“Goa has the potential to be a prime education hub and should be known as the ‘Boston of India’. The State has the right mix of stakeholders who can enable this change,” said Bharat Vir Wanchoo, Governor of Goa. Speaking at the first Higher Education Summit organised by CII in association with the State Government, Goa’s Governor also emphasised the need for training and up scaling most faculties.
Eager to push the stakeholders out of their comfort zone, Shrinivas Dempo of Dempo Education Trust emphasised the need for improving research facility in the colleges and universities. Other speakers mentioned the dire need to revise the curriculum in most courses as it had been left unrevised for about 30 years. Academic autonomy was termed another important factor.
“Goa needs to develop an empowered cluster of autonomous colleges to improve its higher education system. Colleges can be given the power to recognize industry-linked training provided to students while undergoing a course. This will enable students to go out of the colleges becoming more employable. To give these powers to the university, the Goa Universitys Act will have to be revisited,” Nigavekar told Goa education officials.Former chairperson of University Grants Commission ( UGC) Arun Nigavekar interacted with education officials during his recent visit to Goa and has suggested that the state should prepare a cluster of autonomous colleges to improve delivery of higher education. The state government is considering Nigavekar’s suggestion of setting up a Goa higher education development corporation.
As one of the stakeholders, The Mitaroy Goa Heritage Homestay in Fontainhas, Panjim has been at the forefront of trying to promote education in the state, especially in the important area of tourism education. While tourism is one of the biggest sectors in the Goan economy, there are few schools and colleges that cater to tourism students. Most students are forced to study outside the state or lose out to better qualified graduates from other cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai or Delhi.
I have always believed that Goa needed to improve and expand its current tourism education offer. The tourism education sector in Goa needs to cater to three main segments:
1. Unskilled workers / students – This segment consists usually of school drop outs or low and unskilled workers who would like to work in the tourism industry. For this segment, basic courses such as ITI or 6 month courses in housekeeping, cooking and service are needed. Goa’s tourism industry has a huge requirement for low skilled workers for jobs in housekeeping, cooking and service.
2. Management cadre – The second most needed segment is that of management cadre. Special hotel management schools need to be set up in Goa to train highly educated students to manage hotels and other tourist businesses. Subjects such as hotel management, destination marketing and eTourism should be taught in these schools and colleges.
3. Tourism Researchers – Last but not least, there is a great requirement for academics and researchers in the field of tourism in Goa. As a PhD student myself, I am quite surprised at the lack of research conducted into the Goan Tourism field. Goa Tourism needs researchers and research scholars studying and working at Universities in Goa to put forth suggestions and recommendations based on scientific research that will help improve Goan Tourism.
It is time that the Goa Government and Goa’s Tourism Department sat together with the stakeholders in the tourism industry to chalk out a Tourism Education Masterplan for the next 20 years. Only then will Goan Tourism not only survive but prosper.