The 75th Anniversary celebrations of the Vidyamandir Trust Palanpur, held at Palanpur on January 7th and 8th 2023 featured the launch of a significant new initiative the Vidyamandir Centre for Skill Development (VCSD). The keynote address at the launch event was delivered by Shailesh J. Mehta Founder, Ex-Chairman and CEO of Providian Financial Corporation, a Fortune 300 company and benefactor of Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management at IIT Bombay.
The programme commenced with the bhoomi pujan of a new campus of the Vidyamandir Trust at Malana, Palanpur, where the Vidyamandir Centre for Skill Development will come up over the next few years. The first such institute will be the Smt. Chandraben & Piyushbhai Kothari (Jewelex) Institute of Nursing.
Elaborating on the perspective of this new venture, Ashish Mehta, Managing Trustee VMT said, “An important aspect of preparations for the 75th anniversary was the process of retrospection and planning for the future. Going forward the Trust evolved a Strategic Plan which focuses on Ensuring ever improving Quality of education imparted at existing institutes; Strengthening Teacher Training to provide well-trained teachers for the fast-expanding educational infrastructure in India; and Skill Development to bridge the gap between the education received in schools and colleges and the specific manpower needs of industry.”
He explained that VMT has taken initiatives in the first two areas while VCSD, which has been set up as an autonomous body, will help develop the latter. He thanked the P.D. Kothari family for what he described as the “largest-ever single donation” made to VMT, which has made the dream of the Skill Centre a reality.
Anish Kothari and Samir Mehta then gave further insights into the vision and plans for the VCSD, pointing out that priority has been given to a Nursing institute as Palanpur has already emerged as a key hub for medical treatment to Banaskantha and many neighbouring districts in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Shailesh J. Mehta, Founder, Ex-Chairman and CEO of Providian Financial Corporation, a Fortune 300 company and benefactor of Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management at IIT Bombay gave the keynote address on the occasion. Mehta highlighted the gap between college education and the skills that businesses need, saying that the British had created the existing system to develop bureaucrats, while skills needed at the workplace were never introduced into the syllabus. “Formal education will help develop the ability to think and is a must, but it must be linked to training that also develops the skills that are in demand,” Mehta said.
Pointing out that India has now been transformed from an agro-economy into one where the services sector predominates, he added, “India needs people who are trained for the workplace, and this is the perfect time to set up a Skill Development institute.”
Mehta also touched upon the philosophy of concepts like ‘success’ and ‘philanthropy’. “There is no single and easy definition,” he pointed out. According to him wealth is one common measure of success, professional achievements can count too. At the same time, it is equally important to measure success in terms of good friends, health and happiness. Similarly, he said that financial donations are not the only form of giving – one can contribute in many different ways according to one’s capacity including simple deeds that “bring smiles to peoples’ faces”.
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