Indian Chamber of Commerce

Kolkata, 28th September 2023: The Indian Chamber of Commerce organized its 3rd EdTech Summit, with the theme “Future of Education: Role of EdTech,” on Tuesday, 26th September 2023 at The Park, Kolkata, bringing together prominent leaders, educators, and experts from the education and technology sectors. The event promises to be a platform for in-depth discussions on the transformation of education through technology. The summit centred on two key topics: Higher Education, focusing on the onus of developing tech-savvy, competent for flexible employment opportunities, and School Education, highlighting the role of EdTech in the transition from smart classroom technologies to real-world situations. Notable dignitaries who graced the occasion included Dr. Subhas Sarkar, Hon’ble Minister (MOS), Ministry of Education, Govt. of India; Prof. (Dr) Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, Vice Chancellor, Sister Nivedita University; Mr. Pradip Agarwal, CEO, Heritage Institute of Technology; Mr. Jaydeep Saha, CEO Empwr.ed, Singapore; Shri Sanjay Kumar Das, Managing Director, WEBEL; Dr. Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director, British Council East and Northeast and Sardar Simarpreet Singh, Co-Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Higher Education & Training and Director, JIS Group.

Dr. Subhas Sarkar, Hon’ble Minister (MOS), Ministry of Education, Government of India during his speech said, “I have observed that the National Education Policy, along with its educational initiatives, is playing a pivotal role in transforming India. It is commendable to witness how these changes are not just a minor adjustment, but a profound shift that will have a lasting impact on our nation. Some may consider these efforts as a Herculean task, but I beg to differ. It is a matter of pride that we have taken significant steps in this direction. It is said that even small actions can make a big difference, and I believe this holds true for the changes we are implementing in our education system. In the grand tapestry of time, we find ourselves at a juncture where the past and the present converge. It is fascinating to reflect upon the historical roots of our education system, dating back thousands of years. It serves as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of our culture. The education we received from our ancestors, though valuable in many ways, was not without its flaws. The advent of modern education has opened new horizons, expanding our understanding and perspectives. It is heartening to see the integration of traditional wisdom with modern knowledge in the National Education Policy. It is worth noting that this policy emphasizes the importance of nurturing young minds from a very early age. The foundation of literacy and numeracy laid at an early age will undoubtedly shape the future of our youth. These early years are critical, as they contribute to the development of critical thinking, attitude and emotions. Education is not merely a means to secure employment but a path to personal and societal growth. It encompasses not just academics but also physical and social development, echoing the age-old wisdom that life is a holistic experience.”

While delivering the welcome address, Prof. (Dr.) Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, Vice Chancellor, Sister Nivedita University, said, “Edtech has played a pivotal role in reshaping both higher and school education in India, especially accelerated by the pandemic. It’s revolutionised access, making learning more adaptable and engaging. This summit focuses on crucial dimensions, from upskilling faculty to AI-driven language learning, breaking geographical barriers and ushering in a future of personalised learning, aligning education with the dynamic workforce needs. Edtech is shaping the future of education in India.”

While delivering the keynote address, Mr. Pradip Agarwal, CEO of Heritage Institute of Technology and Summit Chair, expressed, “EdTech has the power to revolutionise education, making it more accessible and effective. Our discussions today delved into the myriad possibilities that technology presents in the field of education. The rapid transformation of education due to technology, accelerated by the pandemic, is a global concern. This shift impacts how we learn and teach, prompting a search for innovation and advancements in education. Technology’s influence on schools and instruction is profound, shaping the future of education. We anticipate continued technological advancements, particularly in assessment and inclusive learning. Data-driven edtech ecosystems are emerging, with a focus on redefining learning outcomes. The edtech industry is a rapidly growing global market, poised to fundamentally reshape education by offering personalised, inclusive, and data-enhanced learning experiences.”

Mr. Jaydeep Saha, CEO of Empwr.ed, Singapore, emphasized, “It is a great honour to be a part of this EdTech conference. EdTech is not just a trend; it’s a necessity. It’s inspiring to see India’s commitment to fostering educational innovation. And what I’ve seen is that education is the foundation. We need to build a foundation, which will require a lot of firepower, and that comes from education. In Singapore, I’ve observed a successful model of government collaboration with businesses, aligning policies with corporate needs. This synergy fosters talent development domestically. Unlike Singapore, where skills are nurtured, India lacks a similar approach. We need to bridge this gap and empower our nation, working together to create a brighter future.”

Shri. Sanjay Kumar Das, Managing Director of WEBEL, highlighted the importance of public-private collaborations and stated, “The synergy between government initiatives and private institutions is key to leveraging EdTech for the benefit of all. In today’s fast-paced digital era, the realm of education technology (EdTech) stands as a beacon of transformative potential. To harness this potential effectively, we must recognise that the synergy between government initiatives and private enterprises is pivotal. Through these collaborations, we can ensure that EdTech solutions reach every corner of society, transcending barriers and benefiting learners of all backgrounds. Government support can pave the way for policy frameworks, funding and infrastructure, while private institutions bring innovation, agility, and expertise to the table. Together, we create an ecosystem where the power of technology is harnessed for the betterment of education on a large scale, enriching the lives of countless individuals and propelling our nation towards a brighter future. As someone deeply committed to the advancement of education through technology, I firmly believe that by fostering these collaborations, we can unlock the true potential of EdTech. Together, we can build a brighter future where every individual has the opportunity to access high-quality education, regardless of their circumstances. The synergy between government initiatives and private institutions is not just a key; it is the very foundation upon which we can build a more inclusive and empowered society.”

Dr. Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director of British Council East and Northeast, discussed the international perspective and said, “EdTech knows no borders. It connects learners across the globe and fosters cross-cultural understanding. In my own experience, I have witnessed the transformative power of EdTech firsthand. It has transcended geographical boundaries, bridging the gaps that once separated students and educators from different corners of the globe. Through online platforms and virtual classrooms, I have had the privilege of engaging with a diverse array of learners, each with their own unique backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. The beauty of EdTech lies in its ability to break down barriers and facilitate meaningful connections. It empowers individuals to access high-quality education regardless of their physical location, socioeconomic status, or cultural background. This democratization of knowledge not only enriches the lives of individual learners but also strengthens the global community as a whole. Moreover, EdTech has become a powerful tool for promoting cross-cultural understanding. By bringing together students and educators from diverse cultural backgrounds, it creates opportunities for dialogue, collaboration and the exchange of ideas. Through these interactions, learners gain valuable insights into different cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking, fostering empathy and mutual respect.”

While delivering the vote of thanks, Sardar Simarpreet Singh, Co-Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Higher Education & Training and Director, JIS Group, shared his insights on the significance of this event and said, “Today, we’ve witnessed a convergence of great minds, a symphony of ideas, and a commitment to shaping the future of education through EdTech. As we heard from distinguished speakers on the transformative potential of technology in education, it is evident that EdTech is not just a tool; it’s a catalyst for change. As we move forward, let us remember that the path to a brighter future in education is illuminated by our collective efforts, innovation, and collaboration. The EdTech revolution is not just a trend; it’s a revolution that will shape generations to come. Together, we shall continue to empower and transform education for a brighter and more inclusive future.”

Vice Chancellor, Sister Nivedita University; Mr. Pradip Agarwal, CEO, Heritage Institute of Technology; Mr Jaydeep Saha, CEO Empwr.ed, Singapore.