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Nurturing a Billion Dreams

2023-11-24 By RUSTOM KERAWALLA (Founder Chairman)

Nurturing a Billion Dreams - RUSTOM KERAWALLA (Founder Chairman)

Imagine the power of a billion ignited minds. The sheer energy, innovation, creativity and boundless possibilities that await.

As we celebrate National Education Day, I recall the vision we at Ampersand Group saw at the start of our journey, 20 years ago. A vision that saw the potential of a billion aspirations, with education as a key to open the doors to a brighter, more prosperous future.

At that moment, we made a commitment.

To nurture young minds, making them ready for a dynamically changing world through a holistic, value-based approach to education. To enable the transformation of lives at an individual, family and community level.

A commitment to nation-building.

Today, the Ampersand Group is a leader in the education sector and is an active partner with Central and State Governments in several skill development and livelihood projects pan-India.

Does that vision of a billion ignited minds hold good today, in the face of a rapidly changing world? Here’s how the education sector can stay true to this commitment:

  • Focus on holistic development curriculum, including Academics, Sports, Performing Arts, as well as students’ Social and Emotional development and their interactions with teachers, peers, families and communities.
  • Adopt an interdisciplinary approach to apply subject knowledge across the boundaries of disciplines to solve complex issues in the real world.
  • Stay flexible. Bear in mind the 5 Cs of 21st century learning i.e. Critical thinking, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration and Character.
  • Prioritise students’ physical and mental health. It is imperative for every school to offer resources and support to ensure that students stay both physically healthy as well as emotionally resilient.
  • Update curricula and pedagogy frequently, to keep pace with a world that is transforming at an unprecedented rate. This adaptive innovation in education is vital to help our students discover and retain the joy of learning.

What are the other best practices that an educator can use, given the various steps of a student’s Education to Work journey?

With the Government’s efforts achieving nearly universal access to education at the elementary level, Pre-Primary educators can enable a sound start to their young wards by:

  • Adopting multi-sensory foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, combining Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic tools for our younger students.
  • Imparting basic life skills such as time management, organization, problem-solving, and social-emotional skills promotes creativity, self-expression and develops self-regulation and resilience amongst young children.
  • Inculcating social and ethical values in the foundational stage of learning as it helps in shaping the personality and character of an individual.

In addition, here is how secondary and higher education policy makers can ensure skill development and livelihood opportunities for young adults:

  • Integrate vocational training into the high school curriculum. NEP 2020 envisages it as a part of mainstream education and has set an ambitious goal, by 2025, at least 50% of students are expected to have exposure to vocational education*.
  • Strengthen Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). PPP can play a pivotal role in building Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at secondary levels by creating an ecosystem of vocational trainings, industry partnerships, skill development along with better employability and livelihood opportunities.
  • Industry alignment and innovation further encourages the integration of industry-relevant skills and vocational training, brings in industry expertise and increases internship and placement opportunities. This allows educational programs to align with evolving job market requirements.
  • Balancing private interests with social objectives should be at the core of the education sector. Every stakeholder, be it a private organisation, government body, NGO or citizen, has to play their part in strengthening the education sector.

In a world that is becoming more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, education can prove to be the inflexion point. As we prepare the next generation for the future, so must our educational institutions be willing to adapt to a changing world.

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