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Covid-19 pandemic nudged Karnataka to digitise, ensure inclusivity in education: C N Ashwathnarayan

Karnataka Higher Education Minister C N Ashwathnarayan said measures were being taken by the state government to make quality education accessible to those who were socially and economically disadvantaged.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
November 10, 2021 7:26:39 pm
Karnataka Higher Education Minister C.N. Ashwathnarayan. (File Photo)

Digitising content during the Covid-19 pandemic to enable continuous learning at higher educational institutions have set the state government moving in the right direction to ensure inclusivity in education while beginning to implement the new National Education Policy (NEP-2020), Karnataka Higher Education Minister C N Ashwathnarayan said on Wednesday.

“While content is being provided through the newly developed Learning Management System (LMS), internet-enabled smart classes are being developed across the state. The government is also providing a device to each student in polytechnic, engineering and degree institutions to ensure students even beyond Bengaluru are not deprived of any learning facility,” he explained.

Ashwathnarayan added that such measures were being taken by the state government to make quality education accessible to those who were socially and economically disadvantaged.

He was participating in the first episode of the ‘Educating States’ webinar series organised by The Indian Express and Adobe, which aims to understand the need to bridge the digital divide and make e-learning a part of the new normal.

When asked about the autonomy NEP-2020 offers to institutions, the minister said the government was trying to offer autonomy at the institution-level “as early as possible” to ensure the process is decentralised. “We want representatives from the local community to be included in the Board of Governors and Board of Managements of higher education institutions, we want them to be important stakeholders in the process of imparting education,” he said.

The minister added that the government at present was “prescribing the minimum” to institutions. “Institutions will be permitted to avail whichever facility they can from their counterparts or from the industry. Ultimately, we want the students to learn as we are moving at a fast pace towards globalisation and we cannot wait anymore to transform our society,” he added.

Ashwathnarayan said the government was “not trying to hold on” to the autonomy of institutions at any level but was trying to bring in some uniformity to begin with.

Further, Ashwathnarayan spoke of the state government’s plans to reach out to more industry players to bridge their gap with curriculum and skill development. “Our collaborations with them (industry majors) will ensure that students are employable, industry-ready, and relevant with skills around emerging technologies,” he asserted. This would also help the state to be ahead of others in terms of employability, he added.

Highlighting the goals of implementing NEP-2020, Ashwathnarayan said it is expected to bring in more emphasis towards empowering institutions and thereby encouraging students to get over rote learning. “While education was largely meant only to pass examinations and to acquire a new qualification, meaningful learning was missing in the then existing education system. This was denial of the right to education to our children,” he remarked.

In a panel discussion held on the side-lines of the minister’s interaction, various nuances on the ‘Need for Inclusivity in Education’ were deliberated upon by Karnataka State Higher Education Council Executive Director Prof Gopalkrisna Joshi, Collegiate Education Commissioner Pradeep P, Registrar of CHRIST (Deemed-to-be-university) Dr Anil Joseph Pinto, and Supreeth Nagaraju, Head- Education, Digital Media, India and South Asia, Adobe.

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