4 March 2016

Cambridge English South Asia Partnership Summit held in Delhi

Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment, in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, hosted the 'Cambridge English South Asia Partnership Summit' on Feb 23 and 24, 2016 in New Delhi. The event was telecast Live on Cambridge University Press India's YouTube Channel, view here.

Taking part were Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor, University of Cambridge; Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India; T.V. Somanathan, Joint Secretary, Government of India; Saul Nasse, CEO, Cambridge English Language Assessment; Ratnesh Kumar Jha, Managing Director, Cambridge University Press, South Asia.

The summit focused on Transforming Language Education, offering an opportunity to debate and propose practical solutions to one of the most important issues facing young people in South Asia: how to gain the wide-ranging skills required for 21st-century employment.

The event was well received by the media and was covered by  the most widely read English newspaper in India, with a readership of 7.643 million, The Times of India, its supplement Education Times and other leading national dailies as well as online news portals.

The first day witnessed an inaugural session based on Building Partnerships for the Future. The Cambridge perspective was presented by Saul Nasse and Ratnesh Kumar Jha. The Indian perspective was presented by T.V. Somanathan and Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education. The South Asia perspective was presented by Ahmed Shafeeu, Minister of State for Education, Government of Maldives, and Professor Gunapala Nanayakkara, Director General, National Institute of Education, Sri Lanka.

The inauguration was followed by a talk by Professor Ted Briscoe, Professor of Computational Linguistics, University of Cambridge on 'Using machine learning to transform the language learning landscape'.

The second day kicked off with a plenary session on 'The Ecology of Learning' and an introduction to the themes by Dr Nick Saville, Director Research and Thought Leadership, Cambridge English Language Assessment.

The breakaway sessions, hosted by panels of experts, explored four key themes: Teacher Development, Digital Learning, Employability, and Research & Innovation.

The group discussion on 'Teacher Development' was led by Angela ffrench, Director of Operation South Asia, Cambridge English Language Assessment; Dr Loveleen Kakker, CEO, Tech Mahindra Foundation; Ben Knight, Director of Research and Consultancy, Cambridge University Press, and Vandana Lulla, Director, Podar Group.

The highlight of the Summit was the keynote address delivered by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor, University of Cambridge. Sir Leszek also interacted with all the academics and other dignitaries present at the summit on the key issues.

The closing plenary of the summit summarised the discussions on 'Forging Partnerships' and saw the launch of www.campustowork.org by Cambridge English. The portal aims to make the Campus recruitment process more efficient by bringing together corporate bodies and educational institutions to help match the right candidates with the right communication skills to the right job.

Talking about the Summit Saul Nasse, CEO, Cambridge English Language Assessment, "Three sorts of collaboration are key to a fully functioning education system - collaboration between students as peers, collaboration between students and teachers and collaboration between the experts who drive the direction of the whole system. Of course the golden thread that runs through all three forms of collaboration is language. Collaboration is based on communication - you can't collaborate without speaking….and listening."

Speaking at the Summit Ratnesh Kumar Jha, said, "India is on a fast track to become the preferred knowledge economy in the world. There is clearly need for all of us from education, government and industry to come together and create an ecosystem that will accelerate the process and is empowering and impactful.

All of us collectively, with the right direction and effort, can create large value and have transformative effect on the education system in India, and contribute to the journey of building India into a sustainable knowledge economy."