What exactly does skill development mean?
We live in a nation where over 60 per cent of the population is below 35 years of age. There are so many under-graduates and post-graduates in our country, but not many are entering the industry because despite their educational qualifications, they are not employable. That is where the problem lies. Methods and modalities in education need to be changed to make these students more employable. Moreover, skill education must be imparted to help students with their creativity, to help them create their own views, understanding and vision. Skilled education is not just industry-based; it goes beyond the needs of the industry.
So how can higher education institutes work towards helping youngsters develop their skills?
We need to make sure that not only the students, but the faculty members are also given skill training. Only then will we be capable of generating a youth force that is educated with a focus on skill development. We must also make sure that educational institutes do not compromise on education, accountability and ethics. We need to develop an educational system that is also not willing to compromise when it comes to taking risks for betterment.
Educationists have been talking about setting up skill development universities. What do you think about this?
We must not look at establishing separate institutions to impart skill-based training, but must integrate the same into all existing educational institutes. Universities must focus on giving higher education integrated with skill training. All the students need is a strong skill set.
There is talk about restructuring the UGC or even scrapping it. What is your view on this?
As chairperson of the UGC’s Review Committee, I have made certain proposals to help in improving the way the UGC functions.
Questions have been raised about the BJP government trying to propagate Hindutva ideology in educational institutions. The appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of FTII, Pune, is one such instance.
When Sharad Pawar was appointed president of BCCI without any experience in the field of cricket, no questions were raised. But when Gajendra Chauhan, an actor by profession, has been appointed as chairman of FTII, why must we make it a Hindutva issue?
The UGC had proposed to introduce Hindi as a major subject at the under-graduate level. Is that necessary?
Absolutely, not. We must teach our children Hindi at the 10+2 level, but there is no way that it must be imposed on the students at the under-graduate level. That said, I do support the idea of introducing old techniques and languages like astrology and Sanskrit to our youngsters.