Education, especially higher education, must become the fountainhead of a developed, prosperous and enlightened human society that contributes to peace, prosperity, harmony and happiness all around. The Indian universities, blessed with enlightened and inspired minds, are the torchbearers of the faith of the people to deliver this promise. This calls for their sustained focus on Quality, Relevance and Excellence, intertwined with Human Values.
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Naredra Modi Ji opined that the education we impart to the young generation in our colleges and universities in India will play a decisive role in transforming our country into a developed and prosperous nation. Today, as India stands to achieve a quantum jump in its economic growth, social transformation, environmental sustainability and good governance, our young generation needs to provide leadership, prioritising national interest over everything else. Towards that end, the university education besides imparting knowledge, must nurture soft skills and the character skills of honesty, integrity, peace, harmonious coexistence and environmental sustainability. Thus, the urgency of becoming a developed nation presents a great opportunity for higher education sector to become a major driver of national development and societal transformation.
Paradigm Shift is Needed in Carrying out Research Higher Education Institutions must serve as a lifeline of local industries and enablers of technological revolution and innovation. It is they who should fuel the economic growth and promote environmental sustainability. This requires a paradigm shift in the way of conducting research, devising mechanisms supporting Solution Research, that too with industry participation. The path breaking scientific and technology innovations can give rise to new age enterprises and services, positioning them as drivers of prosperity, good health and happiness all around.
This would require universities to create the desired ecosystem for Solution Research, Technology Incubation and a supportive environment for i2IPc, ideas to innovated products and commercialisation. In short, becoming Global Knowledge Enterprises, and giving the propulsive thrust for accelerating the Socio- Economic transformation of the society.
Integrative and Interdisciplinary Education
Viksit Bharat@2047 campaign aims to make our nation stronger by empowering people with skills for promoting the country’s advancement across all sectors of development. Therefore, the university campuses must conduct path-breaking scientifi c research and produce cutting-edge technology innovations. The success of Chandrayan-3 has shown the global scientifi c community India’s Science and Technology prowess. This is an outcome of the integrative and interdisciplinary environment of research and development at ISRO, which the Indian universities need to emulate. They must encourage an environment for collaborative, trans-departmental, integrative and interdisciplinary education and research to create the capabilities. It must not however be forgotten that they must simultaneously foster inclusivity and sustainability on campuses. This involves ensuring that the circular economy truly exists and operates effectively.
Universities to lead by Example in Environmental Sustainability
The university campuses have been largely devoted to cultivating and imparting knowledge to their students. However, knowledge alone is not suffi cient to create men and women of conscience, having an abiding faith in peace, harmony and sustainability of the natural environment. It is the responsibility of the universities to shape them as the ambassadors of peace and crusaders of sustainable development. Therefore, universities must prioritise environmental sustainability, ensuring the well-being of both people and the planet. Their campuses should become hubs for clean air, green energy, water security and effective waste management. The university education needs to nurture a mindset tuned to peace, progress and sustainable development in a tech-savvy world, forging a strong connection with the local community while retaining global outlook.
Amity University’s Haryana campus is one such institution that is designed for inclusivity, environmental sustainability and unmatched biodiversity. Its fl ora and fauna including 44 varieties of butterfl ies, Gaushala with 100 cows, organic farming, fruit orchard and a herbal garden ensure the student community enjoys the cleanest air quality throughout the year. The campus is fully water secured, with wastewater treatment, recycle and reuse system in place and solar power meeting its energy needs
Establish World Class University Gurukuls in India
The idea of a University Gurukul revolves around self-sustained, AtmaNirbhar Campuses, generating their own energy, having effective rain water harvesting and waste water treatment, recycle and reuse facilities, growing their own food and maintaining biodiversity and an environment of clean air. Like the Gurukuls of ancient India, they should practice self-reliance, create an environment for nurturing purity of mind and a sattvik lifestyle while engaging the inspired minds in higher-end research to make Bharat a world leader in scholastic and economic pursuits. To begin with, the Government of India should consider establishing 5 such University Gurukuls, making them the change agents for the redesign of universities worldwide.
Such world-class University Gurukuls of modern India would attract the best of minds from around the world and make Bharat a major hub for education and research. With Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Sattvik food, these University Gurukuls would become grounds for nurturing students with a healthy body, healthy mind and happy souls. The university education would then, in a true sense, become the foundation for the holistic development of the students and a preparation for leading a blissful life in service of God Almighty and Mother Nature.
As India envisions Viksit Bharat@2047, universities must embody its ethos by nurturing skilled leaders, encouraging and supporting innovation, and promoting sustainable development, playing a pivotal role in realising this transformative vision.