The history of Surat reveals that the journey from “Suryapur to Surat” is awesome, exciting, happy, painful, thrilled, outstanding and steady. The journey of change is continuous and now the very Surat is changing everyday! Change is the way of life; the better change leads to growth. I am the witness of this transformation process. It is not sudden but gradual and with certain patterns.

During last 10 years, the physical boundaries are expanded. I saw the narrow but empty roads; thousands of vehicles gradually kept added every year, many multiplexes and malls groomed, beautiful traffic islands, rapid growth in economy, huge import and export business, an airport, ‘green and ‘smoke’ belt of Hazira increased, got dynamic bureaucrats and Surat claiming the eighth most populous and eighth largest metropolitan city of India.

The very identity from dazzling ‘Diamond city and Silk city’ is now pining to get an identity as an ‘Education City’.

Suratis have always kept learning and discovering new things from centuries. Now the focus is shifted to education. It is a fact that Surat is still crawling in academics and yet to run, but pictures are not extremely gloomy. There is hope in coming days. The people of the city have realized that the GDP growth has got direct concern with education; the last ten years are spent to prepare the ground for future. Since last few years, children of the less formally literate diamond merchants’ have acquired education and given a new direction to the business. The textile business is not merely with old-fashioned machine, but the new generation has got collaboration with technologically competent countries like China, Korea, and Japan. I strongly feel that only education could bring this change!

People generally compare our academic standard with metropolitan cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai or Pune. The new generation of educationalists are talking about Finland, Singapore, and South Korean system of education. I think the comparison should be with our own system as it is a new beginning to introspect our vision about education system. We must accept that Surat does not have world-class universities, schools institutes, colleges as other metro cities are having. But Surat has a lot of potentials. To excel in academics, we require the best infrastructure and environment. Nobody can deny that Surat has got the potential to turn into ‘Educational Hub”. I always wonder why people are not taking Suratis seriously about education. You will find outstanding students, growing cultures, top ten rankers in state and National levels in various public exams. We should not condemn what we do not have; rather we should strive for it. To achieve the goal we require money, infrastructure, policies and thirst for quality. Fortunately, we have got everything but just require direction. Many schools and colleges are coming up. These schools are not limited to state board curriculum, but looking for IGCSE and IB. The colleges are willing to have bond with local authorities; they have started pathway programs with the prestigious institutions from developed countries.

Still, miles to go to be an eyewitness of Surat turning as an “Education Hub”. We have to work harder in some areas with certain aims and objectives.

First and foremost, the huge industries must be satisfied by providing them competent and skilled students from junior colleges as per their requirements. We need more vocational schools and colleges. We have to create a corporate culture in our educational institutions. Strong collaboration; efforts are required among corporate tycoons and learned educationalists of the city. Surely having only SVNIT is not enough where very few students from Surat get admission. Our political leaders must demand  IITs and IIMs to compete with other students across the country and abroad. We want centers for competitive centers. We also must have centers for various competitive exams to generate more scholars from the city.

The city needs to nurture basic skills. The sound is bit crack when it comes to art, literature and theatre activities. The city does not require only doctors and engineers, but also good drivers and peons! It shows that each segment of service requires trained and balanced employees. That will give rise to a new cultural and competent society. All spheres of the city will be developed parallel. People will have manners and etiquettes. The very fact is that the art is the reflection of society. It will polish the manners, etiquettes; and will keep alive the sensitivity in the coming generation.  They will be concerned with certain global problems like pollution, terrorism and poverty.

Science Centre at City light area is a beauty to the city but still, we need each area to have experimental- practical centers where young minds can quench their curiosities. Parents need to be conscious and need to perform an active role as a stakeholder of educational institutes. Good schools of parenting are required. Equal numbers of counseling centers are also required. Systematic study centers, schools for special needs to be developed. Newspapers-educational journals are required to read and give its response. Kids require playground. It is still time to have a few spaces where physical growth and intellectual growth walk parallel. The focus should be shifted from memory-centric to skilled one.

How can society change? Chanakya once said,” Education only leads to perfection”. Diamond Tycoon and Philanthropist Govind Dholakia recently said that students need not to be taught but teachers should learn the effective art to train their pupils. He firmly believes that the miniature world which exists in classrooms today will be a bigger picture tomorrow. It means teachers’ responsibilities are greater. He added, we are growing externally but needs to grow internally, too. Our collective efforts and better infrastructure can change things.

We must recognize that the world has changed a lot and is changing rapidly every day. Employees and the current delivery system are not meeting  the needs. There are many challenges. To survive we must find out new ways to deliver education to our kids.

Technology will surely lead to growth, but to maintain this growth we need to have “Core Values”. Education means not merely reading and writing. The senior citizens should strongly put their efforts for nurturing values. They need to be conscious, and awareness programs should be conducted.

We need to talk about the transformation of entire an education system. The rise in more numbers of schools has given quality education. The coming generation will have more exposure to the outer world, the schools will deliver a number of quality students.

Let’s hope our educational institutes will deliver quality students to the world!

This blog has been written by Dr. Sanjay Mehta, CEO, SRKKF. Dr. Mehta has explicitly expressed his views on the current pace of the changing education system.