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CIVIL SERVICES PRELIMS EXAM: TRANSLATION ERRORS FOUND

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With reference to the recently concluded Civil Services Preliminary Exam-2020, Niranjan Kumar, Professor at the Central Department of Hindi, University of Delhi and Director of ‘PragyanamIndica’, wrote to the UPSC Chairman, seeking redressal to various problems regarding the translation-related discrepancies in the Hindi language version of the question papers. It must be noted that in the Civil Services Preliminary Examination held this year, Hindi translation of “Civil Disobedience Movement” in General Studies Paper-I was given as “Asahyog Andolan” that actually in English is Non-Cooperation Movement. Besides, many times the translated language used in Hindi version was so misleading that it was very difficult for the students to understand the meaning conveyed by the questions. Professor Niranjan Kumar said, “Familiar and comprehensible words should be selected in the examinations so that the examinees do not have to grapple with the language unnecessarily. If there are translation errors in the examination causing problems for the candidates then it is an injustice to them.”

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Educationally Speaking

‘Role Of New Age Global Universities’: Dr. Y.S.R Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, RV University

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Dr. Y.S.R Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, RV University joined NewsX for an insightful session on ‘Role Of New Age Global Universities’. In the exclusive conversation, he spoke to us about the inception of RV University, various amenities on the campus, what makes RV University different from others and much more. Read excerpts:

Q1. Who established the RV University and what is the background?

A: The Rashtreeya Sikshana Samithi trust is sponsoring body that has established the RV University. This public charitable trust has a rich legacy of 8 decades in the field of education. In the year 1940 pre-dating independence, we started with one school for six children in a modest way. Today, there are over 20 colleges for Technology, Management, Architecture, Law, physiotherapy, Nursing, etc. and we felt the need to establish a university for promoting a liberal education. RV University has been established under the RV University Act 2019, passed by the Karnataka legislature.

Q2. You are the Founding Vice-Chancellor. Please tell us more about your own academic journey. 

A: I hold a Master’s degree in statistics from the University of Madras, where I stood university first and I also have a Master’s degree in Human rights from the University of London as a British achieving scholar and a Ph.D. in Law from the Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai. As regards my professional life I am a civil servant turned academic and have over 36 years of experience in the government, Academia, and NGO sector. I joined the government of India in 1985 and held many responsible and sensitive assignments including in the National human right commission, Prime minister’s office, President’s secretariat, and cabinet secretariat between 2009 and 2020. I have steered the OP Jindal Global University during its rapid expansion face as a part of its top leadership aim, including as a registrar. I have contributed to its race in international rankings and becoming an institution of imminence. I have assumed charge as the first Vice-chancellor of RV University, Bangalore recently.

Q3. What is the vision of RV University?

A: RV University aspires to be a world-class university known for academic excellence, research, international collaborations, diversity, interdisciplinary studies, sustainability, social commitment, and community engagement. In addition, RV University which has to be a responsible ethical, and collaborative partner to local industry, Government, and other organizations, in short, a technology-driven global university committed to liberal education.

Q4. How does RV University plan to translate this vision into a reality?

A: The RV University has prepared a 5-year strategic plan, which includes a detailed academic plan, research plan, infrastructure plan, Manpower plan, finance plan and other plans. It has recruited outstanding faculties members, who are leaders in their chosen fields. It has built a rich curriculum in close consultation with industry partners and other external stakeholders. It has forged substantive collaboration both in India and abroad with key partners. 

Q5. What programmes are currently offered at RV University? 

A: We have started with 3 schools in the current year dealing with liberal arts and sciences, design. There is a school for economic and finance in each of these schools we have programs ranging from undergraduate to post-graduate and Ph.D.’s both full time and part-time. The school of liberal arts and sciences offers a three-year BA Honors program and also three years BS.C honors degree. In addition, it also offers a unique four-year BS.C honors program in defical sciences. The school of design offers a four-year Bachelors of design or Under two year Master of design. under the school of Economics and finance, there is a BA honors in economics as well as MA economics, in addition to B.com and BBA honors.

Q6. Are the courses of RV University recognised by the regulatory agencies?

A: Yes, of course, we have been constituted under the RV university act 2019 passed by the Karnataka Legislature. In-fact the Karnataka government has issued a gazette notification specifying 16th June 2021 as the start date for the coming into force of the RV university act. We are also recognised by the university grants commission under sec 2F of the UGC act. Thus or regulatory approvals are in place.

Q7. When will the courses start in the RV University? What is the academic plan? 

A: We are ready to commence academic degree programs in all respects. Initially, we planned to start in the month of September but because of the Covid situation and advisories from the regulated agencies, we will start on 1st October 2021.

Q8.  How is RV University different from other Universities? 

A: Our degree programs have a sharp India focus, regardless of weather new education policy has been implemented or not. RV university has already implemented inter-disciplinary in its true sense. We have no cilos what-so-ever in our university that a lot of synergy, different schools, and program. We will open our facilities to students from other institutions in India and abroad to come and earn credits here, which can be eventually transferred to their parent institutions.

Q9. What kind of learning opportunities are available to the students of RV University? 

A: RV university has already forged a number of substantive collaborations with top institutions in India and abroad. These include among others, the University of Essex (United Kingdom), which ranks among the top three in fifty as per the Times Higher education world University ranking. We  have signed the MOU with CNA College, New York, which is a liberal arts college. We also signed an MOU with the University of Sofia, Bulgaria and we are collaborating with the University of Narowal and in addition to this many other collaborations which are currently on in the UK, USA, Australia, and other parts of the world. Even much before the start and commencement of the degree programs, they opened a range of learning opportunity for our students. It could be a collaboration in the Ph.D.’s research program or semester abroad program at undergraduate or postgraduate level or a dual degree program and many other ways there are a range of learning opportunities for our students. 

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WHY EXECUTIVE EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT FOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT AND CAREER GROWTH

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A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) concluded that more than 50% of the Indian professionals will have to upskill themselves to match the changing dynamics of the industry. The major areas of progress include technical skills such as Big Data Analytics (BDA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), along with qualitative skills such as problem assessment, negotiations, and business communications.

Professionals, who demonstrate proven expertise in emerging technologies, while keeping up with the rapid evolutions in the field, are in growing demand. In such an environment, organisations are motivating their employees to re-skill themselves constantly so that their existing knowledge base does not become redundant. While freshers with management education enter the job market possessing updated managerial skills, it is becoming essential for the existing employees to bridge their knowledge-gap to compete with them and advance their careers.

WHAT IS AN EXECUTIVE EDUCATION PROGRAMME?

Top management schools in India and abroad have recognised the gap in the demands of the industry and the existing workforce. Therefore, they are curating short, but intensive courses that are aimed at helping working professionals to upskill themselves. These courses concern a diverse range of topics ranging from leadership programmes, negotiations, emerging technologies, strategising practices, among others. The rationale behind all these programmes is to enrich the existing skill sets of the working professionals and prepare them for the evolving market scenarios.

It is to be noted here that these executive programmes are distinct from regular management degree courses. They are professional development courses that usually conclude with a certification or a diploma on completion. The focus of the executive education programme is around case-solving and building on the core skills with practical industry scenarios.

WHY PROFESSIONALS SHOULD PURSUE THIS

Changing business scenarios, the world over demands a range of advanced skill sets for business professionals to stay ahead in the curve of competition. The impact of an executive education is not only to upgrade one’s resume but also ensure upgrading of core business skills that a professional must acquire.

A certification in a niche functional area with advanced knowledge garners the attention of top recruiters from reputed organisations. Furthermore, it strengthens the position of the individual in her/his existing organisation and also entitles her/him to promising opportunities for securing a more advanced role in the organisation. Additionally, an executive education broadens the perspectives of an individual and enhances her/his business vision. While pursuing these courses, professionals with diverse corporate experiences get to interact with others. This helps in gaining deeper insights about myriad domains in the market and exploring possibilities of growth in them. Collaborative projects and assignments constitute a significant part of such courses that serve as great team building and communication exercises.

Compared to full-time management programmes, an executive MBA programme does not require a professional to take a break in her/his career. These courses are designed as per the convenience of working professionals so that they can establish a convenient balance between their work and education. This also helps a working professional to apply the concepts she/he learns in the classrooms to practical real-life scenarios enabling her/him to receive prompt feedback about the usage of their upgraded skills, which facilitates deeper learning.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions in the business ecosystem. The market has faced dire consequences of such an unforeseen challenge. The rates of layoffs and company shutdowns have spiked up. While business experts and analysts continue to assess the consequences of these transitions, working professionals must upgrade themselves to stay relevant in a potentially difficult job market.

Pursuing an executive MBA programme is meant to equip working managers with the knowledge and advanced skills-set which will prepare them to survive through the toughest challenges they are likely to encounter in the post-pandemic era.

The writer is Dean (Academics) at FORE School of Management, New Delhi.

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Who is a good teacher?

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Education is a fundamental aspect in the development of any society. If the youth of a society is educated, it increases the chances of having a better tomorrow. Teachers provide that education which improves the quality of life and contributes to the shaping of both the individual and the society as a whole.

Teachers increase the productivity and creativity of students and, therefore, of future workers. When students are pushed to be creative and productive, they are more likely to be entrepreneurial and innovative, ultimately leading to the economic development of a country.

Children spend the maximum amount of time growing up with their teachers. History has shown us how good teachers have the wonderful ability to shape the leaders of the future. Good teachers can build positive and inspired societies, act as role models and push their students to try harder and live up to their true potential. Most of us has looked back on our formative years at one point and wondered, “What if that particular teacher had given up on me?”

Teachers thus give entire generations a purpose and set them off on the path to progress. All of us agree that teachers are important. We even celebrate Teachers’ Day in India. Yet, teaching is not seen as a desirable career or a passion!

“The B.Ed. has become a degree for marriage, not teaching,” the NCTE chairperson said to a leading daily in 2019. In such a situation, one must ask, are qualified teachers really ‘quality’ teachers? Are hiring and compensation policies that reward certain qualifications the equivalent of investing in enhancing the quality of teachers?

Many “qualified” teachers have the right degrees, yet lack in-depth knowledge of the subject they are supposedly proficient in. And a PhD should not mean that they stop learning about their subject as it develops over the years. For higher education and upper levels, teachers with mere bookish knowledge, who cannot apply that knowledge in real life, can be detrimental to students’ understanding of that subject. Hence, there is a need for them to be active participants in the dialogue and collaboration between academia and industry.

Good teachers are competent, proficient in the subject (or language) they teach, and hone the potential of their students. Teaching is a tough job, but it is one where you can make the most impact in another person’s life. Even though academic or professional excellence can be measured, the success of a teacher is more difficult to assess. Hopefully with the new NEP, India will get its act right in regulating quality education and educators and grow beyond the perfunctory tick-marks for “teacher’s qualification”.

QUALITIES OF A GOOD TEACHER

Like any other profession, teaching is highly demanding. It requires a high level of competence and a significant emotional quotient. Most successful teaching professionals have some common traits.

• Clear goals

Teachers, like any other industry professionals, need to have a plan for their consumers (in their case, students). With that as a guiding light, they need to have clear objectives and their teaching methodology should vary according to the students they deal with.

• A “don’t give up” attitude

Teachers with long-term objectives and a mission to prepare their students to face the world don’t give up easily. They understand that obstacles and setbacks are part of their job and navigate those challenges with determination.

• Faith in their students

Students need someone to believe in them. They need a wiser and older person to trust them and their efforts, set the bar high but create an environment where it is absolutely fine to fail.

• Consistency 

Consistency is not to be confused with a “stuck-up” attitude. It means that a teacher does what they say they will, doesn’t change their rules based on their mood, and their students can rely on them when in need of guidance. Teachers who are stuck in outdated methods may boast of ‘consistency’, when in fact it is merely stubbornness.

WHAT THE WORLD SEEKS

The parents of this generation need to understand and accept the fact that teachers are not surrogate parents. Teachers groom subsequent generations, but don’t do ‘parenting’ on their behalf during school hours.

The world today needs knowledgeable teachers, but also individuals with a hunger to continuously learn, unlearn and relearn. Teachers today need to be inquisitive in order to teach the same subject every year but with better techniques and fresher material.

The teacher of this generation needs to be able to shift gears and be flexible when a lesson or teaching style isn’t working. For this, they also need to shed their biases and learn from their students, even as they teach them. They need to be better today than what they were yesterday. Merely presenting facts from Google is not teaching. All students today are digital natives and can do that job better.

Teachers have a larger responsibility to lead by example and demonstrate the values and behaviours they teach. For this, they must also practise humility when dealing with colleagues and learn constantly from every interaction with them. Along with this, they must rise above petty politicking and insecurities and believe in merit-based growth, where individuals are judged and rewarded on the basis of their performance and the value they add to the institution they are part of.

Let us accept that education is also a consumer service industry where teachers are also accountable for their performance and the results. The big question now is: do we have such good teachers?

The author is an independent markets commentator. The opinions expressed are personal.

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Educationally Speaking

Digital transformation & the hybrid model for education

A new teaching-learning environment has now been created that facilitates learning anytime, anywhere and as per one’s interest areas.

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What is sweeping all sectors of society and economy at a rapid pace is digital transformation. The ease of access to information and the ever-increasing speed of transaction, along with the interactive nature of digital literacy, have made all cross sections of society adopt digital systems for their accelerated growth and outreach. We see this futuristic transformation most in the new-age children who are students as well as the teaching fraternity across ages, which is nothing short of the word ‘marvellous’. NEP 2020 marks a landmark roadmap in the country’s education system. Advocating a forward-thinking, cogent reform, NEP 2020 is a perfect blend of a need-based policy, innovative learning, cutting-edge research and entrepreneurial thinking, paving the way for a New India.

Education plays a key role in human development and it is the citizens that matter most during these unprecedented times that are driven by the innovation and creative genius of people who are taking up the challenge of becoming ‘creators’ instead of ‘workers’. The NEP 2020 brings about many changes that we have long been procrastinating about in terms of things that cried out for a change, like for example, digital innovation; entrepreneurial thinking; selection of subjects based on passion and strength rather than lack of choice—for a student who wants to study Chemistry and Biology without Physics (which the child may be weak in)—has not been possible so far; being forced to take the ‘next best stream’ if marks are low, and struggling with it thereafter for life, have been some of the core issues. Then there has been this tradition studying only for examinations to get a job, the choice of which has remained the same for decades: Medical, engineering or teaching.

One of the reasons things have been this way is because education in India had remained untouched by the disruptions of technology advancements for a long time. In a way, the Covid-19 came as a blessing in disguise for the education system at all levels. It made rapid adaptation of digital technologies for imparting online education and made people interact and express more easily online in the host of webinars, online conferences and seminars that have been organised during the ongoing Covid-19 times. While many have benefited greatly from these like the teaching community that has been able to attend training programmes on topics like online teaching, managing a class and best global teaching practices, there have been issues like fatigue in young learners and technological glitches that have at times created havoc and loss of time for many. Educational publishers have been partners in learning with all the stakeholders during a difficult time like this and have worked hand-in-hand with educational institutions, providing the best-in-class services in terms of digital content, animations, online workshops and webinars, as well as pan India contests for students digitally. Despite all of this, children miss school and being with friends and teachers. Naisha, a student of class 4, says, “I miss my friends and the circle time in school.”

The digital age, however, has its own challenges. Loss of privacy, data piracy, data theft, cybercrimes, and a colossal waste of time on social media and other digital apps that have raised issues relating to ethics and values of this digital age beyond the normal call for ethics and values in a civilised society. However, with one year gone by in the pandemic, 2021 seems to be better prepared in terms of dealing with digital technologies, innovative teaching-learning curve, hands-on learning through projects and teamwork, and others. Globally, people are also poised to take on the challenges like cybercrime, better use of social media time and space, along with online learning, which has actually been a boon in disguise. 2020 was an experimental year and the world didn’t realise what hit them; it took time for schools to develop the online teaching mode and for educators, parents and students to adapt to it. But what seemed like little triumph initially in terms of being able to do everything on the screen soon became a bane with children getting migraines, eye problems for staring at the screens for too long, as well like anxiety and stress due to odd timings and lack of physical activity, while educators and parents have experienced fatigue and anxiety due to being overworked with the pressures of being ‘online’ all the time.“I wear anti-glare spectacles for all my classes now and do yoga in the morning before starting my classes. I am also reading lots of books, painting, dancing and playing the guitar while cutting down on watching TV as well,” says Inayara, a student of class 6. “I used to get a lot of headaches and my eyes used to burn, but now I am better,” she adds.

What looked like a piece of cake initially in terms of working from home and having to just switch on a device, soon became a nightmare. Yes, the internet has been a real boon; without it, learning would have been completely lost this past year. However, it is a ‘Hybrid Model’ today that is the need of the hour—one that is a healthy mix of printed material like books, pen and paper along with the digital content. Another thing that has become increasingly important today as has co-curricular classes like art and craft, physical education, etc. Shammi Manik, CEO of a large educational publishing house says, “It is imperative for both schools and parents to ensure that blended learning with printed books and stationery, along with the digital content is consumed by students to get the balance right; one without the other may cause serious issues. The hybrid model is the way forward.”2020 has been both a challenge as well as a great learning curve for everyone across the globe, especially in the education space: for students to sit in front of a screen with little or no social interaction with friends, and for educators who have had to learn how to use many different tools for teaching, engaging as well as evaluating students. There is no doubt that publishers too have gone that extra mile to help facilitate all kinds of online teaching-learning experience for all three stakeholders through: students, educators and parents. Dr Vinod ‘Prasoon’ Chauhan, who is associated with NCERT, CBSE and ICSE, and is a poet and author of bestselling Hindi series like Saarthak, Unmesh and Udgham for K-8 says, “The Corona era has taught us a lot.  If the technology had not supported us at this time, the teaching-learning process would certainly have been greatly affected.  Therefore, there is no doubt that online classes have reduced the loss of studies to a great extent during this disaster, but it is also true that online classes cannot be considered as an alternative to offline classes.  However, new methodology and tools like Hybrid Teaching, Blended Teaching are part of major discussions today and their imperative implementation are being appreciated in the changing era. Books equipped with authentic innovative measures, ideal teachers and their innovative uses, proper use of technical tools and an environment full of joy makes learning child-centered, comfortable, joyful and experiential.” Therefore, even though the online learning mode is being facilitated through tools like animations, test generators, online competitions, educational games and so on, there is no substitute for physical books and activities. Hybrid teaching-learning methodology is the way forward to facilitate more than just learning for examinations; it aids in overall understanding and in-depth knowledge.

A new teaching-learning environment has now been created that facilitates learning anytime, anywhere and as per one’s interest areas. Student-centric learning looks like they are slowly becoming a reality with digital systems information to learners at an affordable cost and across boundaries, but to make it truly viable, the print material is important, making one’s own notes is important and reading extensively is important. We still have a long way to go, but the best part is that with all that is available in terms of content—both online and offline by publishers—we can see a whole lot of innovation and usage in the education space for the session in 2021!

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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS AT KISS: ANALYSIS, ADVOCACY AND ACTION FOR ACCELERATED ACHIEVEMENT

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Since its inception in 1990s, KISS has been committed to the vision and practice of sustainable human development.

The unique model of KISS to eradicate poverty and hunger through education has transformed the lives of 1,50,000 indigenous people in Odisha and neighbouring states and contributed to nation building. The other factor responsible for the success of KISS has been its partnerships for people, prosperity and peace on the planet. It has been advocating and mobilising local and global actions on SDGs.

In February 2018 KISS organised two national-level capacity building workshops on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partnership with the NITI Aayog, United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC), Bonn, Germany and United Nations Volunteers (UNV). This was the first high level event for KISS and NITI Aayog on SDGs in the country involving multiple stakeholders. Policymakers, administrators, planners, senior government officials representing 25 states of India, United Nations representatives, UN Volunteers, as well as many sustainable development advocates from within and outside the country converged at KISS, Bhubaneswar to discuss the importance of capacity building for localising the SDGs.

Inaugurating the event Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, said, “The government is committed to the SDGs and has launched many schemes in that line. Localisation of SDGs is a creative methodology to achieve the targets”. He pointed out the similarity between Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and Indian philosophy. He was right as the tradition of Sanatana Dharma (a way of life designed to best ensure the continuity of humanity on this earth) has been in action in India for centuries. Dharma or duty, ethics and religion in the modern sense as propagated by Mahatma Gandhi has been practised in India from Ancient times. Customising and aligning the SDGs with the rich tradition and philosophy of dharma will work for India and can be a game changer. KISS is a living example of this process in action.

A direct outcome of the capacity building workshop was the establishment of a new SDG Centre at KISS. The centre has been working on numerous SDG projects, events and campaigns. Amongst many two of the notable projects and two campaigns undertaken by KISS are set out below.

‘Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies (TIGR2ESS)’ project: Awarded by Cambridge University, UK, the project is expected to strengthen alliances of experts from the UK and India in the domains of crop science, hydrology, social science and policy. This knowledge exchange partnership will

• Determine the requirements for advancing the Green Revolution in India

• Explain necessary policy agenda

• Develop a collaborative research programme focused on sustainable crop production and sustainable use of resources

‘Creative Hub for Innovation & Reciprocal Research & Action for Gender Equality (CHIRAG)’ project: KISS is implementing a GRTA-UK project on Sustainable Food Systems in partnership with University of East Anglia (UEA), PRADAN and Graam Vaani. It is an SDG initiative to address food and nutrition insecurity in India with gender equality through systemic and sustainable up-scaling of grassroots innovation. The 4C’s of the CHIRAG project for realising food and nutritional security include

• Community Led Platform: Build a gender sensitive virtual knowledge and innovation centre for collecting, dissipating and sharing information

• Creative Practice Hub: Use technology and traditional creative communication techniques to understand food and nutrition

• Curriculum Development: Develop an evidence-based curriculum and content on food and nutrition in order to replicate the knowledge for education and health initiatives

• Constituency Round Table: Conduct fact-based advocacy for political buy-in and financing for long term sustainability and institutional acceptance

International Youth Campaign on Kindness for the SDGs: KISS and KIIT Universities actively participated in the International Youth Campaign on Kindness for the SDGs, launched by UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) on October 2, 2018. At KISS and KIIT educational sessions on the SDGs for more than 10,000 young learners; cleanliness and sanitation drives; and social media engagements were organised during the campaign.

UN@75 Campaign at KISS during Covid-19:

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, KIIT and KISS partnered with UNV India, UN Women India, UNFPA India and Kalinga Fellowship and organised a week-long UN@75 Campaign from 18-24 October 2020. The on-line conversations during the campaign and field level advocacy included the following themes:

• Education

• Gender

• Nutrition

• Climate Change

The campaign amplified indigenous and youth voices while addressing the SDGs. Overall, the campaign was a success as it witnessed massive global participation from many countries including staff members from partnering UN agencies, non-government organisations and other national and international dignitaries. They interacted with senior government officials, planners, district level administrators, representatives from training institutions, researchers and civil society organisations working on SDGs in India to grassroots level social workers, indigenous leaders, and youth.

KISS has worked consistently with multiple stakeholders to advocate and mobilise local actions to fulfil global aspirations. The KISS model of localising the SDGs through community engagements, awareness generation, local level action and data collection is being studied nationally and internationally. It has become the go-to-place to witness all 17 SDGs in action. It is gradually transforming into a Global Hub where stakeholders from all sectors working towards the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development converge for research, training, learning and development. It has started becoming the preferred partner for projects, campaigns and events on SDGs. Only time will tell if KISS SDG Centre served as the lighthouse that guided the Agenda 2030 ship to safe waters.

Indigenous knowledge and grit can change the lives of many and inspire millions. The stories of Kamala Pujari and Dr Achyuta Samanta, both from the state of Odisha, sets the tone for localising Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and importance of community engagement.

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GROWING HR ROLE IN EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION AMID COVID TIMES

Ankit Shyamsukha

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In today’s world, it has become more important than ever for organisations to hire the best available staff as well as find ways to keep them motivated and committed. Motivated employees bring in increased productivity by achieving higher levels of output. However, often at times, there is a lack of motivation and engagement in the workplace that makes employees feel demoralised and of less significance to the organisation. This acts as a significant contributor to emotional distress and burnout that eventually leads to a range of psychological disorders. A study by ASSOCHAM in April 2015 stated that nearly 42.5% of employees in private sectors suffered from general anxiety disorder or depression.

To promote psychological health through motivation and engagement in an organisation, the human resources (HR) role is critical. Their purpose is to promote self-confidence, creativity, autonomy, and initiative which are the essential characteristics to meet the internal demands of the organisation and streamline the productive flow for work performance.

In organisations, the role of the human resources is of strategic importance. With their activities, the human resources can increase motivation, thus increasing the quality of work-life balance for the employees. Simultaneously, the organisational climate improves that directly impacts productivity.

The HR manager needs to understand that motivation is directly proportional to the improvement of individual performance. While several employees across the globe can and do work while experiencing mental health issues, like depression or anxiety, with little impact on productivity but there are situations where an individual is not able to work because of the severity of the condition. In the majority of cases, supportive HR intervention can be the key to continued productivity.

STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE MOTIVATION AND PERFORMANCE

Since employee motivation and well-being have a strong influence on organisational health, financial success along with customer satisfaction and loyalty, HR managers can adopt certain strategies to put into practice in this context.

PLEASANT WORKING ENVIRONMENT

Professional well-being stems from healthy and pleasant working conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to provide employees with a comfortable, clean, and if possible, customised workspace. Other than that, flexible working hours or work from home opportunities (if compatible with the work activities) can also be offered that can increase motivation levels and lower work-related stress.

IDENTIFYING POSITIVE ATTITUDES

HR managers should value employees who have proactive and successful attitudes. Since autonomy introduces more dynamism and flexibility to work, this professional stance is presently in demand. Apart from that, passing on work-related compliments and positive feedback can go a long way in showing employees that positive attitudes never go unnoticed.

ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY

Innovation happens through creativity. Thus, human resources should always be open to adopting techniques that promote this process. Such processes shouldn’t focus on exaggerated structuring and instead adopt flexibility to thrive. The “Hackamonth” program implemented by Facebook allows employees to work with a different team and project for a month. Through this approach, integration between different teams is stimulated, and also the employees are able to develop new experiences and perspectives from their peers.

TRANSPARENT & OPEN COMMUNICATION CHANNELS

HR managers should always be open talks or discussions with employees regarding any issue. Anxieties, frustrations, and possible problems need to be heard and properly addressed to stall negative impacts on the organisation.

CONCLUSION

Workplace mental well-being is demonstrated when employees feel able to seek feedback, ask questions, report mistakes and problems, or propose some new idea without any fear of negative consequences to themselves, their career, or their job. A psychologically healthy and safe workplace actively promotes emotional well-being among every employee while taking all required steps to reduce threats to employee mental health.

The writer is global head for Mental Health at Round Glass, Managing Trustee Poddar Foundation.

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