ASMA Education Leadership Conclave – Higher and Tech Education Conclave (Engineering, Medical & B-Schools)

The virtual event examined how Engineering institutes, Medical Institutes and B-Schools leveraged technology to face the challenges of the pandemic

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The ASMA Education Leadership Conclave – Higher and Tech Education Conclave featuring Engineering, Medical and B-School Leadership was held on 06th November 2020.

The virtual event examined the challenges faced by the Engineering institutes, Medical Institutes and B-Schools during the pandemic and how they have been able to leverage technology to meet these challenges.

The first panel which featured leaders from medical education institutions was moderated by Dr Rejoice Puthuchira Ravi, Director, Parul Institute of Public Health, Parul University, Vadodara.

The panel comprised of eminent speakers from medical education institutes including, Dr Rohit Dutt, Dean, School of Medical & Allied Sciences, GD Goenka University, Gurgaon, Dr Shailendra Saxena, Vice Dean & Head CFAR, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, Dr Alka Kale, Principal, KLE Institute of Dental Science, Belagavi, Dr Mohammad Rizwan Khan, Principal, Shivajirao Kadam Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research, Indore and Prof Narinder Pal Singh, Dean Medical Research & Professor of Medicine, SGT Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Budhera, Gurugram.

The distinguished panel discussed Impact of the Pandemic on Admissions, Enrolment, Examinations & Assessments’.

Dr. Rohit Dutt, Dean, School of Medical & Allied Sciences, GD Goenka University, Gurgaon added his views to the discussion by saying, “Technology such as Artificial Intelligence will personalize learning, especially since colleges and universities are facing the challenge of disengaged students, drop-out rates and the ineffectiveness of the one size fits all approach to education. When Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence are used correctly, a personalized learning experience can be created which may help to resolve some of these challenges”.

Dr. Mohammad Rizwan Khan, Principal, Shivajirao Kadam Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research, Indore said, “The admissions procedure for this year has already changed a lot. There has also been a change in the process as well, which will be helpful to the student and the institution as well”.

He continued, “Practical assessments have been hampered, but we have been able to move out of this and made use of AI platforms which have benefited us very well. These tools which we have used can be used further also”.

Dr. Shailendra Saxena, Vice-Dean & Head CFAR, King George’s Medical University, Lucknow remarked, “There is nothing called a post-COVID era; we have to learn how to survive with this virus, just like we are surviving with influenza, swine flu etc.”

Dr. Saxena continued, “There are some things we have to consider not only today but in the years to come. Firstly, people who are well, how to prevent them from getting infected, secondly, how to avoid transmission of the infected from the people who are sick and thirdly, how other people such as healthcare workers and those who are caring for those who are infected can be protected. Unless these things are properly streamlined, we are not going to create confidence among students”.

He added, “We are mentally preparing our children and the next generation of doctors on how they will actually handle this”.

Prof Narinder Pal Singh, Dean Medical Research & Professor of Medicine, SGT Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Budhera, Gurugram shared, “Many times the parents or students want to visit the institution to have a feel of the institution, which in the present times is difficult. Now we can use certain platforms to actually carry them to the institution. At SGT, we have the facility of having innovative technology used to virtually travel through the institute of 70 acres within the span of 15 minutes”.

He added, “Over the last several months, our hospital has been in the process of making e-modules. More importantly, the practical aspect is extremely difficult to teach. Now we have to rely on simulation techniques such as virtual 3D dissection tables and mannequins. Technology now has become a very important tool”.

Dr. Alka Kale, Principal,KLE Institute of Dental Science, Belagavi spoke about the unique challenges of dental science education. She said, “There are a lot of challenges, although our university has already prepared SOPs on how we should be treating patients, taking all precautions”.

Agreeing with what Dr Saxena has said, Dr Kale emphasised that institutions must take care of the primary healthcare workers.

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The second panel of the day which focussed on engineering institutes explored “How Technology such as AI and ML are changing the Future of Indian Education”.

The panel was moderated by Dr.Geetha Arulmani, Dean Academics & Research, JCT College of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore and comprised of Dr A Govardhan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, Dr Vikas Misra, Director, Geetanjali Group of Colleges Udaipur, Dr Prakash H Patil, Ex. Vice Principal & Ex. Dean Academics DYPCOE; Professor, DY Patil University Pune Ambi; Executive Committee Member IETE and Dr P Bhaskar, Principal, Gates Institute of Technology, Gooty.

Dr. Vikas Misra, Director, Geetanjali Group of Colleges Udaipur, began by sharing his thoughts on how technology such as AI and Machine Learning can be leveraged to provide a personalised learning experience to students.

He commented, “AI and Machine Learning has created a buzz all around the world. The way machines have impacted our day to day life has given more importance to this continuously changing era of technology, and when it comes to academics, I strongly believe that into an era of Industry 4.0 we need educational institutes or universities of a 4.0 curriculum”.

He added, “Industries today need industry-ready professionals; industries today is a concept of ‘plug and play’. So when it comes to AI, Machine Learning, IoT and Data Science, these are all the technologies that will play a very pivotal role in the development of society and the entire digital world”.

Dr. P Bhaskar, Principal, Gates Institute of Technology, Gooty said, “In terms of how technology can be leveraged to provide personalised learning experiences to students, it differs, especially if you’re talking about a Tier 1 institution compared to a Tier 4 or 5 institution because the basic problem the Tier 4 and 5 institutions face is the basic fundamental prerequisites of an online method of learning.”

He added, “The blended model of online and offline learning may stay for another but on the contrary, when we look back at history, how the open or distance learning mode which was introduced both in India and in the West, predominantly in Europe, has never seen success. Although institutions have moved on to online learning unless the bigger infrastructure issues are sorted out at Tier 4 and 5 institution levels, this online mode of learning will also wither down the way open and distance learning has”.

Dr. Prakash H Patil, Ex-Vice Principal & Ex. Dean Academics DYPCOE; Professor, DY Patil University Pune Ambi said, “AI will be a game-changer for the Indian education system because it just might be the single largest technology innovation in our lifetimes with the potential to disrupt all aspects of human existence.”

Dr. A Govardhan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad opined, “Due to the pandemic, people are taking this challenge as an opportunity, and there has been a paradigm shift towards digital transformation across the globe. There has been a dramatic shift and transformation in terms of adopting digital technologies”.

The final panel of the day explored the Technologies That Will Drive the Tech Revolution in India’s Education System’ and was moderated by Vishal Tiwari, Zonal Manager, NoPaperForms.

The panel comprised of leaders from Business Schools, such as Suku Bhaskaran, President, GD Goenka University, Gurgaon, Cecil Antony, Chairman, NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata, Prof Ramesh Behl, Director, International Management Institute, Bhubaneswar, Major General B D Wadhwa, AVSM (Retd), Director General, IILM University, Dr Bijal Zaveri, Dean Director Faculty of Management Studies at Parul University, Vadodara and Dr Naveen Das, Dean – Academics & Dean – School of Business & Economics, Adamas University, Kolkata.

Cecil Antony, Chairman, NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata began the discussion by saying “Pre-lockdown, online education and offline education were running on parallel tracks. The pandemic has been a blessing in disguise because a lot of educational institutions woke up to the idea of embracing technology much more than before the lockdown”.

Suku Bhaskaran, President, GD Goenka University, Gurgaon remarked, “We worked on two important things; we used technology to create a more inclusive approach to teaching and learning. We also used technology for all our scholarly purposes including research, collaborative scholarly endeavours with our partner institutions”.

He added, “Technology enables speedier and cost-effective joint research projects, joint teaching and learning engagements, joint faculty development endeavours and the adoption of contemporary teaching and learning practices such as blended learning or flipped classrooms”.

Bhaskaran pointed out, “The transition to technology has not been an outcome of COVID-19, but it is something we have been adopting for over 10 years. It has accelerated a bit in the past year or so”.

Naveen Das, Dean – Academics & Dean – School of Business & Economics, Adamas University, Kolkata, opined, “The two worlds we are talking about; the worlds of the teacher and the taught earlier used to meet, but now in the new medium, they are parallel worlds. Students consider technology as a liberator whereas teachers feel technology is an enabler and we are overwhelmed by it”.

Das added, “I hope the future would be better, it would be much more engaging for students and we would be able to leverage technology for engagement rather than just dissemination, and the challenge we are still grappling with”.

Dr. Bijal Zaveri, Dean Director Faculty of Management Studies at Parul University, pointed out, “At Parul University’s Faculty of Management Studies, we have tried to adopt whatever innovative initiatives have been available. Right now, more emphasis is given to the engagement dimension and that is the biggest challenge all over the world. We have started developing e-content specifically course-wise for students”.

She noted, “More emphasis should be given to personalised learning, customised learning and experiential learning”.

Prof Ramesh Behl, Director, International Management Institute, Bhubaneswar, said, “Technology is the lifeline of today. The philosophy of on which the International Management Institute, Bhubaneswar works is based on the creation of knowledge, application of knowledge and dissemination of knowledge”.

He added, “Every technological intervention you bring in, there would be some kind of resistance that will come with it. But the institutional culture is developed over a period of time where people will start adopting it and then appreciating it. When people get into that particular technological adoption, they will see the power of that”.

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