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Conference Theme - NTC 2019

 “Leapfrogging to Future Ready Higher Education”

1.    Overall Theme : Leapfrogging* to Future Ready Higher Education

The concept of leapfrogging is used in many different domains of economics and business, and was originally developed in the field of industrial organization and economic growth. The main idea beyond the concept of leapfrogging is that small and incremental innovations lead the dominant firm to stay ahead.

In the context of Higher Education Industry worldwide, the advent of Technology and Disruptive Innovations has led to transformation & evolution in Learning Mechanisms and Creation of New Jobs through Mobile Internet, Internet of Things, Big-Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Augmented Reality among many other unpredictable dynamic changes occurring almost daily world over. However, the readiness level of Universities and Colleges differs widely across nations.

As Dr. R A Mashelkar, President- National Teachers Congress says, “We are at the 'Cusp' of Social Transformation worldwide, where Virtual World is increasingly deciding what happens in the Real World. The advent of Technology and Disruptive Innovations has led to transformation & evolution in Learning Mechanisms and Creation of New Jobs through Mobile Internet, Internet of Things, Big-Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Augmented Reality among many other unpredictable dynamic changes occurring almost daily world over. In an Indian context, there is a need for policy measures by the government, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and the Industry to prepare a Learning & Academic delivery model that equips the youth to create a Global Impact. There are some fundamental changes required in Indian System to bring in Originality & Innovation at the forefront that are applicable to Indian Education system”

  • The first is the issue of our cultural inheritance that inhibits questioning. If India has the dream of becoming a 'start-up' nation, its youth should be encouraged to question & challenge, as these are critical characteristics of an Entrepreneurial Culture.

  • Secondly, our education system suffocates originality. There is a need for innovation in our education systems – getting rid of the rigid unimaginative curricula, replacing 'learning by rote' with 'learning by doing', and phasing out examination systems based on single correct answers.

  • The third is bureaucracy, where paper becomes more important than people, where 'appearing to be right' takes a precedence over 'being right', where rule book dominates over the objectives and where decision-making time cycles are larger than product life cycles.

* Leapfrogging- The word leapfrogging is used in context of many industrial, business or economic growth. It denotes an action that enables movement from Point A to Point B necessarily in a higher progression Position on the growth or advancement curve. Wikipedia explains it to be a ‘Concept whereby small and incremental innovations lead the dominant firm to stay ahead’


2. Sub-Themes

1. Session 1: Future Ready Teachers & Learners: How & What?

The term “future ready” means exactly what it sounds like. If your goal is to be a successful teacher and deliver a high-quality education to your students, you must be future ready. Our world is built on technology and students must know how to use and implement it in everyday life. As a future ready teacher, you make sure this this happens.

Luckily, being future ready doesn’t necessarily mean knowing what device is the latest and greatest. Future ready means being open-minded about changing ideas and technology, willing to adapt teaching techniques and integrate different technology in the classroom, and able to collaborate with fellow educators to devise methods for maximizing the learning potential. Find out how you can become a future ready teacher and provide your students with the skills they need to succeed in today’s world. These are-

  1. Use MODERN technology to help all students develop basic technological skills that will be required throughout all academic levels, as well as the personal and professional world.

  2. All future-ready teachers must possess a growth mindset, and instill the same in students.

  3. Bringing the real world into lessons, A few real world-teaching moments include following using mechanisms like Role playing workshops and counselling:

  • How to diffuse tense or potentially violent situations online.

  • How to communicate with different personality types.

  • How to show empathy and compassion for others

  • How to recover from setbacks

  • How to overcome weaknesses or fears  

Future ready teachers have to be Collaborative with fellow educators and administrators to gather helpful materials and resources, learn their educational philosophies and teaching techniques, and more.

Preparing students for the careers of tomorrow means teaching them how to teach themselves, and getting them ready to adapt to an ever-changing world. How will you make sure your students are future ready? On Linkedin- Kevin Brookhouser explores the three literacies students need to master or tomorrow's jobs—business skills, video production, and coding—and provides practical ways to help students prepare to be successful in future careers by engaging their current aspirations.


2. Papers Presentation: Higher Education 4.0: How & What?

Educationalists debate the many ways in which the content of education – at all levels – and the process of learning, will need to change over the years ahead. Disruptive innovation guru Clay Christiansen, for example, points to the dramatic unbundling of education from its current forms so that it can be personalised, repackaging, peer to peer and continuous. Whether it is classroom or workplace, online or offline, structured or unstructured, taught or learnt, standardised or not, certificated or not, then learning is likely to break free from our old mindsets in the coming years. Among the many discussions, innovations and general shifts in the world of learning – from school children to business executive – there are 9 trends that stand out: Diverse time and place, Personalized learning, Free choice, Project based, Field experience, Data interpretation, Exams will change completely, Student ownership, Mentoring will become more important.

These are exciting, provocative and potentially far-reaching challenges. For individuals and society, new educational tools and resources hold the promise of empowering individuals to develop a fuller array of competencies, skills and knowledge and of unleashing their creative potential.

What is Education 4.0 then? It is a combination of Education adopting Flexible delivery model, Accessible Anytime,Anywhere, Personalised,Guided by Peers & Mentors, Emphasising on Why/Where instead of What/How, Deploying Practical Application, Going Modular and Project Based, Student Owned, Evaluated not Examined.

Case Example: Malaysia Higher Education 4.0: An initiative for Fourth Industrial Revolution The higher education ministry of Malaysia has set forth new initiatives as part of its effort to cultivate holistic, entrepreneurial and balanced graduates to be globally competitive and meet the needs of Industry 4.0. Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said that the ministry has introduced a range of initiatives such as the integrated cumulative grade point average (iCGPA), in addition to its existing academic-driven CGPA system, the 2u2i Programme and CEO@Faculty Programme, to address the challenges and critical needs of Industry 4.0.


3. Session 2 Universal Value Based Higher Education

When new forms of knowledge and symbolization qualitatively impregnate all basic aspects of a society, or when a society’s structures and processes for reproducing itself are so penetrated by knowledge-dependent operations that information creation operations, symbolic analysis and expert systems are more important than other factors of production, then we’re talking about the knowledge society (Innerarity, 2010). The major challenge facing a knowledge society is the generation of collective intelligence: society’s intelligence as a whole is more important than just having a society composed of multiple individual intelligences.

Bertman (1998) described life in today’s society as a “nowist culture” and a “hurried culture”, because we place more importance on brand-new, high-impact things than on those which require exploration. According to Bauman (2007), we have gone from linear time to pointillist time: what matters is the moment, and our identities are continually being built and modified.

Conventionally, education has been understood as preparation for life, as personal realisation, and as an essential element in progress and social change, in accordance with changing needs (Chitty, 2002). Orr (2004) declares that if certain precautions are not taken, education may equip people to become “more effective vandals of the earth”. He describes education of the sort we have seen thus far as a possible problem, and argues for a new type of education:

“More of the same kind of education will only compound our problems. This is not an argument for ignorance but rather a statement that the worth of education must now be measured against the standards of decency and human survival. It is not education, but education of a certain kind, that will save us.”

(Orr, 2004: 8)

 “Education, in other words, can be a dangerous thing (...). It is time, I believe, for an educational ‘perestroika’, by which I mean a general rethinking of the process and substance of education at all levels, beginning with the admission that much of what has gone wrong with the world is the result of education that alienates us from life in the name of human domination, fragments instead of unifies, overemphasizes success and careers, separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical, and unleashes on the world minds ignorant of their own ignorance.”

(Orr, 2004: 17)

 Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has emerged as a paradigm for revising and reorienting today’s education. ESD consists of new forms of knowing and learning how to be human in a different way. This education aims to contribute to the sustainability of personal integrity, or in the words of Sterling (2001), to the integrity of the spirit, heart, head and hands. As argued by Dewey and the educational reconstructionists, it is often not enough to do things according to custom or habit, that is, to reproduce the existing social system. Instead, new answers must be sought. If we are to imagine new ways of living and acting, then we must be capable of assessing and bringing about social change, because successfully achieving sustainable development requires the following principles: being aware of the challenge, taking action voluntarily, assuming collective responsibility and forming a constructive partnership, and believing in the dignity of all human beings without exception. These principles for lasting human development, formulated at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, imply lessons that largely coincide with the four pillars of education set out in the Delors Report: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be. In the context of ESD, UNESCO (2008) suggested the inclusion of a fifth pillar: learning to transform oneself and society. Source

5. VC's Panel: Future Ready Higher Education

India has always been a land of scholars and learners. In ancient times also, India was regarded all over the world for its universities of excellence like Taxila, Nalanda and Vikram Shila. Thanks to the British- who changed the focus of Indian Education system, which rewarded in many of our present-day concern. With just 20 Universities in the country in 1950- today we have over 677 Universities in the Country reflecting a growth of 34 times. 25% of our teaching positions in the University are lying vacant. Many of the Central University and Institution top administrative post are lying vacant and being taken care, again by, lower level staff, who lack experience, competence and leadership. The “Research” and Innovation” has been replaced by “politics” and this is precise, there is no true frame for research and they overstay in the university as they don’t have anything better to do. Yes, we do have few islands of excellence such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) or IIM etc. They are few in numbers and after obtaining their degrees, how many of them really stay in India? It is sometimes that again needs to be researched? Vice Chancellors across Universities in India are having some of their top concerns as below-

• Innovative methods for enhancing teaching learning process
• Innovations in improving the administration of institutions
• Measures for promoting research
• Major efforts at involving with the community for improving livelihoods
• Imparting Digital Education

Dr. K.K Jhunjhunwala says, “Vice Chancellor is supposed to be the academician who takes the and development of Universities fast forward. But in practice- what they do? Work like a clerk in passing the small bills and presiding over one after another meeting, which can easily be avoided. Why can’t as a trial, we have an IAS Officer of senior grade as registrar of University and an IRS Officer as Finance Officer. Things can be changed and changed for better, provided the intentions are clear.”

The Narendra Modi government has decided that it’s time to address the ‘leadership’ issue comprehensively -- by training all future VCs for the job. The Prakash Javadekar-led Human Resource Development ministry is set to launch an annual Leadership Development Programme for senior academics from across institutes to train them in ‘leadership and management skills’. The programme will train 200-plus academics every year and aim to prepare 1.5 million faculty members for leadership roles.

The Leadership Development Programme is planned as an annual programme to train academics with leadership potential and help them improve their administrative skills, crisis management abilities, team work and communication skills. It is expected to be launched within the next two months as per a report by Economic Times.

The programme was conceptualised keeping in mind the serious leadership crisis that has hit higher education institutes in India. Sources well versed with the selection processes for top posts at universities and other institutes point to the shrinking pool of academics equipped to lead institutes.

5. Sustainable Development Goals & UNICEF

UNICEF's work is structured around 5 overarching areas of well-being for every child which are grounded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Every child is protected from violence and exploitation. Every child lives in a safe and clean environment. Every child has a fair chance in life. UNICEF is the custodian or co-custodian for 17 SDG indicators- 8 global SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) indicators and co-custodian for a further 9. In this role, UNICEF supports countries in generating, analyzing and using data for these indicators for all their citizens. This includes leading methodological work, developing international standards, and establishing mechanisms for compilation and verification of national data, and maintaining global databases. Some Custodian Indicators include-  Skilled attendance at birth, Under-5 mortality,  Neonatal mortality, Early childhood development, Child marriage, Female genital mutilation, Child discipline and Sexual violence against children.

While the Co-custodian Indicators include-  Fully immunized children, Sexual violence against women and girls, by intimate partner,  Sexual violence against women and girls, by person other than intimate partner, Safely managed water, Safely managed sanitation and handwashing, Child labour, Birth registration, Stunting,   Wasting/overweight. Attached to the Goals are 169 concrete targets measured by 230 specific indicators. 50 of these indicators are directly related to children.


  1. STEM to STEAM : STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics)

STEAM is an educational approach that incorporates the arts into the more-familiar STEM model, which includes science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEAM programs can include any of the visual or performing arts, such as dance, design, painting, photography and writing. Innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM. The objectives of the STEAM movement are to: transform research policy to place Art + Design at the center of STEM, encourage integration of Art + Design in K–20 education,influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation.

Reintegrating art and design into education has been demonstrated to increase the happiness and well-being of students. From a business and perspective, the major payoffs include better problem-solving skills and increased creativity and innovation. The integration of arts into STEM education and fields may also help encourage more participation by women in what have been male-dominated areas.

In his TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for education that nurtures creativity rather than stifling it:


  1. Paper Presentation: Water, Energy, Environment & Sustainability (WEES) : Role of Higher Education

Cognisant of the importance of sustainable development to Africa, the AAU (Association of African Universities) dedicated both the 2006 and 2008 editions of its African Universities Day celebrations to the theme “Role of Higher Education in Promoting Sustainable Development in Africa”. This was also the theme of its 12th General Conference held in Abuja, Nigeria in May 2009. Achieving sustainable development in Africa has therefore been included as one of the new programmes in the Core Programme (2013-2017). The AAU’s programme on “Achieving Sustainable Development” aims at ensuring that the continent’s higher education institutions continues to remain relevant to the continent’s developmental needs by developing innovative local strategies to entrench values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation.

What is ‘sustainable development’ and what is the role of higher education in promoting it? In 1987, the Brundtland report from the World Commission on Environment and Development defined it as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The International Association of Universities, or IAU, has been active in encouraging universities to promote sustainable development since the 1990s and, in 1993, adopted a policy statement known as the Kyoto Declaration on Sustainable Development.

  1. Paper Presentation: Mandatory Ph.D only for Universities. What about Colleges?

PhD has been made mandatory for recruitment of teachers in universities from 2021-22 and cracking the National Eligibility Test (NET) would not be accepted as the only eligibility criteria. The Union minister said teaching outcomes would be considered for promotion and if a teacher does research work, it would attract additional points for promotion. “Now college teachers would not have to mandatorily do research but will have to essentially concentrate and give better education to undergraduate students,” stated Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

According to another decision, the ministry has done away with the Academic Point Indicator (API) system considered during the promotion of teachers at the college level. One of the requirements of the API system was that the teacher must conduct research in their field, on the basis of which their performance was rated for promotion. As per the new rating system, the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) by the faculty members will now be considered for the promotion.

  1. Paper Presentations: Future Ready: Job Seekers or Job Creators

The Higher Education (HE) system has evolved through the ages to serve the current and immediate future needs of the society. The first formal version of higher Education HE 1.0 that addressed the needs of industrial society focusing on efficient manufacturing and quality, served the cause till the late 60s. The next 3 decades (up to late 80s) saw HE 2.0 which focused on integrating markets and services across the globe. HE 3.0 which started establishing itself towards the end of last century and is serving till date focuses on digitization of the entire value chain including governance and banking. Each stage built on its predecessor focused on creation of quality jobs and markets and realisation on higher levels of efficiency and economy.

The world and particularly India have achieved high levels of efficiency of production, serving markets and financial margins in the service dominated global, digital economy. The HE 4.0 therefore needs to go through a total renaissance and reformation of the education world. The challenge of HE 4.0 is to prepare youth for “job creation” than the existing focus of “job seeking”. Based on several successful experiences of the five large economies of today: USA, China, Japan, India, and UK. The pillars of sustained growth is innovation and exploring the unexplored in vast domains of energy, health, agriculture, transportation, education and entertainment; Exploration of multiple (in one plant) methods of unconventional energy production, diagnostic and cure through Nano technologies, vertical farming, hybrid vehicles, self-learning digital systems and merging of art and animation.

A disruptive system, Education 4.0 not only focuses on ‘what is taught’ but it also assumes a nuanced approach to ‘the way it is taught’ — it is an education model which is aligned with future trends, in order to develop and enhance individualized education that will eventually go on to define the manner in which youngsters of the future will work and live.

  1. Session 6: Future ready Right Education: Right Way of Higher Education


India: Unlike school education, where the focus is on ensuring access to quality education, the challenge in higher education space is both in terms of quality and quantity. The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) focusing on equity, access and excellence in higher education has seen very slow progress in terms of both fund utilisation and reform offtake. The fund utilisation is below 25% in most of the states. To achieve the gross enrolment ratio (GER) target of 30% by 2022, it is estimated that more than 1,000 additional universities are needed in the country to provide higher education. On one hand, there is stiff competition to get admission in quality institutions, while on the other hand, institutions today are unable to meet students’ aspirations and have to revisit their models to improve the quality of education imparted. While the primary focus is on access, the government is increasingly also focusing on quality in higher education. It has taken certain steps in this regard. The government’s initiative to groom 20 universities as “Institutions of Eminence” is a welcome step. This will enable Indian institutions to compete on a global level and enter the elite list of top-100 world institutes. Fresh emphasise is being laid both on Vocational education, Education technology, Experiential Learning and Value Based

Education system

Singapore: Singapore is often praised for its high standards of education, so it might be surprising to some that the nation state suffers from a huge knowledge-skills gap. According to the Hays Global Skills Index, despite Singapore having one of the highest education standards in the world, local talent often do not have the skills wanted by employers, leading to both higher rates of vacancies and unemployment. Employers here, especially in sectors like engineering and technology, are competing for talent because of the skills shortage, and this problem is about to get worse with the introduction of the Smart Nation. Earlier this year Singapore laid out a vision education in 2035, signaling a move towards a holistic approach with focus on skills and job performance. Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), gives a good example of this form of learning, termed the “flipped classroom”, in his keynote address at the Straits Times Education Forum.

  1. NAAC: Higher Education Quality Movement in India : Present & Future

It is heartening that National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has brought in new spirit into its process of assessment and accreditation. The revised process is being adopted from July 2017. The main focus of the revision process has been to enhance the redeeming features of the accreditation process and make them more robust, objective, transparent and scalable as well as make it ICT enabled. It also has reduced duration of accreditation process. The entire revision exercise has successfully resulted in the development of an assessment and accreditation framework which is technology enabled and user friendly. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) desirous of seeking accreditation from now on will need to understand the changes made in the process. Keeping this in mind, the Manuals have been revised separately for Universities, Autonomous Colleges and Affiliated/Constituent Colleges. Striving to achieve its goals as guided by its vision and mission statements, NAAC primarily focuses on assessment of the quality of higher education institutions in the country. The NAAC methodology for Assessment and Accreditation is very much similar to that followed by Quality Assurance (QA) agencies across the world and consists of self-assessment by the institution along with external peer assessment organized by NAAC.

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