Odisha plans to host global ‘Edu Invest’ conclave in Nov 2023

The Odisha government is planning to host its first-ever conclave on education next year with an aim to make the state a preferred investment destination for world class education and research, officials familiar with the development said.

Titled as ‘Edu Invest’, the conclave is being touted as an educational version of the World Economic Forum, an official said, adding that it is being overseen by former IAS officer Upendra Tripathy, now principal advisor to chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

The conclave aims to attract 1,000 crore investment in Odisha’s educational sector.

At a meeting held earlier this month under the chairmanship of chief secretary Suresh Mohapatra, it has been decided to hold the conclave between November 21 and 23 at Bhubaneswar next year.

“Apart from attracting 1,000 crore investment to Odisha in educational sector, we are also trying to create a global platform to address and find out solutions for contemporary educational themes, from both local and global perspectives which will revolutionise the entire gamut of education in Odisha. It aims at improving morale, emotional intelligence and competitive spirit of academic institutions, students and teaching community in Odisha as well as enhance employability of university graduates and promote vocational education and showcase our skill development techniques in education,” said the official.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik will inaugurate the conclave and announce related policies, projects and programmes in his inaugural address.

The official claimed that though global events, such as Vibrant Gujarat, Magnetic Maharashtra and RE-Invest by ministry of New and Renewable Energy, have been held in India , there may not have been any major event to attract investment in education sector.

At least 34 MoUs with major world universities are likely to be signed during the conclave for mutual benefit and for quicker implementation of National Education Policy by universities in Odisha. There are plans to invite 50 education ministers/ambassadors/high commissioners/multilateral agency representatives/Nobel laureates and educational experts from various parts of the world so that 34 Odisha universities and other institutions benefit from the conclave. At the conclave, there would be sessions on important themes in education like 21st century skills, multi-lingual education, special education, artificial intelligence in education, global education challenges, the official added.

Following the Edu Invest conclave, the government plans to create 3 Special Education Corridors (SEC) in the 3 revenue divisions (Central, North and South). Designated areas will be developed to establish world class institutes, training and research centres. Besides, creation of at least 5 world class private universities in Odisha with orientation towards research and specialisation and 5 private international schools with global facilities and curriculum are part of the plan.

“The event would be used to showcase Odisha globally in various fields like disaster management, foodgrains management, Covid management, promotion of sports and tourism, social security and gender empowerment, skill development, electronics and IT, vitalization of heritage centres etc, with a special focus on education. A corpus fund would be created from the funds of the conclave for welfare of special schools in Odisha,” said the official who is fine-tuning the conclave. School and mass education department would be the nodal department to initiate the proposal for approval, documentation and coordination purpose.

According to government data, Odisha is the 12th largest state in terms of school-going student population with 85 lakh students in 67,000 schools. It is currently transforming 8,800 secondary schools in the state. It has 7 lakh students in 2,500 colleges and several thousand students in 34 universities. There are 3.6 lakh school teachers and 21,000 lecturers in colleges. Laying stress on education, the state government in 2022-23 Budget allocated 27,324 crore for education and skill sectors, a 12 per cent hike over the previous fiscal.

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