Two Indian origin professors in US explain what India can learn and de-learn from US Education system

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26th July, 2020: On Friday, Ten News organized a webinar with Dr (Prof.) R.K Khandal, Former Vice Chancellor, AKTU as a host and two Indian origin professors in USA as special guests – Dr (Prof.) Bhuvan Unhelkar from University of South Florida and Dr(Prof.) Anurag Agarwal from Florida Gulf Coast University to talk about what India can learn and de-learn from the education system in US and what can be done to prepare the Indian youth for the global challenges that the world is facing today.

Prof. Dr. D.K Modi, Chairman – Dr. K.N Modi Foundation; Anjul Agarwal, Pro-Chancellor – HRIT University, Ghaziabad; Akhil Agarwal, Vice Chairman – Sunder Deep Group of Institutions, Ghaziabad; Naman Jain, Director – Silverline Prestige School, Ghaziabad; Dr. Vinay Khandelwal, Executive Director – KCMT; and Dr. Vihang Garg, Vice Chairman – Hi Tech Institute of Engineering and Technology also participated in the webinar as co-hosts.

While talking about what India can learn from the US education system, Prof. Unhelkar said that the emphasis in education in US is on developing critical thinking or problem solving skills, in contrast to this, Indian education system focuses on delivering instructional or static content rather than developing these skills.

“We should reshape our education system and adopt skills like problem solving, starting early from kindergarten.”

However there are also things like competition in admissions that have stemmed from US and should be de-learned here in India as suggested by Prof. Unhelkar and Prof. Khandal.

Prof. Unhelkar said that the competition destroys the confidence of childrens who are not at the top, and even those who are ahead in the race may suffer from neurotic behaviour in future.

“There should be focus on collaboration and innovation rather than competition in India.”

While speaking about the global challenges, Prof. Anurag Agarwal said that the global challenges including challenges in education systems should be looked at from a long term perspective.

Prof. Agarwal also said that the most important things that people are seeking are happiness, wellness and fulfillment, but all of these things are not part of curriculum in most parts of the world. The focus instead is on mental development.

While talking about the happiness / spiritual curriculum, Naman Jain shared his experience of failing to getting students to do some sort of kriya or pranayama and containing their energy for 15 20 minutes on a daily basis.

Prof. Agarwal said that in the beginning every person irrespective of their age can face difficulty in doing meditation or pranayama even for just 15-20 minutes, but with time it comes into habit.

Emphasising on spiritual education, Prof. Agarwal said that balanced education is important because a person feels incomplete until he is mentally, physically and spiritually developed and he opts for sundry things that cannot give him fulfillment.

Giving example of Sadhguru’s isha foundation program for childrens, he said that they focus on the extra curricular activities rather than the instructional content.

When asked by Prof. Khandal about how curriculum is developed in higher education in US, Prof. Agarwal said that there is a curriculum committee in every institute, if a department wants to change its curriculum then the proposal for the same is given to the curriculum committee, after discussion, voting is held on the proposal, if it is passed then the curriculum is implemented.

Prof. Khandal said that such committees exist in India as well, but still we fall short of students who are industry ready, whereas students coming back from abroad are very well prepared, so what is that the faculty is doing in US that prepares student, asked Prof. Khandal.

Prof. Agarwal replied that here in US, we create industry advisory board and take inputs from the industry for our curriculum every 6 months.

Also, many adjunct professors are appointed in US Institutes who have worked in industry and can share the real world experiences with students at moderate wages.

Anjul Agarwal, suggested that the education should be made affordable in countries like US. Many Indian students who wish to pursue higher education from abroad are not able to afford it. The case studies are also very expensive and the Indian colleges are not able to afford it.

He said, “Foreign universities should made their curriculum and case studies available for free of cost for those who cannot afford to get education there.”

Akhil Aggarwal asked Prof. Anurag and Unhelkar on what Indian B-schools can learn from the top American B-schools.

Prof. Anurag said that there is an application based education in US. Students are given real world problems / industry problems to solve for their projects. This way the students and faculties can interact and get the first hand experience from the industries. It helps students gain confidence.

Prof Unhelkar said that the management students are given a lot of flexibility so that they can shape their interests, for example students can go into data science, data analytics, social media marketing, IOT and sensor etc.

Towards the end of the webinar, Prof. RK Khandal urged the special guests of the day to contribute in the development of Indian higher education and consider teaching courses in Indian institutes as adjunct professors.

Prof. Unhelkar said he can help develop and update curriculums in Indian universities, and can also help by providing case studies.

Prof. Anurag said that he can contribute through participating in “Training the trainer” program, where every rupees spent on training the trainer leverages to thousands of students.



Posted by on Friday, July 24, 2020




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