March 21, 2021 2:59:54 am
Primary school teachers adapting to technology is an “unsung revolution”, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at the 29th convocation at Nirma University in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
“Look at the unsung revolution happening in primary schools… The online classes to which many of our teachers adapted to very quickly, is something that I would like to talk about at every street corner. Today, every teacher — even a simple primary school teacher — has adapted to all kinds of technology to reach out to their students, who come from very different backgrounds. Not all of them (students) possess a phone in their hand. But teachers have made sure that the communication is kept, learning is imparted and children from diverse backgrounds are kept in the loop,” Sitharaman said at the event held virtually.
The minister said while the situation had highlighted the big disparity among who could access technology and those who could not, teachers have tried to “bridge this gap” and “kept the momentum up”.
“I can, for one, surely tell you that moving from one to another, back-to-back video conferences can be an exhausting exercise. But… these teachers have not betrayed that exhaustion and fatigue, which can set in and, therefore, teachers in our society, particularly in this rapidly setting in of digital era, have done brilliantly for us and no wonder when the Prime Minister speaks of India can be a ‘vishwaguru’ (a global teacher), it is this kind of a quality in our teachers — rapidly adapting to changing circumstances but not losing connection with their students — makes us one of those which can be a teacher to the entire world,” Sitharaman said.
The Union minister appreciated the “entrepreneurial spirit of Gujarat” and acknowledged that businesses often complain that graduates in the country require considerable investment from the companies before they are able to contribute. She added the post-education apprenticeship programme, for which an outlay of Rs 3,000 crore was provisioned in the Budget 2021-22, should help.
“Most of the times when you speak to corporate or business leaders, they do say that India produces a large number of graduates, particularly in the STEM area… but most often, even in those sectors where the churn is a lot more, business leaders say it takes nearly a complete year for them (graduates) to even understand or fit in in the group… It is the necessary skill set for employment which are probably not adequately present even after college or university education, which is why this national apprenticeship training programme is important,” she said.
The minister said negotiations were on with countries such as UAE and Japan — each one according to the skill set that they would need for various kinds of job offers that they have in this post-coronavirus world.
“Most of these countries want our Indian graduates because they contribute with a certain amount of sincerity, with a certain kind of dedication… But that dedication requires the suffusion of these extra skills — whether it is language or certain set of skills, which is required in those particular countries, and we are ensuring that this engagement will give that kind of advantage by which our youth can be better trained,” the minister added.
The Nirma University conferred 59 gold medals to 51 students. Degrees were awarded to a total of 2,380 students, including 52 PhD, 798 postgraduate and 1,530 graduate students. Among the graduating students, 1,557 are male and 823 are female students. Sitharaman reminded the graduating students that with the National Research Fund in place, they have “immense possibilities” to contribute to, and opening up of areas of atomic energy and space programme to private players will lead to their betterment as well as to that of the students who will have the satisfaction of contributing to “premier frontier sectors, which are coming up in the country”.
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