The future of higher education was the topic of discussion among the academic and industry leaders  gathered in Coimbatore on Feb 13 and the 14, 2019 for the Future of Higher Education – Leadership Conclave, organized by the Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore  in partnership with the All India Council for Technical Education. The conclave looked at the future of higher education from the point of view of the Indian academic institutions, future trends in technology, industry requirements for skilled employees and  the international partnership.

Day 1 of the conclave that took place at The Residency Towers, Coimbatore discussed on the Opportunities groom Institutional, Technological, Industry and Global Perspectives and was inaugurated by the Chairman of KCT, Dr. B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, the conclave had 20 speakers, and more than 250 participants from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and the USA.

Shri Shankar Vanavarayar, Joint Correspondent, KCT
Shri Shankar Vanavarayar, Joint Correspondent, KCT in his welcome address and stated, ‘People seek transformation so it is vital to create an educational ecosystem that delivers the transformation’
Decision makers
Decision makers and forward thinkers who will play an important role in the future of higher education.

As the Chief Guest, Chancellor Viswanathan of VIT University said that India has enormous potentials to provide skilled technical manpower to the world. To make that happen, a concerted effort by the government at all levels is absolutely essential. He said that the ultimate goal should be to make education affordable for all and preferably totally free. He gave the examples of France, Germany and other countries of Europe in providing free higher education. He also said that the India should place the development of faculty as a national priority in order to become the talent pool for the world.

Dr. G. Viswanathan, Chancellor, VIT,
Dr. G. Viswanathan, Chancellor, VIT, the Chief Guest in his talk on The Future of Higher Education – Views of National Leaders in Education Presentations mentioned that the community responsible have to strive towards making the education available, affordable and equitable. 
Dr. Mohammed Khasawneh, Director, Grad Programs, ISE, SUNY - Binghamton, USA.
‘The future directions in engineering education is teaching in interdisciplinary degree programmes’, Dr. Mohammed Khasawneh, Director, Grad Programs, ISE, SUNY – Binghamton, USA. The Guest of Honour of the conclave

Day 2 at Kumaraguru Institutions discussed current challenges and preparation for the future through a panel discussion on Technological Directions and Industry’s Need to Bridge Skills Gap. Top leaders from industry, including representatives from Accenture, Amazon, TCS, Wipro, Ericson, Dell, Mind Tree, Virtua, and Nasscom unanimously said that the outlook for the technological workforce is bright and that Indian educational institutions should prepare tomorrow’s graduates to meet the global competition. They said that the graduates of tomorrow should be prepared to learn new technologies every five years, have strong communication and social skills and be willing to be a global player.

Shri Shankar Vanavarayar.
The panel discussed on Technological Directions and Skill Requirements. This session was moderated by Shri Shankar Vanavarayar. 

Academic leaders, who traveled  from the State University of New York and other international institutions said that in order to meet the future needs of industry and society, the academic institutions should vigorously pursue innovation in teaching and learning, and  interdisciplinary approaches to developing new programs. Dr. Mohammed Khasawneh of the State University of New York said that combining Data Science, Healthcare and Systems Engineering, they have created one of the most highly sought after programs  at the university. He said that the graduates of such a program have been revolutionizing the way the hospitals have been delivering healthcare to patients.