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Diversity, Disruption, and Digitization will Transform Education

Dr. Samrat Ray currently holds the position of Dean and Head of International Relations at IIMS, Pune, India. He earned his PhD from Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University in St. Petersburg, Russia, a globally recognized top 100 university according to the QS Ranking. His doctoral research focused on economics and management, covering advanced areas such as Neuromarketing, sensory marketing, behavioral economics, and big data innovations.

Working under the Russian government in a leading research framework laboratory in Moscow, Dr. Ray contributed significantly to the fields mentioned. His thesis revolves around enhancing innovation efficiency in startups, particularly in emerging economies like Russia and India. Possessing three distinguished master’s degrees from premier European and Indian universities in advanced management sciences, he stands out as a versatile scholar.

With more than 50 Scopus-indexed publications in peer-reviewed journals from esteemed publishers such as Sage, Elsevier, Frontiers, and Hindawi, Dr. Ray has established himself as a prolific author and researcher. He holds six international and national patents related to innovation and marketing management, spanning across the USA, Australia, India, and Canada.

Having served as a keynote speaker and conducted management development programs for Fortune 500 companies in Europe and Dubai, Dr. Ray is well-versed in the corporate world. He is also the author of two books on machine learning and artificial intelligence, showcasing his expertise in cutting-edge technological domains.

Dr. Ray’s international experience extends to collaborating with the Dubai Education departments, initiating new courses and training programs. He has actively participated in the Russian Innovation network and Russian education forums.

His research interests encompass diverse areas such as Psychology in marketing, poverty eradication, behavioral economics, and innovation. Dr. Ray has played a pivotal role in IIM Calcutta‘s incubations, contributing to strategy and policy-making for new startups while providing consulting services to emerging companies.

As of the latest scientific rankings in 2023, Dr. Samrat Ray stands among the top 2 percent of global scientists and holds the 47th position in Russia in the field of management sciences, according to the AD Scientific Index.

His significant contributions to management sciences have earned him various honors and prizes globally. In an exclusive interaction with The Interview World, Dr. Samrat Ray shares profound insights into the dynamics of the global educational landscape. Here, we present key highlights from his interview.

Q: What do you envision as the future of education in India within the context of global developments, and what steps do you believe are essential to prepare for and navigate this future effectively?

A: The future of global multipolarity is fostering collaboration among diverse individuals who bring multidisciplinary approaches to shape a robust and effective education system. This system not only promotes holistic growth but also aligns with government agendas for inclusive development and economic progress across all sectors of society.

The era of a unipolar dimension has faded, giving rise to multiple players that are reshaping the landscape of academic infrastructure. The swift changes driven by diversity, disruption, and digitization are transforming global academic policies. Even though the National Education Policy lacks the force of enacted law, the establishment of a global policy framework and government initiatives to liberalize education in India holds immense potential. This move can effectively prevent the export of vital academic resources, thereby redirecting academic integrity towards the nation’s growth.

Q: Global education often raises concerns about equity and access. How can India address disparities in access to quality education, both within the country and in comparison, to global standards?

A: Enabling the active involvement of a diverse range of students from various backgrounds in global strategic leadership at an early stage poses a significant challenge for India. Transforming the traditional approach of Indian academics requires a shift towards more disciplined change management, and this transformation will undoubtedly take time. However, recent government policies have played a pivotal role in reshaping perceptions and fostering a more robust global educational initiative.

The shift has disrupted the longstanding practices of elite schools, paving the way for greater inclusion and wider access to quality education. By aligning with international organizations such as the World Bank and embracing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Indian academic institutions can further extend their reach and contribute to a more extensive academic landscape.

In this evolving educational ecosystem, there is a growing emphasis on fostering grassroot innovation. This approach ensures that innovations and ideas emerge from the very foundation of the education system, creating a more dynamic and responsive learning environment. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts, India can build a comprehensive academic extension that not only embraces change but also accounts for and encourages grassroots initiatives in education.

Q: With the increasing integration of technology in education globally, how can India leverage technological advancements to enhance its education system, especially in remote or underserved areas?

A: Addressing the bottom of the pyramid poses a significant challenge in the context of economic development. This concern becomes even more pronounced when we consider the widespread and diverse landscape of a vast country like India in terms of technology adoption.

To effectively tackle this issue, there is a pressing need for a double helix structure. This structure would facilitate a symbiotic relationship between academic institutions and the business world, thereby creating a level playing field. The ultimate goal is to enhance the accessibility of education and extend the reach of digital startup reforms to the grassroots levels.

Indian institutions, exemplified by the likes of IIT, have made commendable contributions. Particularly noteworthy is their role in fostering the incubation of digital technologies with applications in agriculture. Recognizing agriculture as the backbone of the Indian economy, it is imperative not to overlook its significance. Hence, a more robust educational framework, coupled with open innovation and the gradual integration of cutting-edge technologies, can establish a solid foundation for equitable growth across all academic levels.

Q: Given the changing nature of the global workforce, what skills and competencies do you believe are crucial for Indian students to succeed on the international stage?

A: Acquiring cutting-edge skills in digital transformation, such as big data, which is essentially advanced statistical analysis, is crucial for establishing a level playing field on a global scale. Additionally, fostering an Indian approach to spiritual empowerment can serve as a key differentiator, promoting psychological balance among the youth and distinguishing it from Western ideologies.

Q: In your view, how should educational policies in India be shaped to align with global standards and best practices, while also addressing the unique needs and challenges of the Indian education system?

A: The foundation of the Indian academic infrastructure should rest upon three crucial elements: diversity, digital transformation, and disruption. These components must harmonize with global change management strategies, specifically aligning with climate-conscious and sustainable goals. Simultaneously, they should be seamlessly integrated with the principles of innovation (2i) and inclusion, extending their influence to the grassroots level to address issues of inequality, poverty, and enhance overall quality of life.

This pursuit of excellence necessitates global standards in impactful research, establishing a framework comparable to international benchmarks. Human development is envisioned through the dynamic interplay of academia, corporate entities, and government support—the triple helix model. This collaborative effort is dedicated to incubating novel ideas that contribute significantly to the betterment of humankind.

However, a sudden influx of foreign institutions poses a potential threat, jeopardizing the fundamental vision and essence of the Indian academic system. It is imperative to exercise caution in navigating towards educational excellence. This journey requires a delicate balance, integrating Western thought processes with an Indian perspective. The approach should involve incorporating more indigenous methods of education while embracing the best practices from Western pedagogy. This thoughtful amalgamation ensures a holistic and culturally aligned approach to the advancement of the Indian academic system.

International Institute of Management Studies, Pune
International Institute of Management Studies, Pune
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