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Prof. Prafulla Agnihotri, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Sirmaur, Emphasizes on Recreating the Era when India was a Global Leader in Education

“Let’s recreate that place, let’s recreate Nalanda, Takshashila, and let’s recreate that era where we were the leaders in education,” says Prof. Prafulla Agnihotri, Director, Indian Institute of Management, Sirmaur 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 very well-organized Summit. I am meeting you guys for the first time, and so far, whatever that I’ve seen is a very good organization.

As you know, the theme of our event is India’s Vision 2030. What’s your opinion about the education sector going ahead till 2030?

Before I say about the future, let me say something about the past. India was always a global leader. We had Nalanda, Takshashila. People from all over the world used to come up to us, look at our Ved, I don’t like to call it Veda. Ved is the right word. They are centuries older, and they have all the wisdom that is required in the world. We were the knowledge creators at one point in time. Then, somehow it disappeared. We had to take back this country to that level, that level of knowledge creation, and be a forerunner in the field of education. If you go to the US, who are the torchbearers of modern education in any field, you’ll find in most of the fields, be it management, be it medicines, be it astrology, we Indians dominate those fields. So, what do we do there? Why can’t we do it over here? The talent remains the same, and many of them are the first-generation scientists who have gone over there after studying here in India. They’ve done their basic graduation in India. So, let’s recreate that place, let’s recreate Nalanda, Takshashila, and let’s recreate that era where we were the leaders in education.

Do you think NEP somehow focuses on this vision?

Definitely, NEP is a big step. I’ve been in the field of education for about 35 years, and right from the beginning, I used to feel, why am I doing what I was doing? Look at the basic educational philosophy. I don’t like a particular subject, but still, I have to study that. Why? There are most of them, we say we have very less enrolment ratio. Forget enrolment ratio, there are just a few who enrol and complete the program. Your matriculation, for that matter, these are huge dropout ratios, especially if you go to semi-urban and rural places. The problem is people drop out because they have much less to do, much less to understand in subjects like mathematics, science, and so on, and those subjects are thrust upon them. If we could do away with those subjects or once they have the basic knowledge of mathematics, they don’t need to know that. A carpenter doesn’t need to know about high-level calculus. So, even if he can do away with that, and we can give them more skill-based education, those people will be able to do well for themselves in their life. Point number two, we had lost the basic purpose of education. We would not tell them about how to live life, what are our responsibilities as a civilian, and so on. And that’s why we were conducting, in my opinion, educated illiterates. They would know how to read and write, he may have great degrees, but then after some time, he’ll just throw something out of his car on the road. He will just roll down the window of his car and spit on the road. Where is that education? That should be reflected in one’s own personality and behaviour in public too. I’m sure the new education policy has a great emphasis on even changing these fundamental behavioural patterns as well.

Any message for ArdorComm Media Group on our 2nd year anniversary?

I wish you all the best, and let’s hope that we meet on your first silver jubilee.

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