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One Globe 2012: Uniting Knowledge Communities: A few snippets from Day 1

At the outset, allow me to state that the content below, is in no way comprehensive towards the entire day’s proceedings as I did not sit through every session from beginning to end.

The agenda for this day’s sessions can be found here.

I have captured snippets of information that came my way, and reproduced them to the best of my memory here. Kindly excuse brevity, if any.

Opinions here are of Speakers (attributed wherever possible), unless italicized (which are mine).

In case you find any errors, feel free to leave a comment with the correction and it shall be updated.

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10:05–10:25 — Session Topic: “The Role of Education in Economic Development”

There seems to be some correlation between Economic Growth and Educational Development.
Both could go up, or one could go up while the other goes down, or both could go down.
Up-Up, Up-Down, Down-Up, Down-Down
I am not exactly sure where India lies, but my guess is, both are up – with the Economic Growth a fair bit stronger than Educational Development.

The impediments to education and economic development were stated to be as follows –
– Need government to put in place blueprints that can be built upon by private sector
– Need to build physical infrastructure
– Need to build digital infrastructure
– Need large numbers of trained human capital

Stronger impact of education seen on
– Undergrad education rather than Higher education
– Women rather than Men

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10:30–11:05 — Opening Keynote: Hon’ble Minister Kapil Sibal

Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India

There are plans to set up a Meta University, a Facebook of Institutions if you will.
Universities join into a classroom where students from across the country can congregate to earn a degree.
It allows for two major advantages –
– Reduce travel time and cost
– Provide the ability to create courses for yourself

Plans in the offing
Time Horizon: 6 months: National Knowledge Network to connect 31000 colleges and 600 universities
Time Horizon: 24 to 30 months: Broadband connectivity using fiber/wireless for all villages

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11:05–11:30 — Fireside chat on “A Global Perspective to Higher Education in India”

India should look at adopting U.S. model when it comes to PPP (Public-Private Partnerships), viz. allowing trusts to be created and run by professors.

Foreign universities are expected to deposit earnest money to the tune of 11-12 million USD with Government of India.

India holds competitive advantage for U.S. – the U.S. has had knowledge economy partnerships with countries like India since Y2K.

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11:05–11:30 — Fireside chat on “A Global Perspective to Higher Education in India”

Ron Somers, President, U.S.-India Business Council

Top global education institutions –
– Have nurtured their brands for centuries
– Would want to control curriculum / faculty
– Would like to pay globalized salaries to their faculty

There is a shortage of US business leaders who understand India
They would like nothing better than for B-schools in India to create a course (X-MBA) for them

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11:30–11:55 — Session Topic : “India’s Demographic Challenge in Skills Development”

Loans for animal husbandry
75% of loan amount is interest-free
Model has sustainability – over 90% repayment

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11:55–12:20 — Session Topic : “Creating Skills for a 21st Century Knowledge Society”

Dr. Shailendra Raj Mehta (Duke University, IIM Ahmedabad)
During the 50th anniversary celebrations at IIMA in December 2011, the majority of alumni mentioned that the most important course they studied was WAC (Written Analysis & Communication).
Many of them also mentioned that the most helpful course was OB (Organizational Behaviour).
That is because, as you go higher up the Corporate ladder, 90% of problems you face are about Conflict Resolution and Stakeholder Management.

Indians do succeed in the Corporate world but success is about giving and accepting leadership.
Indians are good at accepting leadership roles, but not so great at giving leadership (aka relinquishing control).
Hence it can be said that a lot of Indians succeed well as individual performers, but not necessarily that well as part of high-impact capable teams.

Janitors assigned to faculty at IIM Ahmedabad have a 10 hour shift, out of which at the most 2 hours goes towards actual janitorial work.
They asked a janitor to play with a computer for the remaining 8 hours.
After a few days, the janitor’s first attempt at making a diagram in Microsoft Powerpoint turned out to be the most artistic rendering of a diagram Dr. SRM had ever seen.
This dawned the realization that even someone who cannot read or write can create content on a computer as it is about identifying symbols (keyboard letters in this case) and recreating them.

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11:55–12:20 — Session Topic : “Creating Skills for a 21st Century Knowledge Society”

Vocational institutes in India do not have resource generation capabilities.
Their monies end up going to state treasuries.

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11:55–12:20 — Session Topic : “Creating Skills for a 21st Century Knowledge Society”

There are 3 skillsets that matter for success in the global workplace –
– Solve problems and think critically
– Work with global teams
– Communicate
(Indian) Managers are supposed to be weak on points 2 and 3 – however, these are skillsets that can be taught.

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11:55–12:20 — Session Topic : “Creating Skills for a 21st Century Knowledge Society”

India had Taxila university in 5th century B.C. which was a confluence of learnings from 4 different cultures – Greek, Persian, Chinese and Indian.

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12:20–12:35 — Spotlight Session on “Learning to learn”

Anshul Arora, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Edvance Pre-Schools

What leads to learning?
– Comfortable environment
– The ability to provocate learning
– Activity-based experential learning

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14:00–14:25 — Session Topic: “Enabling Human Capital to Compete Globally”

At Harvard Business School, they build physical shells for cross-university dialogue between students.

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14:00–14:25 — Session Topic: “Enabling Human Capital to Compete Globally”

Spending on Defence and Education across the World

USA - D 19.0% - E 17.0%
UK  - D  5.5% - E 13.0%
Ger - D  3.5% - E 12.0%
SA  - D  4.4% - E 19.0%
UAE - D 47.0% - E 27.0%
Chn - D 17.0% - E  8.0%
Ind - D 12.0% - E  7.0%
Pak - D 17.0% - E  5.5%

USA, UK, Ger, SA – more stable
Chn, Ind, Pak – insecurities of stability
Chn, Ind, Pak – also need to realize that these countries have to serve a much larger population base

There seems to be a correlation between Knowledge -> Security / Instability.

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14:00–14:25 — Session Topic: “Enabling Human Capital to Compete Globally”

4 things required to enable human capital to compete globally –
– Curricula
– Standards
– Certification (?)
– Testing

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14:00–14:25 — Session Topic: “Enabling Human Capital to Compete Globally”

International Organization for Migration, Geneva
It is the body through which countries sign Human Resource Mobility Partnerships with each other.
Countries negotiate with each other to arrange for migration of people to places where there is unavailability of labour.

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14:00–14:25 — Session Topic: “Enabling Human Capital to Compete Globally”

Foreign national on Employment visa to India must have a minimum salary of USD 25000 per annum.

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14:25 – 14:40 — Spotlight Session on “Splicing the Discourse: Understanding the Wedges”

Saurabh Johri, Program Advisor, Observer Research Foundation

There seems to be a preference for Private Unaided Education in Indian youth today, except in the states of Tamil Nadu and Bihar.
In Tamil Nadu, which has a large reservation system, there is a high preference towards Government-Aided Education.
It is believed that the preference is largely due to affirmative action and is present largely in the female population.

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14:40-15:05 — Session Topic : “Future Cities: Physical infrastructure and design for creation of knowledge cities / hubs”

Building knowledge communities –
– Infrastructure to integrate with city
– Overlap with senior citizens for housing & support
– Active communities

There needs to be a link between
Academia -> Knowledge community -> People in the city

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14:40-15:05 — Session Topic : “Future Cities: Physical infrastructure and design for creation of knowledge cities / hubs”

Need to create (pull of) ICE for people in their cities
– Intellectual
– Cultural
– Educational

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14:40-15:05 — Session Topic : “Future Cities: Physical infrastructure and design for creation of knowledge cities / hubs”

Use existing infrastructure across time zones to recharge negative zones within a city

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16:30–16:55 — Session Topic: “University Partnership and global mobility”

Germany and India have tie-ups between their universities for joint research and aid.
However, the pressing questions that need to be answered are –
– Will the knowledge to manage funds ever come to Indian universities?
– Where is the collaboration to transfer that knowledge to Indian universities?
– Where are the University Management Training centres?
– Where are the Science University Training centres?

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16:30–16:55 — Session Topic: “University Partnership and global mobility”

National Knowledge Commission Report shows –
– Need to revise curriculum for India
– Globalize education

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16:55–17:20 — Session Topic : “Technology innovation in education”

Microsoft India
– Created a multi-mouse to enable multiple students who share a computer in class to make better use of their time and resources
Wikibhasha can be used to translate content from English Wikipedia articles to Indian languages

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17:20–17:30 — Spotlight Session on “The K12 school landscape and ICT market in India”

Parthenon
Boutique consulting firm since 19 years
400 projects across 60 countries

Survey of Top 100 cities in India showed –
– Population willing to afford >20000 INR as annual fees
– 16 million students
– 1500 schools

Opportunities for revenue are not linear, but exponential.
Can be seen by the movement of the normal curve across a fixed vertical line of affordability.

Population willing to afford >40000 INR as annual fees.
Income levels (?) growing at 15% p.a. – slightly more than double every 5 years.
Pricing in schools is growing at 6%-7% p.a.
This shows that there is no demand/supply shortage since otherwise there would have been inflation.

Premium schools are smaller.
All things being the same, parents choose (classes with fewer children) smaller schools to allow for more personalized education.
Large schools in the context of this study are schools with approximately 400 students.
Looking at this, we can say that behaviour of parents is rational.

The study shows that success strongly depends on how quickly you scale up.
If you miss your targets in the first 1-2-3 years, then the study shows that schools are unable to recover.

Profit margins for the successful schools are at levels of 40% of surplus.

Success in running schools lies in understanding dynamics for every school you open.
In a given location, the differentiators between schools are price and curriculum.
Starting schools is, hence, a hyper-local business.

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17:30–17:40 — Spotlight Session on “Is Connectivity an Imperative for a Knowledge Society in the 21st century?”

It was found that low cost mobile handsets were unable to connect to data networks due to grey market chips.
This provided the learning that networks have to be made as simple as possible to allow connectivity for the maximum user base.

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17:40–18:15 — Session Topic : “Innovation & Inclusive Growth”

Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister, Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations

Government of India has declared 2010-2020 as the decade of Innovation.
They have institutionalized the National Innovation Council to drive the policies and execution required for this endeavor.
The NIC drills down in two forms – regional across states and into industry across disciplines (e.g. bamboo, diamond, pharma, textile, etc.).
It is said that the poor work on the problems of the rich, but there is no one solving the problems of the poor.
A fund has been set up with a corpus of INR 5 bn to help inclusive growth using innovation for the bottom of the pyramid.

USD 5 bn has been invested in creating National Knowledge Nodes on a network with a 40 GB/s network backbone.
As of today, 1000 out of the 1500 nodes are live.
This network will connect colleges from across the country and allow for creation of local content and applications.
The key will be figuring out how to use this network.

USD 6-7 bn is being invested in connecting 25000 panchayats (5 villages, or 5000 people per panchayat).
This will cover 125 mn people to the national network within the next 24 months.

A lot of this is being done to enable the infrastructure to serve the Right to Information Act.

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17:40–18:15 — Session Topic : “Innovation & Inclusive Growth”

ISIR looks at innovations across the country.
Recently, when 20 of their best innovations were evaluated, it was ascertained that 10 of these are strong enough to become businesses worth USD 1 bn each.

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17:40–18:15 — Session Topic : “Innovation & Inclusive Growth”

India will need to sustain 8%-10% economic growth for the next 20 years to help reduce disparity between –
– Rich and Poor
– Urban and Rural
– Educated and Uneducated

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17:40–18:15 — Session Topic : “Innovation & Inclusive Growth”

The success of innovation depends largely on two important levers –
– Affordability
– Scalability
We have seen the growth that happens when these two levers are managed, as has been the case with the telecom industry.

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