GPSC 2021

Some thoughts shared at the GPSC 2021: 

I am speaking this morning at an event, the Gurgaon Public Schools Virtual Annual Conference with the theme “Changing Landscapes – The Futuristic pathways for Education”. I have written this text ( about 5 minutes reading time) to supplement my oral remarks, as well as to reach out to those who are interested in the theme, but are not part of that event.

1: There is a delightful story about Albert Einstein. The story is that one year when he was teaching at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, it was time to set examinations. When Einstein handed over the exam papers to his teaching assistant, the assistant noted that it was the same paper that Einstein had set for that class the year before. The assistant queried the master, “Isn’t this the same exam you gave this class last year?”. “Yes, yes it is.” replied Einstein. Emboldened, the assistant asked, “But how can you give the same exam to this class two years in a row?” “Becuase,” Einstein replied, “the answers have changed”.

2: The answers to the key questions in education have changed. What do we teach, when, where and by whom? How do we assess learning? Many of you appreciate the nuanced difference between assessment of learning, and assessment for learning. The NEP 2020 has also drawn attention to “ learning how to learn”? We are at the intersection of two big revolutions: the 4th Industrial Revolution ( Klaus Schwab 2016) and the 4th education revolution ( Anthony Seldon 2018) and as if that was not enough ….the pandemic became yet another disruptive force. And we have to deal with them coherently and concurrently.

3: The mobile phones will become the primary  device to access learning, which may then include Augmented Reality  and Virtual Reality for more engaging content. UNESCO has been organising a mobile learning week event from the year 2011, with a focussed theme every year, and has adequately established its importance and usefulness. More information at:

Use of mobile apps and other mobile content will facilitate a shift from the erstwhile practice of limiting the subjects of study to a few to the exclusion of others to sampling a large number of subjects, as proposed in the NEP 2020 irrespective of the marks obtained in them. This helps in becoming a sui generis. And results in a well rounded education. 

4: Focus must shift from prescribed learning outcomes to the process of ‘learning’ itself with the goal of becoming a lifelong self-directed learner.

In 1970 Alvin Toffler had said that the illiterates of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot ‘ learn, unlearn and relearn’. Building learning power as suggested by Guy Claxton ( Transition from ‘Revealed knowledge’ to discovered knowledge. 

For example,the process of photosynthesis is commonly written as: 6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2. This means that the reactants, six carbon dioxide molecules and six water molecules, are converted by light energy into a sugar molecule and six oxygen molecules. To appreciate that there is more to 

photosynthesis than this equation, just try shining light on a carbonated soda drink and notice that it does not produce sugar and make it sweeter. 

5: AInEd Supremacy:  China achieved Quantum Supremacy recently, while Google had demonstrated it in October 2019. The phrase was coined by John Preskill of Caltech in 2012 to describe the moment in time, when a Quantum Computer would perform a calculation that no classical computer could do in a reasonable time. As AI applications are harnessed by both the teacher and the learner to enable personalised as well as mastery learning, the two elements, which Benjamin Bloom identified in 1984 as a solution to the 2 sigma problem. This is the point I label as AInEd Supremacy, where an AI fluent SmartEducator will outperform the best of traditional teachers. The AInEd supremacy will be achieved during this decade with the use of Chatbots, Face and emotion recognition, recommender systems, text to speech, speech to text and machine translation. 

6: The trinity of competence, comprehension and cognitive flexibility must be nurtured as opposed to learning in silos. The sequence of competence and comprehension could be interchanged, depending upon the subject and competence. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to transfer knowledge and skills learnt in one context to another. We have seen in the past motivated typists becoming data entry operators and then with lifelong learning, evolve into a software professional. This has now become critical because of enhanced longevity and an increased working life, but with the half-lives of usefulness of skills continuously decreasing, the emergence of the Gig economy and working from home ( which is really a special case of working from anywhere) becoming the new norm. 

7: While the State has implemented, the right to compulsory education, we as citizens may be inspired by The Fundamental Duties that were incorporated in 1976 through the 42nd amendment of the Constitution. Article 51 (a)(h) states that: It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.

In the absence of a scientific temper we are driven by intuitively strongly held but incorrect assumptions. The Scientic approach aligns the framework to the evidence. All science is tentative and must align theory to experimentally observed data. For example father Sir JJ Thompson got a Nobel Prize in Physics for proving that the electron is a particle , his son Sir GP Thompson got a Nobel prize for showing that the electron is a wave and Louis de Broglie got a Nobel Prize for showing it is neither particle nor wave or both particle and wave; wave-particle duality. And today’s Quantum Technologies that are transforming the world today, are based on this fundamental feature of matter.

We must strive to achieve a situation where most if not all learning is not thrust upon the learner but is ‘consensual’ in nature, driven by the learner’s curiosity and desire to learn. 

They say ‘ it is better to light a candle, than just curse the darkness’. In my attempt at future readiness in an age of Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Technologies, I have created a pool of several short courses and programmes that can be easily accessed with a mobile phone using WhatsApp. 

There are several tracks to be ready for the 4th Industrial Age:

1: All need to be equipped with the success skills needed for the 21st Century. The World Economic Forum has listed the top 10 skills that would be in demand. I have also included ‘ First Principles’ and ‘Computational Thinking’ to form a pool of 12 weekend courses that can be readily pursued through WhatsApp. More information at:

2: For educators, there are 2 sets of 4 weeklong courses. Every educator needs to be updated with the emerging challenges and opportunities to become a SmartEducator. More information at:

Many educators, especially those who are from a Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science/IT background may aspire to progress to becoming an “ AI fluent SmartEducator”. More information at :

3: Those who are at School, College or in higher education would benefit by keeping themselves abreast of recent developments. More information at :

4: The famous Psychologist, Karl Jung had drawn attention to the need for a “ School for the 2nd half of life”. I have created a set of 4 weeklong courses as an initial step in that direction. More information at :

5: Recent announcements are pointing out to Quantum Technologies being the next big thing. The Indian Government is also active in this field:

Towards this, a track on Quantum Readiness is available. More information at :

6: For the occasional learner, who is not ready for a more concerted learning effort, there are a set of 8 one hour learning sessions that can be accessed through WhatsApp during evening, before, during or after dinner. More information at :

7: The future of learning is personalisation. There is a personal mentoring program for those who would like to be mentored/coached by Prof MM Pant. More information at :

If you would want to know more about any of these, or wish to discuss any other matter regarding education and learning, especially with the future in mind, please feel free to send a WhatsApp message to Prof MM Pant at +919810073724

About mmpant

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.
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