NEP will rid education of narrow thinking: Pradhan

Union Minister for Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan has said the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will rid education of narrow thinking and reorient the system towards meeting the needs of the 21st century.

He was delivering the convocation address through video-conference at the 10th convocation of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram held on its campus at Vithura here on Saturday.

Mr. Pradhan exhorted IISER Thiruvananthapuram, which is surrounded by natural and cultural treasures, to strive to blend traditional knowledge with a modern approach.

Citing the example of Kalaripayattu, he pointed out the martial art form possessed rich traditional knowledge that had remained confined to the Kalari gurus, but lacked scientific backing. Focus should be brought on such rich traditions to revive the Indian knowledge system and align it with scientific study.

Elaborating on the changing global work scenario, the Minister said the 5G test bed developed by eight leading institutions to create an ecosystem for industry players and startups to validate their products held immense potential.

He said studies in new-age courses such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, logistics and supply chain management should increasingly engage innovators. Citing a study by the World Economic Forum, Mr. Pradhan said 8.5 crore jobs could be lost to automation, while 9.5 crore jobs would be added in the new sectors.

Arvind A. Natu, chairperson of the Board of Governors, IISER Thiruvananthapuram, said the inter-disciplinary nature of the flagship BS-MS programme of the institute provided a solid foundation in all four basic sciences that enabled students to address challenging problems in basic and applied sciences.

IISER Thiruvananthapuram director J.N. Moorthy, who presented the report, said the institute was the first IISER in the country to launch the two-year MSc programmes that aligned with NEP 2020. It would soon augment its Integrated and Interdisciplinary (i 2 Sc) BS-MS programme with a new major in Earth, Environmental and Sustainability Sciences.

Founding director of IISER Thiruvananthapuram E.D. Jemmis was the guest of honour at the ceremony. As many as 204 BS-MS students, 30 PhD students and six Integrated PhD students graduated at the convocation. Six students received their MS by Research degrees on the occasion.

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