‘Technology is the most secular language in the world’

Personalities from leading universities took part in the event which was conducted on the sidelines of the Sir Syed Global Excellence Award ceremony in Dubai. (AFP/File)
Updated 26 December 2018
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‘Technology is the most secular language in the world’

  • Alumni from prestigious university in India discuss the merits of being digitally-connected with the world
  • Discuss measures to promote implementation in schools and varsities

DUBAI: In order for universities to chart the course of the future, they must include technology in their curriculum.
That was the message voiced by the Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) alumni during a panel discussion hosted in the UAE, titled as the “role of universities in developing digital era.”
Personalities from leading universities took part in the event which was conducted on the sidelines of the Sir Syed Global Excellence Award ceremony in Dubai.
Senior journalist from India and an AMU alumnus, Rifat Jawaid, essayed the role of a moderator for the evening. 
Lt. General (rtd) Zameer uddin Shah said that it is important to teach technology to students as young as those in grade one. “When it comes to learning technology, age has no bar --- whether you are five years old or 80 years old, technology embracs everyone,” he said, adding that technology is the most secular language in the world.
“No matter which religion, caste, faith you belong to, if you have the power of technology, no one can stop you,” he said.
Zameer uddin Shah was the former vice chancellor of AMU in India from 2012-2017 and is credited with introducing smart classrooms in the university.
“When I left my office, there were about 100 smart classrooms in the university. However, these smart classrooms and other infrastructure investment does not make any difference; unless we upgrade our curriculum and include technology in the courses and education system,” he said.
While responding to a question regarding whether educators were equipped or qualified enough to teach the subject, Shah said: “We need to train and equip our teachers properly to teach contemporary [technology] education. Technology is something which evolves every passing day. We need teachers that have evolved from the chalk and duster phase.”
Syed Ali Rizvi, a leading businessman from USA and an AMU alumni, was part of the panel, too. He said that as the universities are run according to regulatory authorities, it may be challenging for the university to make changes in the curriculum quickly.
“However, we can introduce after-class extra courses. These extra efforts will make a mark difference in quality of education and students’ critical thinking. One short step will eventually convert into a big leap,” he said.
Tariq Chauhan, the recipient of the Sir Syed Global Excellence award and the Group CEO of EFS facilities services group, said that these days, international companies prefer to hire human resources directly from campuses.
“However, if any academic institution is not producing brains as per the global market demand; then it will eventually be left behind. Universities have to collaborate with international organizations to determine the future demands and upgrade the curriculum accordingly,” he said.
Leading filmmaker, producer, and writer, Anubhav Sinha said that learning technology does not mean becoming ‘employable’
“Technology empowers you to convert your dreams into a reality. Digital world and technology is not just about computers. It gives you courage to take bold steps and move ahead. If you have a power of technology, no matter whether you live in an international city or a small-town person, nothing is impossible. It is all about one-big-idea,” he said.
The event was organized at a local hotel in Dubai where eminent AMU alumni from across the globe were honored with the Global Excellence Award.
AMU is one of the oldest universities in India which was established in 1920. It has more than 28,000 students, 1,342 teachers, and nearly 5,610 non-teaching staff. The university has 12 faculties comprising 98 teaching departments, three academies and 15 centers and institution.


What We Are Reading Today: The Dreamt Land by Mark Arax

Updated 17 June 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Dreamt Land by Mark Arax

  • The Dreamt Land weaves reportage, history, and memoir to confront the “golden state” myth in riveting fashion

California-style agriculture has created one of the most unequal societies on earth because extensive irrigation requires large corporations with deep pockets, says Mark Arax, author of The Dreamt Land.

The Dreamt Land weaves reportage, history, and memoir to confront the “golden state” myth in riveting fashion. 

“Arax is persistent and tough as he treks from desert to delta, mountain to valley. What he finds is hard earned, awe-inspiring, tragic and revelatory. In the end, his compassion for the land becomes an elegy to the dream that created California and now threatens to undo it,” said a review in goodreads.com. “It is a beautifully written book and one that lots of people ought to be required to read,” the review said.

Critic Gary Krist says in a review for The New York Times: “Granted, there are times when The Dreamt Land feels overstuffed and chaotically organized, as if Arax decided to include every relevant newspaper feature he’s ever proposed to an editor. But I suspect that few other journalists could have written a book as personal and authoritative.”