By Shreyas Gupta, JGLS
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the three day Conference on “The Future of Indian Universities: Comparative Perspectives on Higher Education Reforms for a Knowledge Society” organized by the O.P. Jindal Global University from 21 – 23 March, 2013.
The main focus of the conference was to discuss the situation revolving around Indian universities in the context of the rankings of global universities.
The President called upon the MHRD, UGC, Universities and other stakeholders to work out a common approach towards improving quality, affordability and accessibility, which are three corner stones of higher education policy.
He suggested that the private sector should also be encouraged to play a larger role in the country’s educational system. Demographic dividend can only be reaped if the young population is provided higher education and training in vocational skills. “We cannot improve quality of education without improving quality of teaching”, he added.
Mr. Naveen Jindal, Chancellor, O P Jindal Global University, took this opportunity to announce the establishment of the ‘Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities’, which will offer courses on the lines of US-based undergraduate programmes from the academic year 2014-15.
It was noted by Professor C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor that the conference will be a search for a pragmatic vision of the university, which is multidisciplinary and global in its orientation.
The thematic sessions at the three-day Conference were devoted to such important themes as the Indian university in a comparative perspective; humanities and the liberal arts; the remaking of the Indian university; interdisciplinary in higher education; knowledge sharing for policy impact, think tanks and international organizations; promoting excellence in higher education and leadership and innovation in universities.
The Vice Chancellors, Presidents and Deans of leading universities in India and abroad participated in the Conference.
The list of foreign dignitaries included senior academics from Harvard University; University of Oxford; the National University of Singapore; the University of Hong Kong; University of Warwick and Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
The list of Indian counterparts included Vice Chancellors and senior academics from the TISS, Azim Premji University, JNU, NLSIU, Institute for Advanced Study, Shimla; IIM, Bengaluru.