Popular practices should be disrupted by creating a paradigm shift,Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe shares his Mantra…

Aug 18, 2017 | Posted by admin in Events & Happenings, Faculty Talk   No Comments »

1.You have taken  ‘Industrial Disruptions and Reimagining the role of education’ as the theme   for this conference .Industrial Disruptions means paradigm shifts in industry , What were  your  thoughts  behind using such a theme for this conference  ?

The steam engine was at the center of the first Industrial revolution. Then came the era of mass production. With the arrival of the Internet, the supercomputers followed and they  were  soon followed by the age of Information-Communication-Technology (ICT).However, the changes brought in by the era  of technological advances like AI, IoT, Robotics are much faster and revolutionary in nature  and will  create  a paradigm shift  in  the practices that were prevalent in the industries for years  together. The ways of doing things will change. The skill based jobs undertaken by humans will be taken over by Industrial Automation and Robots. Cloud computing and sensor based systems will make hitherto impossible tasks easily possible. For example, if a person gets a fever while travelling, the sensor placed in his body will automatically inform the  family doctor who will be able to offer a diagnosis and prescribe medication from wherever he is. The driverless car by Google is the next phase in this story.

2. The beginning of 21st century brought the ICT( Information –Communication-Technology)  revolution in the industry. How do you see the changes that are coming in ,in the systems of production, investment, distribution and profits in this next phase of industrial revolution?

The impact of this change is immediately felt in the services sector. The effects for example are seen in the   OLA-Uber taxis, logistics companies, tourism etc. Earlier the customer faced an uncertainty in locating a taxi and there was always an aura of doubt about the transparency in the transactions. Now the customer has the choice in the selection of a service as and when he needs it because of the well-established ecosystem in this space. This makes the customer’s life comfortable. Options in Affordable transactions, transparency, choices in vehicles, air-conditioned-non air-conditioned transport are the factors that contribute to the customer’s comfort. This heightens the customer’s expectations and also adds to the quality of services and products on offer. The service provider too benefits due to the optimum utilization of available resources at his disposal .The number of stakeholders  in business goes up, thereby  resulting in collaborative innovations. Today we have OLA-Uber in this app-based network;   the yellow top cabs may soon become a part of this service. It is clear that if we don’t face the challenges created by technology head-on, jobs will be lost and so will the opportunities.

3. As the Western countries have less human resources, they will reap the benefits    of automation .Will automation create the risk of Unemployment in our country?

There are advantages as well as disadvantages in this. The Robots will adapt the skills needed to work in the manufacturing/production processes and will work 24 by 7.As old jobs disappear, new jobs will emerge. It is predicted that by the time the children born today come up to the level of graduation, 65% jobs that they will undertake then, do not even exist today.

The usage of things like Automation and Robotics is on a rise in Indian Industries, resulting in accuracy and consistency in the quality of our products .As a result our products are in demand across the world. Technology does impact jobs to a certain extent in the manufacturing sector. However, the jobs needing emotional intelligence and decision making skills will always continue to exist, as Robots will not be able to do them. Creating opportunities for the manpower at the middle level management will certainly pose a challenge to us.

4. Is there a fear of the middle-aged manpower being thrown out of the workforce?

This is not likely to happen any time soon. There should be a good balance between opportunities and challenges. Reliance created Jio and it resulted in disrupting the market. We will need to create such disruptions in every field and we will have to do it on our own. When any business creates a disruption, it captures the market and creates a monopoly .if one doesn’t want to have this kind of a monopoly then industries must collaborate to create awareness about it. They must have a futuristic vision and train their employees to face the change that the times will bring. Education and Industry must join hands to make it happen.

5. Is there a risk of losing our knowledge regime while accepting/adapting to changes created by highly advanced technology?

The importance of one’s persona, inborn talent, intellect and skills will remain constant. But at the same time   having a few selected skill-sets won’t be enough for surviving the constant change in one’s workplace and personal life. Skills like Literacy, numerical ability, science, financial literacy, cultural-civic sense and integrated knowledge will always be needed .And creativity will be vital factor that will be needed constantly.

We are witnessing that young people are getting addicted and committing suicide under the influence of digital games like Blue Whale or similar games/gadgets. When a machine takes control of a human mind, disaster is bound to strike. We can’t afford to forget that’ Touch with Human being’ is the foundation of our educational system. Fortunately for us, compared to our western counterparts, the strong support created by family bonds enables us to absorb and overcome such shocks/mishaps.

6.While one is reimagining higher education, do you feel that there is shortage of basic infrastructure?

These shortfalls are for a short term as disruptions will arrive  in such a big way that things will improve automatically .One of the biggest challenges faced today is that our teachers are not competent  to cater to needs of the students .if the teacher is empowered,  students are bound to  get drawn to the lecture hall. Those teachers that will understand the emerging needs will survive. Customization has become necessary in all walks of life, so it will be in education and customer-friendliness will assume paramount importance in education sector. It should also be noted that Tedex etc have begun to offer online modules /programs without charging a fee.

7. Is the government making any efforts to understand these needs?

The nationwide ‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ organized by MHRD, a laudable  initiative was a manifestation of the efforts being made by the government, to create a confluence of  ideas and turn them  into reality to design solutions to societal pain points/issues by involving youth .With MOOCs gaining popularity, Government has taken the lead to offer study programs/modules through ‘SWAYAM’ .  The Kasturirangan committee is going across to meet up with the stakeholders to understand their views and ideas that could be collated for designing the new education policy. We will also be joining hands with them on this. It is clear that the government will play a crucial role in industrial disruption and education.

8. Is there a fear that the current government focused more on culturisation of education and  that the   original objectives of education are getting side-lined?

It will be nearly impossible to backtrack /revert from the path of industrial disruptions now. This process will no longer remain in the hands of the government alone . Government will play an important role but the disruptions will be driven by the market economy. The autonomy granted to IIMs will create its own advantages. The Industries/corporate are not dependent on government and will have to take all the steps needed to enhance automation.  With the government’s   involvement, the processes will get speedier. Demonetization, GST are  examples of disruptions and although disruptions do create instability for a short while, these will certainly create a positive impact in the times to come. People are quite happy staying exactly the way they are  but such stagnation does not foster growth. The experiments of breaking the popular practices by creating a paradigm shift should be welcomed by all.

9.How important is the teacher’s role in this phase?

Teacher will become a facilitator. He/she should be bold enough to accept that he is not a know-all authority. The 200 young students in the class are tech and media savvy and come to think of it, each one of them has read/referred something or the other, and is bringing the volume to wealth thereby contributing to the collective  know-how of the classroom! There won’t be anymore any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ,’this’ or ‘that’  but ‘this and that’ ! Education won’t be from one to many as it used be, but could be from one to one or many to many ! Inter-disciplinary exchanges will assume importance here.



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