Addressing the STEM image problem needs to be a national priority :
After the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on the 6th and 9th August 1945, the USA was the world’s undisputed technology leader until 4th October 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik. This Sputnik moment was the stimulus for a whole new set of initiatives to promote Science education in the USA. The mission yielded handsome rewards, when on July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot upon the moon in a giant leap for mankind.
Our stimulus for revamping our STEM education efforts is driven by a number of factors: our Bharata Ratna Scientist Professor CNR Rao unequivocally said that 90% of our Universities have outdated curricula, we are just entering the 4th Industrial Age, and several reports, such as the one by PwC project that India would be the 3rd largest economy ( by PPP) by 2050.
Our hope is based on our success in the IT field, which can be attributed to the timely creation of the IITs in the 1960s which was well timed to reap the benefits of the 3rd Industrial Age.
For the year 2020, which is just about 20 months away, we should set up our goal of setting ourselves up for the fourth Industrial Age. This means a massive access to AI knowledge and tools. Andrew Ng has famously said that ‘ AI is the new electricity’, and India could be the powerhouse. But it is a highly challenging goal. We need to drive Innovation, awakening the Innovator within all of us; promote citizen Science and foster lifelong learning as opposed to finite certification through diplomas and degrees. Our mission 2020 should be to ensure that every learner passing class 10 or class 10+2 would have a knowledge of ‘Computational Thinking’ and an appreciation of its applicability in different domains. Every learner in the first 2 years of tertiary education in any stream would have an Understanding of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; how it works and how can it be used. Every University graduate would be able to ‘ Make Sense of Artificial Intelligence’ and know of its applications and understand its implications. Everyone from Kindergarten to an octogenarian would transform to a lifelong learner.
While this should be a national priority, it is not driven solely by the Government. Ideally the movement should be ‘agnostic’ to the Government of the day, and driven by enlightened, informed and committed citizens.
Professor MM Pant
Former Pro Vice-Chancellor
Indira Gandhi National Open University
Founder LMP Education Trust
Promoting Public Understanding of Emerging Technologies
Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation.
Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s.
He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era..
Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada.
He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published.
During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management).
With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT”
Prof. Pant is presently;
• Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education.
• Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan
• Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education
• Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT
• Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training
• Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education.
Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ;
• Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms)
• One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University
• Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
• Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association
With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.