On 16 July, 2021, India launched the School Innovation Ambassador Training Program (SIATP). The initiative was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan and Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda for fifty thousand school teachers. The Program is a collaborative effort of the Innovation Cell of the Education Ministry, Tribal Affairs Ministry, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Central Board of Secondary Education.

The innovative effort is one of its kind, which intends to train school teachers on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property Rights, Design Thinking, Product development, Idea generation, among others. The training will be imparted online and based on a similar program by AICTE for higher education teachers. The aim is to make Indian educators change agents in the society and ambassadors of innovation to make students future-ready under the New Education Policy. Along with this, the Tribal Affairs Ministry has also launched the Adi-Prashikshan portal which is a repository of training materials especially for the Eklavya Model Residential Schools and others.

Speaking on the occasion, the Tribal Welfare Minister said that ‘SIATP’ will give wings to the creativity of the children and provide a platform so that they can give something new to the world with their ideas. The education minister mentioned that technology is reshaping the world and our students have the potential to not only address domestic but also the global challenges.

The SIATP will benefit India’s education curriculum by making it more vocational-training friendly. By a combined approach of the institutions, the tribal students in backward areas of India will be benefitted from this online approach. Increasing creativity of students and making them aware of the possibilities and challenges in the fast-changing competitive world is essential for success of the New Education policy that was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi government last year.

India is witnessing a high surge in entrepreneurship with a 15 percent growth of Start-ups year-on-year. The recent inclusion of 10 start-ups in the +1billion dollar Unicorn league which took the number of unicorns in India to over 50 is symbolic of the growing depth of successful innovation in business. These have been made possible by the innumerable talented youth hailing from incredibly diverse Indian societies.

India has largest number of tribes compared to any country in the world. The 461 odd tribal communities contain a treasure trove of ancient learning, opportunities and talents. Unfortunately, Indian education has yet to successfully provide the tools of modern education to its backward tribal areas. The same is true for many poor students who depend on public education system.

The new policy which focuses on teachers as the primary resource in education and makes them available the proper training through the digital training is a step in right direction. The government of India’s push to use both tele-education and online-education as digital accessibility is growing fast in India will prove to be a game-changer in the coming decades. India’s large youth dividend due to young demography where 50% of the population is below 29 years provides once in a lifetime opportunity. To benefit from this, the Indian government will need to accelerate the skilling of its students to take on the new technology environment. India’s experience in education can be widely adopted by developing countries in the UN and the NAM grouping. The vast majority of countries in Africa and Latin America are primarily facing similar circumstances as India. The recent Indian commitment to support NAM states for efficient, effective and responsive discharge of health obligations shows the extensive cooperation among the developing countries and India’s role as a leading partner in the grouping.

The SIATP is a model platform which if successful will uplift Indian students to take up major roles in transforming their society. There is a significant opportunity to use the digital education and skilling platform for teachers for the benefit of the global commons. The pandemic should not hamper our spirits as children stay locked in homes and lives get affected. This is the time to step up the innovation to turn today’s challenges into opportunities for future generations.

Photo Credit : https://twitter.com/dpradhanbjp/status/1415933508871024640/photo/1