While one of the important objectives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is to make India, a knowledge superpower,g educationalists educationists and academicians feel that can happen only when it fosters research and incentivises researchers.

“In today’s education field, researchers are neither respected nor properly rewarded for their work. They should be given importance and respect for publishing research papers,” said Ravi Pachamoothoo, Chairman SRM Group.

He was speaking at ‘National Education Policy 2020’, a webinar organised by FICCI in partnership with SRM University and the Hindu BusinessLine .

Pachamoothoo, who is also the convenor of FICCI Tamil Nadu Education panel, added that teacher-industry interaction is more important to keep the faculty members abreast with latest developments in their respective field of research.

“How can a person do research by sitting in the same college for 35-40 years?” he asked and added that the government should bring some guidelines wherein a professor or teacher should work in industry at least for a year after completing four years in teaching.

Sujith Kumar, Vice President - Infosys, said research and innovation are the bedrock to become a knowledge superpower. “For that you need to have a culture of accepting failure but today we don’t allow our children to fail even in school exams.”

Noting that industry and academia are speaking only for placements, Kumar said, “Why should only a faculty take a break and come to corporate? Today we have some of the best guys in corporate who can teach in college as a sabbatical and many organisations do have such policies.”

Terming NEP 2020 as ‘transformational’ in nature, Venkatraman Umakanth, Head - FutueSkills B2B, NASSCOM said the country has been more on the sphere of job fulfillment rather than job creation.

He also added that the focus of NEP is not just on enhancing the technical skills but also the technology of learning such as moving from basic research to applied research.

On the need for increased government spending on education, Mariazeena Johnson, Chancellor, Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology said, the government should first clearly define the ‘infrastructure’ and then spend uniformly across all schools, particularly in rural areas.

“Today every child is given a mobile phone as a solution for online education but is a mere mobile phone enough? Many villages lack even electricity so all this needs to be addressed,” she added.

Lauding the NEP 2020, MV Muthuramalingam, Founder and Chairman, Velammal Education Trust said that making mother tongue compulsory up to 5th grade, three language formula, uniform admission procedure and fee structure for all institutions, allowing students to switch courses, focus on skill-based learning, emphasis on quality teaching process and autonomy to institutions to issues degree certificates will pave way for transformative changes in the education system.

The panel discussion was moderated by N Madhavan, Senior Associate Editor, BusinessLine .

Earlier delivering the special guest address, TR Paarivendhar, Founder & Chancellor, SRM Group said, when NEP was brought in the parliamentary committee, in which he was also a member, nearly 40 per cent of the 30-member committee was reluctant to the policy including Tamil Nadu.

However, lauding the government’s intent in transforming the country’s education system, Paarivendhar said, “Today, none of our universities are in Top 200 universities in the world because in research, invention or innovation, we rely or follow foreign countries. The NEP 2020 aspires to change all that.”