be done next third iteration. You must check those 15, how many of them have worked and how many have not worked. I think then it will have a phenomenal impact. But it’s a very good learning when you listen to different, different thoughts.

Any message for ArdorComm Media Group on its 2nd anniversary?

You’re doing very well. I mean, in two years, you have made a mark and you are doing extremely well. But I think where you can stand out is basically come up with focused suggestions and monitor them. You have your portals for each of these kinds of things, teaching-learning, administration, accreditations, rankings, benefit to society. So, all these verticals and then there could be some suggestions that are being made and they should remain there on the portal so that you’re reminded of it again and again and so you make your own contributions. You are already doing it very well. I wish you all the best going into your third year.

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