(Tribute to Bapu on his 150th Birth Anniversary)
Bapu himself said very few things about his own ideas. But it is an exception, once he said that, ‘NaiTalim’ is a new form of education and it is one of his finest study and the last gift to the world.
‘NaiTalim’ is conceived as an ever new education idea, in which practical skills serves as the center and foundation of an individual’s spiritual, cultural, and social development.
The concept emphasizes to produce socially useful and productive work (SUPW) in which applied skill in work derives new knowledge and further new knowledge produce more profound work. It’s an upward never ending progressive Spiral.
A way of life based on love and compassion is ‘Satyagraha’ said by Mahatma many times in many ways. He had demonstrated it through his own life and with his all experiments. It’s a new form of another education which give supports for ‘lifelong learning’.
Gandhi’s ‘Satyagraha’ is the weapon of the strong, and one who is capable of self- suffering can use it. That strength can come only by following the path of truth with non-violence.
His fundamental belief is in satya, ‘truth,’ which he also calls God. Satya is the ruling principle of the universe. It’s a new form of life-skill which motivates for lifelong learning.
Hence, the idea of ‘NaiTalim’ and ‘Satyagraha’ synthesizes a new way, where an exquisite fundamental can be derived to build a new principle of workforce creation.
A workforce which is ready to take off the challenges of 21st century and 21st century workplaces. The narrative is to build such workforces, who are ready for self-learning, self-space learning and self-path learning only by doing socially useful and productive work – ‘SUPW’.
The challenges vis-à-vis opportunities from 21st century technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Quantum Computing and as such demand a mindset of lifelong learning, which Bapu advocates in his golden principles.
The practical as well as the political challenges that everyone is facing in the area of job creation and job proliferation directly proportional to SUPW and willingness to learn continuously.
So there is no alternative channels to fulfill the requirements, which 21st century workplace demands, in the form of education, alternative education and other form of skill, delinking the concept advocated through ‘NaiTalim’.
The possible way to meet the demand of current workplaces are many but the feasible and workable means are adhered to ‘Work based Learning’. This is the process to enable youth’s ‘learning through work and earning through work’.
It hits and refreshes the knowledge to create profound knowledge continuously. It’s a spontaneous process in the heart of the problem to bring a spontaneous solution.
This is the never ending process of learning, a continuous uninterrupted process and is the demand of the time. It’s the process of erasing ‘L’ from the word ‘Learning’.
The basic purpose of Learning is ‘Earning’, i.e. earning of knowledge, livelihood, and prestige.
The State has a total workforce of 175.41 lakh, which is 41.8 percent of the total population as against 38.4 percent at the all-India level.
The proportion of male and female workers works out 67.9 percent and 32.1 percent respectively.
Of the total workers, the main workers constitute 61 percent, while the rest 39 percent belong to marginal workers.
The total workers have registered a growth of 22.9 percent over 2001, which is higher than population growth rate of 14 percent during the decade. It is really an opportunity for a state like Odisha.*
It’s a young Odisha in its young days!! The maximum workforces are in their early life and around 50% of total inhabitant are hungry to take up new challenges to build a new Odisha.
They can only dream a trillion dollar economy and also only they can build a trillion dollar economy.
They need appropriate skills as per the demand of the job market. A comprehensive training or skill enhancement program to harvest socially useful and productive work is the need of the hour.
The huge gig economy** and the need of skilled worker clearly indicates the use of instruments advocated by Mahatma i.e. ‘Nain Talim’.
The gig economy offers ample “White Collar jobs” and “New Collar jobs” and the effective economy is of 20 billion US$ by 2025***.
This opportunity and endless possibility looks lucrative to bridge the gap between a “job seeker and job market”.
The demand of gig workers will be huge with the increasing trend of the economy. Our village youth, particularly females, can tap the opportunity to build a new economy and a new paradise for themselves.
The instrumentation needs to be established with a well-planned PPP model to encourage the grass root talents and grass root entrepreneurs who are at the bottom of the pyramid.
The need of the time is to create a sustainable local Self-Employment for semi-urban and rural youth who cannot afford to migrate to cities and metros.
It is the time to create Local Self-Employment for semi-urban and rural youth who are facing economic crisis, ecological crisis and existential crisis.
The much needed peace and prosperity of semi-urban and rural India needs production that is socially useful, job-creating and wealth-generating, less material and less energy intensive, causing less CO2 emission and less pollution, ecologically restoring and regenerative in nature.
A team of life long learner need to work continuously to achieve the heights mostly needed by the youth of urban, semi-urban and rural Odisha for a better and brighter future.
The transformational dreams should be Bigger, Better, Cheaper, Faster, Wider and Deeper!!!!
*Manoranjan Puthal works as Managing Director, Odisha Knowledge Corporation. Opinions expressed are his own.