Looking back at EIC2017 Pune

27 JULY, PUNE: Last month saw our first-ever Education Innovation Conference taking place in India, in the city of Pune.

The conference saw 150 attendees from across India, as well as the US, South Africa, UK, Germany, UAE and elsewhere talk about education innovation in India. If AI and robots are coming, and the nature of the workplace will change, how can the education sector respond? How can the sector today help create a workforce that can perform tomorrow’s jobs? To what extend can education technology help? Are public sector universities adequately equipped to be as agile as they now need to be? Where the opportunities for foreign collaboration?

The highlight of the day was The EIC Debate, an Oxford University-style debate on “This House Believes current education technology developments in India will drive to overcome the most critical educational challenges in the country.” Both sides put up a robust defence of their positions and, according to the audience vote, the Opposing side, of Anand Sudharshan, Founder of Sylvant Advisors, and Prof Daniel Khan OBE, CEO of Nisai Skills Academy from the UK, won. The audience had voted that current edtech will not be the main source for overcoming educational challenges in India.

Prof Mammo Muchie from the Tshwane Institute of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa, focused on the existing links between India and Africa, and discussed how these could be deepened through exchanges, greater collaboration and innovation schemes such as the African Talent Hub.

The Innovation Showcase outlined solutions and concepts from across the world of education, including Prof Noémia Certo Simões’s innovative work at ISEL, the Technical University of Lisbon, and Dr Pulijala Srinivasa Rao, CEO of Apollo MedSkills, highlighting the great opportunity and development in the nursing sector in India he had led.

The afternoon saw multiple discussions on the type of education India should aspire to, to help students learn more creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and adaptability, and less rote learning.

The final panel discussions focused on edtech investment trends in India. The panel recognised there is a tremendous potential for investment in the sector, but that scaling has proved to be difficult for edu-entrepreneurs, and investors has come to realise that the sector is more likely to develop through patient capital than quick returns.

If you want to be engaged in our future conversations in this area, make sure you attend EIC2018 in London on 23 January, hosted by the University of London, and EIC2018 in Bangalore a few months later. Email payal@economicpolicygroup.com for more information.