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21st century, an era of knowledge explosion and rapid scientific and technological progress, has also posed certain questions before us such as what and when to learn, where to acquire it from, how and how much to gather information , modus operandi of applying the same etc. To answer these thought provoking questions intelligentsia from all odd nooks and corners of our country as well as delegates from abroad decided to share their views on a common platform as the college believes that thoughts and aspirations of people change the world. These thoughts and aspirations are the result of the constant struggle for change which is better and advanced than the former. In the field of education the need for change is inexorable. With the passage of time there has been a paradigm shift in education from quantifying skills in terms of grades or marks to evaluating the qualitative aspects of learning, which seem to be have gained importance. Meeting this challenge of the 21st century demands deliberations of the minds that can foresee the transformations of this ever evolving world. Such were the deliberations that took place at the Waymade College of Education on the 15th and 16th of October. The two days saw a confluence of ideas and discussions on “Education for the 21st Century Skills: Choices and Challenges”. The event, i.e. the international seminar organized at the college, was a meeting point of people across India and abroad. There were more than 250 participants who attended the seminar.
Presentations were made on the following themes: Conceptualizing 21st Century Skills, Role of Educational Institutions, Teaching-Learning, Educational Management, Assessment of 21st Century Skills, Research and Success Stories. The seminar was a success in bringing people from across borders both regional as well as national onto a common platform. The driving force behind the seminar was the untiring zeal and conviction of Dr. Sulabha Natraj, Principal, Waymade College of Education. The event was patronized by Dr. C.L. Patel, Chairman, Charutar Vidya Mandal, Vallabh Vidyanagar and was organized under the guidance of Hon. Secretary S. M. Patel Charutar Vidya Mandal, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Prof. M. K. Yagnik, Head, Department of Education, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Prof. Pallavi Patel, Dean, Faculty of Education, Sardar Patel University, Prof. D. R. Goel, Chairman, National Council for Teacher Education, (NCTE) Western Region, Bhopal, India, and Prof. Z.N. Patil, English & Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad, India. Some of the thought provoking presentations were as follows.
In his address Prof. Harish Padh, Vice Chancellor, stressed the fact that there has been a transition in the society and rapid developments in knowledge creation, in a shot span, equivalent to the knowledge creation during the past 50 years. India is lagging behind the developed countries and there is need to anticipate the future developments to make our students productive towards development of the society. There is a need for decentralization of decision making in the education system. Autonomy needs to be granted to stakeholders.
Dr. Kanchana Wattayu, Vice Director, National Institute of Education, Ministry of Education, Thailand, emphasized the need for collaboration between India and Thailand for development in the field of education and reiterated the need for creation of thinking minds. She stated that Thailand is making attempts to train its teachers in ICT and to make ICT an integral part of the teaching and learning process. She also spoke about the spread of ICT education in Thai Education.
Prof. D.R. Goel, NCTE Chairman Western Region spoke on Conceptualizing 21st century Education: Complexities, Choices and Challenges. The focus of his presentation was on defining the word 'skill', and discussing challenges of the 21st century skills. Professor Goel's humane approach and delightful presentation was really appealing and heart-touching. It was appreciated by one and all present at the session.
Dr Z. N. Patil, professor of EFLU made a presentation on "English in the Global Era". The highlights of his presentation were: variations in the English language which are a result of contact with diverse cultures and gradual acceptance of the varieties of English language as legitimized varieties and not as deficient ones; the pedagogical implications of the spread of English across the globe; the objectives of teaching English language viz. confidence building, accuracy, appropriateness and creativity and using literature in classroom for functional competence.
Besides these distinguished speakers, delegates from all odd nooks and corners of the country expressed their opinion and views about the demands and challenges of 21st century and also attempted to arrive at solutions for that. The event, coordinated by Mr. Rakesh Ranjan, Ms. Shamsha Emanuel and Ms. Rucha Desai and guided by Prof. Sulabha Natraj, proved to be immensely successful as delegates arriving here with unanswered questions went back with some solutions. They expressed happiness at the teamwork of the faculty members, the amenities provided to them and systematic organisation and wished that they would like to attend a seminar at this college in future.