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‘Need to bridge gap between rapid technology growth and education’

Panaji: Eminent Goan scientist, Dr Raghunath Mashelkar on Thursday, emphasised the need for self-learning to bridge the gap between rapid technology growth and the present day education system in India.

Addressing students at the inaugural session of Vibrant Goa’s knowledge lecture series at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), auditorium Dona Paula, the Padma Vibhushan and Gomant Vibhushan recipient said that, the advent of technology like the internet, big data analysis, block chain, robotics and artificial intelligence is making jobs redundant.

“The brawn is being looked after by robots and the brain is being looked after by artificial intelligence. In such a situation what is left for the human beings to do?” asked Mashelkar.

However the eminent scientist said that, the situation was not completely dismal as technology growth leads to more jobs.

 “Young working professionals will need to have people skills, creativity and emotional intelligence to keep pace with the rapid technology growth,” he explained

 The scientist also said that no industry and area of business will be spared in the face of rapid technological growth. Sectors most threatened by technology include health care, media, insurance, finance, education, marketing, advertising and legal professions among others,” he said.

Mashelkar advised the government to welcome technology, make technology transfer a precondition before inviting foreign companies to do business, improve the skill sets of workers in the small and medium scale companies and offer expert career counseling to the youth.

Stressing on the importance of innovation, he explained how innovation was capable of converting knowledge into money. Dr Mashelkar is the chairman to the board of advisors of the Vibrant Goa Summit in October 17-19 this year. “Though India’s position on the global innovation index had improved from number 62 in 2011 to number 52 in 2019, it was still far behind China and this was a worrying thought,” he added.

The lecture series is a precursor to the Vibrant Summit  and Mashelkar spoke on Exponential Technology and Future of Jobs.

A panel discussion by Prof  Varun Sahani, vice chancellor, Goa University, Sunil Kumar Singh, director NIO and Nitin Kunkolienkar chairman, Vibrant Goa Foundation, , followed the lecture.  Sahni, pointed out the deficiencies in the Indian education system by stating, “We are teaching 21st century students, 20th century education material in 19th century institutions. Adding his own perspective to the discussion, Mashelkar admitted that the skill gap was worrying. “In China, they have begun teaching artificial intelligence in primary schools, while children in Amercian schools were comparatively more ready for a rapid technological change than elsewhere in the world,” Mashelkar said.

The knowledge series lecture was aimed at students but members of Goan industry were also present in the audience.  Businessman Rajkumar Kamat, president, Vibrant Goa Foundation and Jagat Shah, chief mentor, also spoke at the event.

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