InnoVidya meeting: Changing Higher Education – 26 Nov

The gap between what our engineering colleges produce and what our industry would like to consume is widening, and will become an increasingly severe problem for the health of the software industry in India. Everybody realizes there is a problem, and there are lots of people working on this issue from various angles. Entrepreneurs are rushing in to fill the gaps, educators, especially those in independent institutes are trying interesting new experiments, and social media has the potential to change everything. InnoVidya is a platform that aims to bring together the people at the forefront of this revolution.

On November 26, we invite you to the first InnoVidya event – where the speakers will include Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Director of CoEP, Mohit Gundecha, CEO of hot and recently funded startup, YourNextLeap, and Arun Prabhudesai, CTO of My Open Campus, a startup that aims to change how students interact with everybody. But the excellent line-up of speakers is not the main reason to attend this meeting – come for the audience: trustees of colleges, directors and HODs of educational institutes, heads of software companies who are desperately searching for solutions, and other Pune entrepreneurs who are looking to get rich as the Indian education system is forced to transform itself by inexorable global changes.

This is a free and open event, on Saturday, November 26th, from 10:30am to 12:30pm, at Venture Center, NCL Innovation Park, Pashan Road. Please register here.

Agenda for this Meet

  • 5-minute InnoVidya Introduction by Raja Bellare
  • 30-minute talk by Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Director CoEP + 15 min Q&A
  • 20-minute pitch by Mohit Gundecha, Co-Founder & CEO YourNextLeap + 10 min Q&A
  • 20-minute pitch by Arun Prabhudesai, CTO MyOpenCampus + 10 min Q&A
  • followed by free time for hallway conversations.

Higher Education in India – Changing Scenarios – Anil Sahasrabudhe, Director, COEP

Anil is the Director of College of Engineering Pune (COEP). Anil joined COEP as the director in 2006. He holds a vision to take COEP to the next level with a view to enriching the life of every student who enters COEP.

Anil will talk about the changing scenarios in higher education in India.

Anil did his BE Karnataka University (Gold Medalist) and has a PhD from IISc Bangalore. In the past he has been a researcher at IISc, faculty at NERIST, Itanagar, and Professor at IIT Guwahati.

YourNextLeap – Smart Career Counseling and College Decisions

YourNextLeap is a recommendation engine which acts as a virtual career counselor to help students make smarter career and college decisions. It involves a suite of applications, which use psychometric evaluations and math models on past admission patterns, to give out personalized suggestions. Team YourNextLeap is excited about its mission to enhance the way millions of students and young professionals treat their careers. The team comprises of students from top US and Indian universities like BITS, NID, COEP, PICT, USC and Stanford University. More at http://yournextleap.com

About the Speaker – Mohit Gundecha

Mohit is the CEO & Co-founder of YourNextLeap. He was an early team member and head of India Operations for mig33, a mobile community with more than 50 million users. Prior to mig33, Mohit studied at Stanford University, where he co-founded Mobile Momentum with Prof. Tom Kosnik. Mohit has also co-authored a widely referenced mobile industry report, ‘Future of Mobile VAS in India’.

My Open Campus – Online Community for Faculty, Students, Employers and others

My Open Campus brings seamless collaboration to colleges, communities and closed user groups . MOC aims to bring all stakeholders (for e.g: students, faculties & administrators in a college) on single easy to use unified platform, where they can communicate and carry out all regular activities online.

MOC offers secure messaging, online assessments & exams, Information repository, student & Alumni groups, event management, Student database management, discussion forums, placements along with host of other features..

The vision of My Open Campus is to create employable intelligent students. There cannot be knowledge enhancement in an isolated and restrictive environment. Hence MOC brings together all stakeholders on a single platform to make learning a fun & social activity.

About the Speaker – Arun Prabhudesai

Arun is the CTO of Enhanced Education, the company behind MyOpenCampus. Having worked for over 15 years in I.T Industry across the globe, Arun returned back to India to pursue his dream of starting on his own. He has been quite active in Startup and Entrepreneur community is always in forefront in advising upcoming Entrepreneurs.

About InnoVidya

InnoVidya is a group of educators and industry professionals who want to reach out to students, teachers, trainers and working professionals and catalyze significant improvements in their learning ecosystems. In addition to the InnoVidya website and the InnoVidya mailing list, we also hold public lectures on the 4th Saturday of every month. Lectures usually involve talks by senior educators, industry visionaries, or social and/or for-profit entrepreneurs working in the space of higher education.

We are currently based in Pune, but we expect that this initiative will expand all over India.

More at: http://innovidya.org

And please join the mailing list: http://groups.google.com/group/innovidya

Venue Sponsor – Venture Center

Entrepreneurship Development Center (Venture Center) – a CSIR initiative – is a not-for-profit company hosted by the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. Venture Center strives to nucleate and nurture technology and knowledge-based enterprises by leveraging the scientific and engineering competencies of the institutions in the Pune region in India. The Venture Center is a technology business incubator specializing in technology enterprises offering products and services exploiting scientific expertise in the areas of materials, chemicals and biological sciences & engineering.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Please register here. And join the InnoVidya mailing list (optional).

Steve Jobs’ advice to Obama on Fixing American Education System

(Cross posted from Shrikant’s Blog)

Just finished Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson. On page 544, last para, he advises Obama in his typical no hold back mode.

Jobs attacked America’s education system, saying that it was hopelessly antiquated and crippled by union work rules. Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was utmost no hope for education reform. Teachers should be treated as professionals, he said, not as industrial assembly line workers. Principals should be able to hire and fire them based on how good they were. Schools should  be open until at least 6pm and be in session eleven months of the year. It was absurd, he added, that American classrooms were still based on teachers standing at a board and using textbooks. All books, learning materials, and assessments should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time.

Please note, all of the above, relevant to India and India’s education system. The question is do we have some like Jobs to get the government to listen and execute.

Lant Pritchett: India’s Battle to Educate the Country

(Cross posted from “Shrikant’s Blog”)

I bumped into Lant Pritchett’s interaction with Indian Express this week. Lant is the Faculty co-chair of the Master’s in Public Administration / International Development Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He discusses various issues with the Indian education system. His insight and observations are astute, profound and the heuristic for what needs to be fixed.  We can fix if there is a will to fix it. Some of his observations are ->

We churn out millions with zero skills

The same system also produces 100,000 students a year in the global top 10%

We have an over ambitious curriculum, more equipped to teach the elite rather than the masses

To educate all of India we need scale down the learning and focus on learning

RTE is one of the most ill-conceived programs, instead of focussing on learning we have just enshrined additional legislation

India does not have any semi-skilled labour, people with basic lieracy, basic numeracy but no advanced skills

Any systems that gives control of hiring and allocation of teachers to parents produces much better results

SSA is popular because it allows politicians to hire more teachers with government air-cover and promote political patronage.

This interaction basically highlights the various issues with India’s primary education system. We pay education cess, the whole country is contributing, but the model is wrong. The structure, the incentives, the process of teaching and learning need to change, if we have to educate India that will contribute to convert the demographic dividend into a long term assets. However most indicators are pointing the other way.

The Pune PhDs List

InnoVidya, in association with PuneTech, is creating a list of everyone in Pune with a PhD degree

There are various different reasons for creating this group.

  1. University of Pune has just announced an initiative for an integrated MTech/PhD program, and I believe we will see some focused effort on getting good PhD candidates for this program. One aspect of this program is that anyone with a PhD can be a guide, even if they are not directly associated with a research institution. We believe that by creating a list of PhDs in Pune we will be able to help UoP in this effort.

    For more information about UoP’s new M.Tech/Ph.D program, see this Sakaal Times article

  2. Having this list of PhDs will help people find local experts in various fields.

  3. My experience is that creating such communities has unexpected benefits, as people find interesting ways in which such a community can be useful.

If you have a PhD and you live in Pune, please join the group (this is a group on LinkedIn. If you know someone else who should join, please let them know, or let us know

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Under Construction

We are a group of educators and industry professionals who want to reach out to students, teachers, trainers and working professionals and catalyze significant improvements in their learning ecosystems.

We are currently based in Pune, but we expect that this initiative will expand all over India.

This website is a placeholder. Please come back after some time and we’ll have more information here. In the meantime, please get in touch with us: info@innovidya.org