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DB Tech National Convention explores redefining quality and technology

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Kolkata, Mar. 26. .    Bangalore:    The 8th National Convention of DB Tech 'Redefining Quality and Technology' was held on 20-21 March 2015 in Bangalore.  The convention was held in the context of the inauguration of the Don Bosco Skill Mission (DBSM), a new research and innovation skill training centre of DB Tech in the city. The convention, coordinated by DBSM director, Fr. Remesh Cherian aimed at re-looking at the practices and approaches in the area of skill development in order to achieve the ambitious mission that DB Tech has set itself, which is to train 2.2 million youth by 2022.
Fr. Joyce Matthew, Salesian Provincial of Bangalore, in his inaugural address stressed on the difference between 'building' a nation vis-à-vis 'making' a nation, that is, with spirituality. He spoke also of the need to act like Don Bosco and get into his spirit through this Skill Mission. Fr. Adolf Furtado, Director, Don Bosco Institute of Technology (Kurla, Mumbai),  expressed DBTech's deep gratitude to Fr. Anchukandam the former Provincial of Bangalore for his immense support in achieving the dream of DB Tech and Don Bosco Skill Mission. Fr. Anchukandam presented his final remarks by stressing on 3 C's: Conviction, Competence & Commitment to realize the common dream.

Two research study reports were released during the convention by Fr. Joyce Matthew and Fr. Anchukandam: ''Impact Assessment of DB Tech's Short-Term Skill Training'' by Dr. Joe Arimpoor, SDB, Director, DB ARK; and ''Skill Development Training Needs Assessment - A Cross Sectional Study of Indian Youth'' by Dr. J. Henry Rozario, Associate Professor, Head of the Dept. of Social Work, Sacred Heart College. Presentations on the study findings were also made by the authors analyzing the Youth Situation and Impact of Skill Training in India.

Dr. Mathew J. Manimala, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, gave the keynote address explaining with interesting examples the different levels of 'Quality'. He also suggested that ''We should develop Technology locally and not wait for newer technology to reach us. There is a need to develop qualities of autonomous and independent thinking in order to innovate new technologies''.

The two-day intensive sessions brought out some important insights by Salesians, industry experts, academicians, and civil society torchbearers.

Dr. Shanti Raghavan, Founder, EnAble India, elaborated on emerging themes like the need for skilling and 'attitud-ing' amongst the trainers and the trainees in the first session on Quality Training: Need and Challenge.

Mr. Ranjan Choudhry, Principal, Programme Development, NSDC provided enriching information about the Star Scheme Version 2 to be launched in two weeks' time, and the GoI approval of the Sector Skills Council certification.

Dr. Santosh Mehrotra, Former Director General, Institute of Applied Manpower Research busted two major myths about the numbers adopted by GoI by explaining his estimates about the number of youth to be trained and the predicted labour force in India per annum and shifting from 'job seekers' to 'job creators' through entrepreneurship development in skill training.

In the session on Innovation and Technology in Skill Training, technology experts Mr. Neeraj Agarwal (Co-Founder, Knowledge Podium), Mr. Austin Thomas (Director - Skills Development Network, Wadhwani Foundation), and Mr. Suman Bose (MD and CEO, Siemens Industry Software India) shared their ideas on how to make vocational training aspirational for youth, and how to make use of the available limited infrastructure efficiently and effectively.

Lt. Sanjeev Kaura, (CEO - CSR, Times Group Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.) congratulated DB Tech for already coming thus far with Skill, Speed and Scale. He warned that if 'demographic dividend' is not taken care of properly it can lead us into 'demographic deficit/disaster'.

In the panel discussion on Fostering Innovation: Transformation Models of Skill Training, Prof. Tyagaraj, Executive Director, Karnataka Vocational Training and Skill Development Corporation, moderated the session with two speakers Dr. Wuttke Juergen from German Embassy and Mr. Sean Blagsvedt, CEO,

The panelists talked about how India could develop its own local PPP models of the vocational and technical education system, and give the unorganized sector a digital platform through technology.

Prof. Tyagaraj raised some pertinent questions as to why our innovations are more accidental and less perpetual or regular, and suggested several changes in terms of attitudes and mindsets.

While Mr. Varun Aggarwal, CTO and CEO, Aspiring Minds, presented the AMCAT certification that is 'credentialing a million job seekers', Fr. A. M. Jose announced that the assessment model is going to be implemented at DB Tech in partnership with Aspiring Minds.

The session on Training with a Difference for Employable Skills witnessed professionals from Minds Trainer Academy, BlueSky Learning, PAARFI, Quest Alliance, EnAble India and Youthreach. The session was moderated by Prof. Cherian. The session focused on how each of these organisations is innovating life skills in their own ways.

The final session was a panel discussion Leveraging Partnership for Skill Development moderated by Fr. Adolph Furtado, SDB. The panelists, Mr. G.V. Dasarathi from Cadem Technologies Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Ravi Bhushan from Schneider Electric, pointed out how companies should work in their core business areas and listen to their partners to understand the actual need of the beneficiaries in their CSR partnership.

At the end of both the days, highly engaging group discussions were facilitated by Fr. Jerry Thomas, Executive Director, Bosco Institute of Social Sciences, Jorhat (Assam), enabling introspection at both the individual and the organisational level.
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