The Education and Skill Summit 2018 organised by Mail Today on 27th September 2018 brought together experts, citizens and the custodians of the education sector of India at a common platform to discuss the key issues concerning the system. This year the summit also focused on the importance of skill development in the country.

Some of the prominent personalities brought into focus many problems being faced by this industry. The Group Editorial Director (Publishing) Raj Chengappa brought into focus the teaching positions lying vacant in the Government Schools and diminishing budget allocated to Education. Among st many other issues following too were discussed –

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar took this opportunity to clarify the row over the Jio Institute getting the status of ‘Institute of Eminence’. He clarified that Jio has been issued a letter of intent and will not become an institute of eminence till they deliver on their action plan. He also said that no private institute shall receive government grant. He announced that the draft which shall serve as a guideline for the education policy for period 2020 – 40 will be ready by 31st October. It shall focus more on vocational and technological education.

The government also plans to ultimately cut the school syllabus by 50% and devote the extra time for the overall holistic development of the student. There will be a substantial investment in academic and research infrastructure to combat the problem of brain drain. He also mentioned that the change in the no-detention policy means that states shall have the authority to adopt a policy or add exams to give students a second chance or can detain them but cannot expel them from school.

Union Minister for Minority affairs Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi talked about tapping into the Madrassa system to improve education level among the minorities. Free training is being provided by the government to the Madrassa teachers so that mainstream learning can be integrated with traditional learning for these students.  He also mentioned that due to the discrimination free atmosphere for development and by providing free coaching classes for cracking UPSC, state and banking services etc, more than 100 candidates belonging to the minorities communities were able to crack the civil services exams.

The ‘Hunar Haat’ scheme works towards preserving the country’s handicraft artisans belonging to the minorities community. He also clarified that his ‘Shaadi and Shagun’ scheme aims at discouraging the poor families from withdrawing their girl child from schools for want of saving funds for their marriage. Under this scheme the government shall provide funds for their marriage if they are allowed to graduate using government scholarship. He also mentioned that the school dropout rate of students belonging to the minorities community has reduced from 72-75% to 40-41%

Delhi government Education Minister Mr Manish Sisodia brought to light that their biggest challenge was unavailability of land to open schools and colleges and maintaining the teacher student ratio. He also mentioned that state run schools have failed to impart quality education while the private schools have. He also said that the government will not intervene in the running of a private school as long as they are transparent in their fee hikes and admission process. On the takeover of 449 private schools by the government, he said that those were the defaulting schools that failed to refund the excess fees charged despite the court order.

He criticized the syllabus centric education system where the teachers are only concerned with completing the syllabus within the time frame of one year rather than focusing whether the students are actually are being able to understand or not. He believes that the government teachers too should be paid at par with the teachers in a private school. The ‘Happiness Curriculum’ has been introduced in the schools for a holistic development of the child.

Astha Ghai Walia, Principal Happy Model School emphasized upon teaching children the correct values to differentiate between right and wrong. Dr Vidur Mahajan, associate director at Mahajan Imaging Center talked about importance of technology preparedness of the students. Being from a sports background Vipin Kapur, President and founder of Pro-Kickboxing league talked about teaching acceptance of failures along with success.