BRIDGE Briefings: A bridge across the learning divide | brunch | Hindustan Times
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BRIDGE Briefings: A bridge across the learning divide

With a desire to bridge the gap between what our educational institutions deliver and the needs of the industry in skills and competencies, an inaugural brainstorming session was organised on December 11 in Gurgaon.

brunch Updated: Dec 21, 2013 18:12 IST
HT Initiative

The skills gap in India Inc. is enormous. Most human resource professionals are of the view that close to 60 per cent of graduates in India are not geared up to meet the requirements of the industry. Our IT industry alone recruits between 200,000 to 300,000 students every year but not more than 15 per cent are in a position where they can be put on the job. Clearly, there is a huge disconnect between the needs of the industry and the quality of graduates being churned out by our academic institutions.


Using technology to bridge the gap between what our educational institutions are delivering and the needs of the industry in skills and competencies, was the focus of the inaugural ‘BRIDGE Briefings’, a stimulating brainstorming session organised by BRIDGE School of Management on December 11 at its first learning c in Gurg entre at Gurgaon.

Delivering the keynote address on ‘Educating the Indian workforce to drive economic growth,’ Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and former CEO of Infosys and chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, said with as many as 50 per cent of Indians below the age of 25, India was on its way to becoming the youngest nation in an ageing world. “People’s aspirations have been unleashed because of greater Internet reach and more media. When everybody’s aspirations are extrapolated over a million people you have a volcanic mass of aspirations,” said Nilekani.

From left: Professor Henry Bienen, former President of Northwestern University, Professor Dipak Jain, former dean of INSEAD and Kellogg School of Management, Hindustan Times Executive Editor Rajesh Mahapatra, Professor Thomas Gibbons, Dean, School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern University and Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media Ltd, at the BRIDGE Briefings event


The challenge of providing quality education to a large section of people can be met using innovation and technology, added Nilekani. “Innovation and new technology are particularly relevant in a country like India in bringing quality, speed and scale to provide quality education to a large section of people,” said Nilekani.



Kicking off the discussions, Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media Ltd, said one common lesson from the success stories of most leaders was the crucial role played by education. “A group of students I recently interacted with was discussing whether to invest their valuable time and money in pursuing an MBA. The advent of technology and online media has made it possible that education doesn’t remain the preserve of a gifted few. Thanks to the Internet, you have the flexibility of timing. The BRIDGE School of Management is one such initiative where we hope to bring education to millions of students who have been denied this so far,” added Verma.



In the nation’s education landscape, no one has been catering to the working professional, said Rajesh Puri, CEO, India Education Services Private Limited. That is the audience the BRIDGE School of Management, launched by India Education Services Private Ltd, a joint venture between HT Media Ltd and Apollo Global Inc (USA), seeks to address. “Since working professionals are short on time, they can’t really venture out of their offices. Still, their employers want them to upgrade their skills. So, what we’ve done is brought the world’s best technology into our school and given the students the option to study online for about 80 per cent of the time,” added Puri.



Nilekani’s keynote address was followed by a lively panel discussion on ‘The Changing Trends and Future of Continuing Education’ featuring HT Media Limited CEO Rajiv Verma, Professor Henry Bienen, former President of Northwestern University, Professor Dipak Jain, former Dean of INSEAD and Kellogg School of Management and Professor Thomas Gibbons, Dean, School of Continuing Studies at Northwestern University, moderated by Hindustan Times Executive Editor Rajesh Mahapatra.



The evening concluded with a second panel discussion on the subject ‘Will technology be a game changer for continuing higher education in India?’ featuring Adam Gutstein, Vice Chairman, PwC, Professor Dipak Jain, Professor Thomas Gibbons and Dr Mukesh Aghi, Board Member and CEO, L&T Infotech Limited.



From HT Brunch, December 22

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