Panel discussion on UG education in Economics | March 23 | Kolkata | Shiv Nadar University
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Panel discussion on UG education in Economics | March 23 | Kolkata

23 Mar 2019

The Department of Economics, Shiv Nadar University organised a panel discussion on the future direction of undergraduate education in Economics titled 'Rationally Expecting the Future:Undergraduate economics education in changing times’, which was held on Saturday March 23, 2019 at 3 pm at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture (Golpark). The panelists were Dr. Partha Chatterjee (Shiv Nadar University, NCR), Dr. Angshuman Bhattacharya (SIBIA Analytics and Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd.), Dr. Indraneel Dasgupta (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata), Dr. Mousumi Dutta (Presidency University, Kolkata) and Dr. Vivekananda Mukherjee (Jadavpur University, Kolkata). 

The discussion focused on the need to revitalize the current scope of the undergraduate economics education that can reflect a shift in the socio-economic structures and technological advancements.New elements that have made their presence felt over the last two decades include global warming, growth of nationalism, ubiquitous and high-speed broadband coupled with the power of social media, e-commerce, Big data, among others are redrawing the ambit of economic thinking. Thus, there is a need to revise and re-imagine the curriculum to make it contextual for a new generation of learners.

The panelists highlighted that the need for broad based education to prepare the students for an ever changing world. There was a sense that current classroom teaching does not reflect the economic opportunities and challenges of the real world given the tectonic shifts brought in by technology as well as other developments. The panelists felt the need to change curriculum to respond to these changes. However, institutional constraints, particularly for state universities, sometimes made it difficult to do that. In particular, it was felt that ability to use data, familiarity with computing techniques, and experience in doing research were critical components of today’s economics education. It was pointed out, that such training will give economics students an edge in directing the change in an uncertain world.

The other issue that came up was the need for pedagogical innovation and bringing non-conventional material such as videos, novels, and comic books in teaching economics. It is also important, it was felt, to contextualize several topics given today’s global conditions. Ability to connect various strands is essential in a fuzzy world. The range of jobs available to economics students is wide. In fact in industries such as data analytics, economics students are preferred because of their training and decision making capabilities.  However, some in the audience mentioned that it was not widely known in smaller cities and towns.