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India-Australia ties can be changed through Education

Among the multiple opportunities that India offers, education has all the ingredients to emerge as a game-changer in bilateral relations

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Education can improve India-Australia ties. Image Source: intranet.tdmu.edu.ua
  • Among the multiple opportunities that India offers, education has all the ingredients to emerge as a game-changer in bilateral relations
  • New Delhi is acutely aware of the importance of quality education, without which the benefits of the demographic dividend might be squandered and reduced
  • With GDP growth rates set to cross eight per cent through sustained high economic performance, the demand for higher education will consistently grow

The platform for a transformational change in bilateral relations was laid when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Australia in November 2014. Deviating from the script, he spoke of India-Australia relations as “a natural partnership arising from our shared values and aspirations”. He was not talking about cricket, the Commonwealth or curry.

His visit marked a historic shift from the neglect that had held the bilateral relations hostage for nearly 30 years. When he said that he saw Australia as a major partner in every area of India’s national priority, he was, in fact, changing the vocabulary from the 3Cs to the 3E’s: economy, energy, and education. This disruptive transition necessarily requires a shift in mindset from a lukewarm, limited and uninformed engagement to one that is robust, dynamic and aspirational.

It needs to be recognized that when Chief Minister Modi became the Prime Minister of India two years ago, his government faced enormous developmental challenges — both economic and social. This was further aggravated by the wholly unrealistic expectations in terms of the speed and intensity with which his electoral promise of “aache din” (better times) would be translated. He was acutely aware of India’s structural and other limitations in being able to achieve this within an abbreviated time-frame.

PM Narendra Modi. Image Source: PTI
PM Narendra Modi. Image Source: PTI

Consequently, he reached out to the global community. In his view, as he said in the Australian parliament, partnerships require that countries stand together at a moment of enormous opportunity and great responsibility.

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Among the multiple opportunities that India offers, education has all the ingredients to emerge as a game-changer in bilateral relations.

India’s demographic trend will soon see it overtaking China as the most populous country. Currently, over 50 percent of India’s population, or around 600 million, are under 25 years of age. Within the next five years, India will have the largest tertiary age population in the world. Second, the middle class is expected to swell to around 500 million.

With GDP growth rates set to cross eight per cent through sustained high economic performance, the demand for higher education will consistently grow. Coupled with the series of reforms and new initiatives through programmes such as Make in India, Clean Ganga, Digital India, Smart Cities, Start-up India and the like, exceptional possibilities for tie-ups with international institutions that embed education, entrepreneurship, and innovation in their teaching pedagogy have opened up. In addition, the demand for vocational education and training is expected to see an exponential surge. This suggests that India will emerge as the biggest opportunity for top quality international education providers in the 21st century.

India's GDP growth. Image Source: www.moneycontrol.com
India’s GDP growth. Image Source: www.moneycontrol.com

New Delhi is acutely aware of the importance of quality education, without which the benefits of the demographic dividend might be squandered and reduced, in fact, to a demographic disaster. Large numbers of young would be jobless and could easily be lured into criminal and anti-social activity.

Indeed, one of the biggest challenges India faces is the horrific mismatch between the significant demand for education and its abysmally low supply. Archaic pedagogical techniques, coupled with dodgy fly-by-night education providers, have delinked education from employability. Consequently, it is no surprise that a large number of the unemployed are, in fact, educated.

In addition, as geography digitally shrinks and work environments increasingly become multi-cultural, the Indian workforce would need to embrace global standards and innovation. This can only be achieved through education that departs from the 19th-century mindsets to a more futuristic one.

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A systemic transformation of the education system is, therefore, inescapable. At the same time, New Delhi realizes the urgency of the massive challenge it faces in terms of qualified teachers and faculty, schools, universities, vocational training centres and infrastructure.

University of Sydney. Image Source: Reuters
The university of Sydney. Image Source: Reuters

It is estimated that by 2020, India would need 40 million university places, which is an increase of 14 million or two million starting now over the next seven years, and 500 million skilled workers. While online education might address part of the problem, it is not likely to be the solution, especially not in the vocational training sector. The footprint simply has to dramatically increase if the demographic dividend is to substantively contribute to economic growth and wellbeing in India.

The sheer magnitude of this exceptional opportunity makes it an attractive business proposition. Statistics suggest that even if India succeeds in achieving its target of 30 per cent gross enrolment rate by 2020 in the tertiary sector, 100 million eligible students would not be admitted to university because of the shortage of seats.

This lack of supply and the increasing ability of the middle class to pay for higher education in quality institutions allows for Australian and other world-class education providers to emerge as a viable alternative.

Innovative ways of collaborating with Indian educational institutions and vocational training centres would need to emerge as the new strategy. At one level, this entails tapping into the huge unfulfilled demand but for a sustainable model to be built, international collaboration must include joint research projects with partner Indian institutions and the corporate sector.

Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the scale of demand in the education sector would be unprecedented. In Modi’s vision, it is this historic challenge that represents the moment of enormous opportunity and the great responsibility for India-Australia relations. It would be the test of true partnership.

India-Australia relations has never witnessed such expectations and hope among so many that a new chapter in bilateral relations is about to be written. After 30 years of neglection, time has come for collaboration in education and training could provide the much-awaited tipping point. Losing this opportunity will turn out to be a major setback. 

-by Amit Dasgupta for IANS

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Lockdown: People With Higher Education, Income Spending More Time on Hobbies

55.7 % people with higher education are spending time on their hobbies

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50 per cent of people with higher education and income have started spending more time on hobbies. Pixabay

About 50 per cent of people with higher education and income have started spending more time on hobbies including Fashion Trends amid the Covid-19 induced lockdown, according to the latest IANS-CVoter Economy Battery survey.

The nationwide survey indicated that about 55.7 per cent of people with higher education and about 49.6 per cent of those from the higher income group have been spending more time on hobbies during the lockdown.

Also, in terms of gender, 35 per cent male have started spending more time on hobbies, while 38.5 per cent female have started doing the same. However, 50 per cent of female respondents and 49.5 per cent of male respondents have opted for ‘no’ in the survey.

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38.5 per cent female have started spending time on their hobbies. Pixabay

In terms of age group, 42 per cent of people below the age of 25 years have started spending more time on hobbies during the lockdown, while 39 per cent of those between the age of 25 and 45 years have been doing the same since the lockdown was imposed.

As many as 32 per cent of those between 45 and 60 years of age have been indulging their time in pursuing their hobbies, while only 26.8 per cent of those above 60 years of age have been doing the same.

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In terms of educational qualification, 30 per cent of those having lower education have started spending more time on hobbies, while about 45 per cent of those in the middle education group have started doing the same.

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About 32 per cent of those from the lower income groups have been spending more time on hobbies. Pixabay

A similar pattern was visible in the income category. About 32 per cent of those from the lower income groups have been spending more time on hobbies, while about 39 per cent of those from the middle income groups have been doing the same.

The 21-day nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25. While it was to end on April 14, it was extended till May 3 and later to May 17. However, certain relaxations were given after May 4. (IANS)

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The Anatomy of an Essay: Why Every Element Counts

Every component of the essay is Important. Here's why-

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Essay Writing is not rocket science. Here's how you can make your essay persuasive. Pixabay

If you are studying in a high school, college, or university, you must be quite familiar with such a type of assignment as an essay. Depending on the topic and discipline, the contents expected of you in it may vary, but it’s always supposed to be compelling and deliver a particular message in a persuasive manner. However, it’s not any kind of magic that makes your essay persuasive. All you need to do is put all the necessary elements of it in the right places. So, we will try to explore why every component of the essay is essential and what role it plays in your paper overall.

1. Introduce your topic

The first paragraph of your essay must be dedicated to the introduction of your topic. Obviously, the professor who assigned you your task is quite familiar with it. However, you need to present your vision of the topic and explain what you are going to talk about in the essay. If it concerns a controversial issue or a certain idea, it’s important to give context for it, explaining why it’s important and what the different positions on it may be. You don’t have to cite any sources in the introduction, but you have to make sure it ends with a strong thesis statement.

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Introduce your topic in the first paragraph. Pixabay

2. Make a compelling thesis statement

The thesis statement is an essential part of any essay. The success of your overall essay virtually depends on it. A common mistake that students make is that they write a descriptive thesis statement instead of an argumentative one. A descriptive statement just acknowledges the topic you are writing about, which is essentially the same information that went into its title. A strong argumentative thesis statement contains your own positions on the issue, an awareness of the opposing views, and the reasons that make you believe that you are right in your personal opinion on it. Thus, the reader must understand the main message of your essay from the thesis statement.

3. Develop your argument in the body of your essay

After you make a strong thesis statement, you need to write at least three body paragraphs in which you elaborate on it. Every paragraph of the body has its own particular structure. It must open with a topic sentence, the main argument that supports your thesis statement, and signifies what you will talk about in this portion of the text. After the topic sentence, you need to elaborate in detail on how it works and why it’s true. Namely, you need to present evidence. This is the place to put quotes from or references to reputable sources to support your reasoning. The selection of sources also matters, so make sure you have picked trustworthy ones. Do not place a citation at the very end of a body paragraph — it must end with your idea about its content. To make a compelling argument, you have to write at least three body paragraphs supporting your thesis statement.

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Write at least three body paragraphs elaborating your Thesis statement. Pixabay

4. Present a counterargument

Another feature of a persuasive essay is the counterargument paragraph, which is especially important if you are writing about a controversial issue. The topic sentence of this paragraph must state why your thesis statement is wrong or why there are opinions opposing the ones you have. Then, just as with body paragraphs, you need to present the evidence that the opposite opinion is also valid. However, you need to end this paragraph with a refutation of the counterargument and explain that it doesn’t outweigh all the arguments you presented before. The writing experts in RapidEssay say that this paragraph should demonstrate that you are aware of all the facets of the issue and that your position is well-reasoned.

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5. Conclude everything

The last paragraph of your essay must conclude everything you said before. In fact, it’s a short summary of the whole argument, as you need to restate your thesis and write a few sentences about all the supporting evidence that you have brought. Don’t forget to mention the opposing argument and explain why it’s not sufficient to disprove your point.

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As you can see, writing a compelling essay is not rocket science. Unless it’s an engineering essay about rockets. Nonetheless, if you take some time to study the issue and determine your position on it, all you need to do is follow the simple structure above.

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]

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Online Education, a New Normal for Govt and Edtech Platforms

E-learning and online education the new normal for the nation

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Online education and e-learning takeover traditional learning globally. Pixabay

As millions of kids take online school classes from home globally including in India, government along private education sector have a great responsibility to offer online education to more than 60 million college students and 1.5 billion school students worldwide, experts said on Thursday.

Private colleges in India that were already offering online education for last two decades now have a massive surge in e-Learning demand to meet.

“e-Learning or online education is the new normal. In future, we will see the proliferation of information technology tools and gadgets, post-COVID-19. But internet and broadband will remain an issue,” said Professor NK Goyal, Vice Chairman, ITU APT India and former adviser of Gujarat Technological University.

If e-Learning apps like BYJU’s and Khan academy are targeting schools, others like Adda24x7 are offering specialised coaching for entrance exams like IIT and JEE.

 

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Online education will be the new normal. Pixabay

Robust connectivity is undoubtedly critical for the success of e-Learning.

According to Rajan S Mathews, DG, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), post COVID-19, there will be a surge in online education by schools and colleges in the country.

“The telecom industry is fully prepared with 99.9 per cent network capacity. The telecom companies have taken appropriate measures to meet the surge in traffic due to online education and other online activities using telecom infrastructure,” said Mathews.

Union Human Resources and Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank recently said that the government is offering a slew of educational applications and platforms for both school and higher education institutes.

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Online education to be new normal for 1.5 billion students across globe. Pixabay

In addition to teachers, Nishank urged parents and students to make maximum use of online education to ensure their academic continuity is maintained.

The World University of Design (WUD) claims that it has collected materials for online learning across its courses during the last one year.

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“WUD is using technology-enabled AI, supervision technologies and video conferencing and other tools to enable virtual learning. This includes a mix of online platforms for sharing files, conducting meetings and lectures in association with online services & resource providers like Coursera, Bloomsbury, EBSCO etc. as partners in its strategy,” said Dr Sanjay Gupta, Vice-Chancellor, World University of Design (WUD). (IANS)