Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the World Universities Summit 2021 (WUS 21) organised by O.P. Jindal Global University on "Universities of the Future: Building Institutional Resilience, Social Responsibility and Community Impact" on Wednesday.
In his address the Vice President said, "There are pressing issues facing higher education today as we embark on a path of recovery from the pandemic. Education drives the economy of the nation to chart the course of prosperity through the useful application of knowledge.
"We face a complex demand in education which is not only marked by large student numbers and the rural-urban geographic divide, but also by the unique diversity in our country. While our numbers and diversity are our strength, they also bring upon us the challenges of equity of access to education.
"We should aim to be 'Vishwagurus' in education. The ongoing pandemic has disrupted our lives and an estimated 1.2 billion children have been pulled out of classrooms globally. Today 32 direct-to-home channels are dedicated to providing online education but not all have access to online infrastructure.
"Even if we resolve these issues, we cannot substitute the classroom experience with online learning. We need to explore the best hybrid model combining the best practice of online learning and classroom teaching."
Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan congratulated the O.P. Jindal Global University about the scale and scope of WUS 21. He said, India has a long history of higher education.
"India needs an education system designed for 1.38 billion people and our reality today is starkly different than before. In today's age of globalisation and liberalisation, we must reform the education sector. The New National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 reimagines the transformation of India's education landscape and it outlines the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in not only creating responsible citizens but also a global citizen -- Vishwamanav.
"The four pillars of NEP of quality, equity, accessibility and affordability are the foundation on which a new India will emerge. Our future institutions will have synergy and seamless integration with global norms that will turn our human resource into human capital. We have to promote India as a global education destination, providing education at an affordable cost. We will also enable high quality foreign institutions to collaborate and operate in India."
Professor (Dr.) D.P. Singh, Chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC), "Today the Indian Education System is facing many challenges. One is from Covid-19 and the other is how to realise the vision and guiding philosophy of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
"One of the themes of the Summit is to build institutional resilience, which has never been tested as of now. The UGC has addressed critical issues like access, equity and quality of education and institutions have tried to leverage technology for integrated digital learning platforms, online access to education and more."
Naveen Jindal, Founding Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University, welcomed the august gathering and said, "We had a vision to create an institution to impart world class education in the memory of my father, furthering the mission of social change through education that he believed in.
"From humble beginnings, JGU has grown to include nearly 8,000 students and established 12 schools with a teaching capacity of global repute and access to the best of education globally. We wanted to ensure a research-intensive institution which can contribute to the larger good of the community. All our collective efforts have culminated in JGU being recognised as an Institution of Eminence (IoE) and as India's No. 1 Private University as per the QS World University Rankings. JGU has enhanced the global footprint of Indian higher education.
"As the world faced an unprecedented pandemic, we ensured the resumption of online classes within a week for the benefit of our students and have conducted more than 20,000 online classes in just 2020! For this we were bestowed with the Certification for E-Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisation (E-LEAD) from the coveted QS I-Gauge Learning. This summit could not have come at a more apt time to discuss the future of universities."
Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) said, "The vision is that the World Universities Summit 2021 organised by JGU will be akin to the World Economic Forum as far as promoting global discourse on the future of universities and higher education.
"JGU has partnered with 6 Global Education Networks -- Association of Commonwealth Universities(ACU), Association of Indian Universities (AIU), Coursera, International Cooperation Group of Brazilian Universities (GCUB), STAR Scholars Network and UpGrad -- to bring this unprecedented 3-day World Education Summit.
"It has an imagination to create a global platform for Indian and global universities to come together to help shape the universities of the future. Today when we witness social, political, economic and technological shifts across the world due to the ongoing pandemic, the world is faced with the pivotal challenge of reimagining the role of the universities of the future to strengthen their vision towards institutional resilience, social responsibility and community impact."