Think India, think Edu! ThinkEdu Conclave remains the most cerebral event in its 8th edition

India’s biggest and most cerebral education and thought event — The New Indian Express’ ThinkEdu Conclave — is back with its eighth edition.

author_img Joy S Published :  08th January 2020 05:29 PM   |   Published :   |  08th January 2020 05:29 PM
Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor

Chennai: Every year, since 2013, The New Indian Express has brought some of the finest minds and changemakers in the country on one platform to discuss the state of education and where the youth are headed in the country.

This year’s edition, which began on January 8 in Chennai and will run through January 9, carries that legacy forward by presenting thoughts and ideas around the theme, ‘India At 75: Vision 2022’.

Like last year, the ThinkEdu Conclave will be inaugurated by the Governor of Tamil Nadu Banwarilal Purohit at the ITC Grand Chola on Wednesday, and he will share his vision about educating tomorrow’s India.

The conclave will provide a podium for dialogue between political stalwarts and authors like Subramanian Swamy and Shashi Tharoor, as well as one of India’s youngest leaders, Sachin Pilot, the Deputy CM of Rajasthan.

Another young name that pops up at every other political debate, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, will also be there.

But it is not just the bureaucrats, politicians and teachers who will contribute to the conclave — celebrated actor Kangana Ranaut, actor and politician Sarath Kumar and Grammy Award-winning musician Ricky Kej will also speak about their fields and what India should be doing to move forward faster.

With Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani, Union Minister of HRD, Ramesh Pokhriyal and Minister of State of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju engaging in conversations about whether our education system and the proposed revamp will help us, the conclave promises to have some memorable crossing of words and sparks will fly. 

Indian National Congress MP, Manish Tewari and spokesperson Khushbu Sundar along with DMK MP Tamizhachi Thangapandian, Congress MP S Jothimani and K Pandiarajan, TN Minister for Tamil Language, Culture and Archaeology will make sure you are glued to your seats.



Economist Bibek Debroy, Rohan Murty from the Harvard Society of Fellows, academic and researcher Madhu Kishwar, writer and activist Kancha Illaiah and former ISRO head and NEP Drafting Committee Chairman Dr K Kasturirangan will ensure the event promises to be an intellectual feast for educationists, thought leaders and educators alike.

The conclave will also be packed with panel discussions and opportunities to interact with the movers and shakers in the corporate and edu-tech spheres and get a close look at how India’s education scenario looks today.


Sonam Wangchuk


Climate change activist Licypriya Kangujam will discuss one of the most pressing issues in today’s world — climate — and how she is fighting to save the world. Speakers like Prabhat Singh, Managing Director and CEO, Petronet LNG, Rajnish Kumar, SBI Chairman and Radhika Gupta, CEO, Edelweiss Financial will be speaking about what India needs to focus more on to become incredible.

Looking back, The New Indian Express organised its first-ever two-day national education conclave, ThinkEdu in February 2013 in Chennai.


Ricky Kej


The Conclave saw 64 distinguished speakers, including a former President, four Chief Ministers and four Union ministers along with a host of politicians, bureaucrats, educationists, corporates, historians and thinkers coming together to brainstorm for over 15 hours on 'Schooling India for Tomorrow'.

The conclave has come a long way since then and has hosted Bharat Ratna and former President Pranab Mukherjee, late President Dr Abdul Kalam, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, former Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javadekar, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Jayant Sinha, senior BJP leader LK Advani, RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale and Ram Madhav.


Kangana Ranaut


Other senior politicians who have spoken at the conclave include Ghulam Nabi Azad, Farooq Abdullah, Sheila Dikshit, Salman Khurshid, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, and Arun Shourie.

This is in addition to policymakers, educationists, edupreneurs, along with social scientists and spiritual leaders such as Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and the Gyalwang Drukpa.


Tejasvi Surya


Among the corporate leaders who have attended ThinkEdu are Tata Sons Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran, TVS Group Chairman Venu Srinivasan, Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Apollo Hospitals’ Vice-Chairperson Preetha Reddy and Manipal Global’s Chairman Mohandas Pai.

The conclave has also hosted filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and Santosh Sivan, actors Arvind Swamy, Anupam Kher and Gautami, dancer Leela Samson and musician Ayaan Ali Bangash.

Over a thousand people attend the conference every year. They include students, academics, 
professionals and other citizens with a stake in India’s future.


Rohan Murty




Day 1
10.30-11 am
Behind the making of the National Education Policy
Dr K Kasturirangan, NEP Drafting Committee Chairperson   

11-11.30 am
Vision 2022: Educating tomorrow’s India
Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Tamil Nadu 

11.30 am-12.15 pm
The New Education Policy: Break from the Past
Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Minister of HRD. 

2-2.20 pm
Fresh Ideas, New Methods: Science and Sensibility
Rohan Murty, Harvard Society of Fellows. 

3.15-3.30 pm
Why young India needs to study history and Culture
K Pandiarajan, TN Minister for Tamil Language, Culture and Archaeology.


Sachin Pilot


Day 2 
10-10.30 am
Why inclusivity is the only way forward for Indian education
Arif Mohammad Khan, Governor of Kerala. 

12.15-12.45 pm
Competition or Cooperation: View from the State
Sachin Pilot, Deputy CM, Rajasthan. 

12.45-1.15 pm
Life after Ayodhya: What’s Next?
Subramanian Swamy, BJP MP. 

3.30-4 pm
Playing Women Heroes: Why We Need More of Them
Kangana Ranaut, Actor.

5-5.30 pm
The judgment paradox: Are our lawyers being taught the right things?
Manish Tewari, INC MP. 

6-6.30 pm
The New Woman: Power with Responsibility
Smriti Z Irani, Union Minister for Textiles.



Smriti Z Irani



Ramesh Pokhriyal, the Union Minister of HRD will speak on The New Education Policy and why it is indeed a break from the past at 11.30 am on January 8.

While Dr K Kasturirangan will kick off the conclave the same day at 10.30 am and talk about what went on behind the drafting of the NEP.

CSIR Director General, Shekar C Mande will discuss whether India’s history has a place in tomorrow’s science with Economist and author Bibek Debroy, Arnab Bhattacharya, Scientist, TIFR and Gitanjali JB, CEO, HIAL.

A mega session on January 9 is sure to catch your attention — Aniruddha Deshpande, the National Communications Head of RSS, Tejasvi Surya, Tamizhachi Thangapandian, Khushbu Sundar and NCP MP Supriya Sule will discuss — ‘Republic of India 2.0: Is the Change Fundamental?’

The two-day conclave will conclude with a mega session where Smriti Irani will speak on ‘The New Woman: Power with Responsibility’.

— Team Indulge