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Difficult Dialogues 2019 to look at education and its myriad facets

twitter-logoPTI | January 25, 2019 | Updated 16:33 IST

New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) The fourth edition of Difficult Dialogues conference this year will focus on education as the most powerful and effective instrument in reducing poverty and inequality. The three-day event to be held in Goa from January 31 to February 2 brings together international experts, policy makers, community level workers and leading thinkers for an engaging conversation on education and its myriad facets. "There is a pressing need to work on policy change and this can only be done by bridging the gap between policy formulation and implementation for which we need to include the last mile implementers in the policy discussion," says Surina Narula, founder of Difficult Dialogues. "This year the task is to explore the challenges that India faces in the education sector and see what needs to be done to bring it back on the path of excellence. This is critical as a good educational system is a must to achieve equality and justice in our society," she said. Difficult Dialogues is an international conference that tackles the most vital issues facing South Asia. The forum hosts intensive discussions between diverse stakeholders ranging from policy makers, academics and civil society, to politicians, and leaders from media, business and international organisations. The conference had addressed issues like global finance and civil society in 2016, health in 2017 and gender equality in 2018. Key speakers at the event this year include University Grants Commission Vice Chairman Bhushan Patwardhan, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge Arathi Sriprakash, AAP leader Atishi Marlena, Centre for Policy Research, President & Chief Executive Yamini Aiyar, Goa Education Secretary Nila Mohanan, World Bank's Higher Education Specialist for India Francisco Marmolejo among others. To capture the voice of students, the summit will host 'Daring Debates' wherein students from Delhi, Ahmedabad, Sikkim, Goa and Puducherry will compete with the regional winners from each city. The need to build world class universities, importance of value education, new threats to academic freedom, education for all, role of technology, financing of learning institutes and whether religion should be a part of education are some of the crucial discussions which will take place at the summit this year. The Difficult Dialogues this year will also look at "weakening" of public education and how the education sector has increasingly been taken over by private players. "Studies show that even parents from low income families prefer to send their children to private schools. The same scenario is found in college education where nearly 70 per cent of students are enrolled at private institutes. "Also, India has never been able to achieve the Kothari Commission's recommended 6 per cent spend of GDP on education," an official statement said. PTI SRY RCJ

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