New Delhi, Mar 27 (IANS): India's G20 presidency aims to be a presidency of healing, harmony and hope, said V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, at the inaugural address of the World Universities Summit 2023.
The five-day summit was titled the G-20 Higher Educators Forum's Universities of the Future Summit. The Theme of the Virtual Summit is Building Institutional Resilience, Social Responsibility & Community Impact in G20 Countries was inaugurated today.
Speaking at the inauguration, Muraleedharan said, "I wish to compliment the O.P. Jindal global university for this initiative. I'm glad to note that over 91 universities and 146 speakers, vice chancellors, professors and academics are participating. I'm confident that this summit will produce substantive outcomes. India's G20 presidency aims to be a presidency of healing, harmony and hope.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a new paradigm of human centric globalisation. We should not just limit India's G20 presidency to isolated discussions among world leaders but to make it a people's dignity and mass movement and I seek your support and the novelty of your ideas to inject youthful dynamism to our G20 Agenda.
"I'm also pleased to note that O.P. Jindal Global University is the very first university in India to set up a permanent centre for G20 studies and I wish the center well, both during India's G20 Presidency and beyond. Universities have an important role to play in the creation of the intellectual capital of a country. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India's continued ascent and leadership on the global stage.
"In terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation. Universal high quality education is the best way forward for developing and maximising our country's rich talents and resources for the good of the individual, the society, the country and the world. The idea that higher education should be both equitable is a mantra in the National Education Policy, and has great importance for a country like India."
The summit will bring together 160 national and international participants from all G20 countries across six continents. There will be substantive discussions, keynote addresses and discourses over the next five days which will include leading academics and educational professionals from all G20 countries.
Prof. (Dr) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University welcomed the delegates and said, "This summit is hosted by a newly established centre called the Jindal Global Centre for G20 Studies. The word University summit was conceptualised by O.P. Jindal University with a vision to create a platform for universities worldwide to come together to help share the focus and imagination for what a university could be in the future.
"Technological advancements, pedagogical innovations, academic research combined with globalisation and deeper social engagement, are now changing the way higher education institutions function. The challenge for universities is to fulfil its own institutional responsibility to provide world class education for the students who are dependent upon that institution.
"We need to focus on outcomes based training to create opportunities for our students so that their degrees and the education they receive should lead to jobs and opportunities for the livelihoods. The challenge that we have afforded to us is the extent to which we can bridge the gap between the national and the international to create opportunities for students across the developing world to pursue international opportunities, to what extent internationalisation can be accessible so that it does not become the privilege for the few and can be more democratic and more inclusive.
"It also means to what extent our national policies, our national regulations, our assessment, accreditation, and benchmarking efforts are also aligned to the idea that we need to benchmark our institutions with the best in the world. Another big challenge that we continue to face in India, but also in several other parts of the world, is the dichotomy and the dilemma between the public and the private.
"We should not waver from the fundamental mission that all of us are as university leaders, as well as educators, which is to educate, empower. and transform our society, to the minds of young people who are part of our institution to be able to engage in research that can address the challenges of our society."
A special address was given by Prof. (Dr) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General Association of Indian Universities who said, "Students want to be lifelong learners. They don't want to end their learning with the university or the college or the institution where they are studying, but they want to be lifelong learners, because the future is changing so fast, that unless they remain lifelong learners, they will not be able to sustain. Students want to be innovative and they want to be problem solvers.
"Universities have a big role in taking care of these challenges while fulfilling the aspirations of the students. And that balance has to be created by the universities of the future. And it is here where the New Education Policy of India comes in. Because the new education policy of India talks about the future of learning. Now we have to work in partnerships. For example, right now we have silos of school education, higher education, technical education, vocational education, all this has to integrate.
"We also need internationalisation of higher education for sustainable partnerships and that a global affairs office should exist in every university in India. The future of universities is totally different from what it is today. Going forward we are organising a week-long visit of academics and Vice Chancellors of G20 to get a deeper understanding of the Indian higher education system."
Prof. (Dr) Mohan Kumar, Dean and Director, Jindal Global Centre for G20 Studies, said that the summit was an opportunity for India's cooperation with the other institutions. "I believe the universities of the future face two fundamental challenges. The number one challenge is really to see how universities can be relevant to the workplace. You have to look at the curriculum, at the infrastructure and whether practitioners can play a role.
"We will have to look at the entire ecosystem of the university to make sure that the education that we impart stays relevant to the persons who receive it so that they can do better workplace, also in a context such as India to understand how universities can offer inclusive education on the basis of principles like equity and social justice."