– By Dr Rahul Kumar, Senior Journalist & Media Columnist
A day-long session of the 5th Prof. Vijay Kapur Memorial Seminar on “Aspects of Skill-development in India” was held here in Delhi on May 11, 2019. It was organized by Prof. Vijay Kapur Memorial Institute of Applied Research. This event is held every year in the month of May to commemorate the rich contribution of Prof Kapur, a former IAS officer and advisor to the Vice-chancellor Indira Gandhi Open University (2009-2011), in the field of academics international exchange of students and applied research.
The seminar was inaugurated by Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Dr. Mukesh Sabharwal by unveiling the journal ‘Vijay Perspective’, which is a collection of research articles by the participants. Dr. Sabharwal in his inaugural speech recited poems hailing the role and dedication of Indian army soldiers in the defence of the country. Through his poems, Dr Sabharwal made an attempt to throw light on the life of Indian army officials and soldiers. His poems not only provided an insight into the lives of army men but also provided an understanding of their spirit towards life.
On the occasion, Shri. B.S. Baswan, a former IAS officer, offered an analytical view of his article ‘Owning education’. He narrated the difference between merit good and public good education and concluded that both had its role in Indian education system. He said that school education in rural areas is largely a public good, but in larger cities it becomes a merit good. He said that the states have to fill in the gaps to implement ‘Right to Education Act’ and even dictate terms to private education providers. Baswan also questioned the technical education in the country and advised that there should be more of applied research and field research to know the realities of the rural world.
Molly Chatterji Sinha in her presentation mentioned the scenario of skill development in the country. In her article, she pointed out the gaps in the existing education system and how major emphasis is being given to the theoretical understanding of subjects. Therefore, there is a need to bridge the gap between education and unemployment and a need to push the skill-based education and training.
Dr Saibal Kumar Pal spoke on the role of women in technology and the new opportunities and challenges in creating a women-friendly and gender neutral workforce for technology-dominant organisations. His article aroused a lot of questions around women’s situation in the patriarchal set up and how we as society define and groom roles for women. Dr Sadananda Sahoo, Anuja Tripathi, Tapati Pandit, Shailbala Mishra, Priyanka Sharma, Molly Chatterji Sinha and Jyoti Saini joined the discussion on discrimination and biases against girl-child in general and women in particular.
Jyoti Saini in her presentation spoke about understanding of motherhood and infertility and how it is a social and medical issue. Her article tried to highlight the perspective of both service providers and patients who are being treated for infertility. Based on primary data, she mentioned about situations of women patients and how they are looked down if they are not able to achieve the glorified status of a mother.
Dr. Ashwani Mahajan, a known environmental activist, explained the problem and issue of BT cotton and the scenario of genetically modified crops in India. He elaborated on its negative impact and the need for a policy-draft.
Vijay Kumar Soni and Dr Sadananda Sahoo jointly presented a paper on “Why skill is more important than education in Silicon Valley”. They highlighted the changing dynamics of entrepreneurship, employment and education among the Indian diaspora in the US.
Dr Vikram Kapur in his paper, “Creative Writing in Higher Education” brought forth the aspirations of young writers and how professionals from engineering and technology were earnestly taking up creative writing as a hobby. He highlighted that the trend of creative writing is slowly gaining momentum in the country and is being seen as an alternate vocation.
Prof Nandini Sinha Kapur, president of Prof. Vijay Kapur Memorial Institute of Applied Research, who is the main spirit behind organising the seminar, proposed a vote of thanks and assured her continuous support in organising the event. Aditya Kapur facilitated the smooth-running and coordination of the seminar.