“Towards Atmanirbhar Bharat through Transformative Higher Education: Ram Nath Kovind”

“3-Day AIU National Conference of Vice Chancellors-2023 inaugurated by Ram Nath Kovind at USTM”

9th Mile, Khanapara, Ri Bhoi, March 23, 2023: The Hon’ble Former President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind has inaugurated the 3-day-long National Conference of Vice Chancellors on “Transformative Higher Education for Atmanirbhar Bharat” at the Central Auditorium of the University of Science and Technology Meghalaya (USTM) here today in the presence of the Chairman of Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister  Dr Bibek Debroy, the Assam Education Minister Dr Ranoj Pegu, more than 500 hundred of Vice Chancellors, Directors of IITs, IISc, NITs from India and abroad.

This prestigious mega-academic event of higher educational institutions of the country has been organized by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in collaboration with the University of Science and Technology Meghalaya (USTM) from 23rd to 25th March. Two books of AIU, namely the “University News” edited by Dr Rama Devi Pani and the Report on Implementation of SDG were released by the dignitaries on this occasion.

Appreciating AIU and USTM for organizing this important event, Shri Ram Nath Kovind said, “Our universities should try to make students capable citizens. Being at the top of the education system, universities should try to have global perspective. The AIU should play the role of an active stakeholder”. Transformative higher education requires coordinated efforts by all the stakeholders, he added.

The welcome address was delivered by Shri Mahbubul Hoque, Chancellor of USTM. Expressing gratitude to AIU and the Hon’ble Former President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Shri Hoque said, “We have a world-class mission. We will work collaboratively with different institutions. We believe that only by producing good human resources, the country will be empowered”.

Dr (Mrs) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General, AIU highlighted the role of AIU and the objectives of the VC’s Conference. In the inaugural session of the conference, the special address was made by Dr Ranoj Pegu, Hon’ble Minister of Education, Government of Assam. Dr Pegu emphasized on employment generation to create the Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Delivering the AIU Foundation Day Lecture, Padma Shri Dr Bibek Debroy said, “There must be a certain benchmark level of enrolment that is necessary for an institution of higher education to be viable.” Referring to the NEP-2020 he said that we need to think of an exit policy for the institutions of higher education in India—not only for the students, but also for the faculty and infrastructure, based on quality. “The government’s limited resources are best spent on school education rather than on higher education. There should be professionally viable courses while the other courses could be subsidized. There is no reason on earth why Meghalaya can’t have a centre of excellence on this part of the country”, he added.

Offering the presidential address, Prof Suranjan Das, President AIU & Vice-Chancellor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata said, “There needs to be a shift from informative curriculum to formative and transformative one. He emphasized on a participatory board of education. The challenge now is to transform our higher education institutions from seats of teaching to seats of learning.” He said that there has to be collaborative work between reasearch institutions and society. The competition between foreign and Indian institutions should be on a level playing field, he added.

Prof. GD Sharma, Vice President, AIU & Vice Chancellor, USTM delivered the vote of thanks at the end of the inaugural session.

After the inaugural session, an interface was held between the heads of apex bodies with international delegates where the featured speakers are, Dr Abhay Jere, Vice Chairman, AICTE; Dr RC Agrawal, DDG, ICAR, Dr Ponmudiraj, Advisor, NAAC, Prof. Bhola Thapa, Vice Chancellor, Kathmandu University, Nepal; Mr Aditya Malkani Regional Director, ACU.

The Conference Sessions began in the afternoon today and will continue till 25th March. The themes for sessions of the Conference include: Internationalization: Modes of Engagement; Minimum Government: Maximum Governance: What Does It Mean for Universities; Promotion of Indian Languages; Reforms for Holistic Education; Creating an Ecosystem for Research & Excellence and the Future of Education, Learning, and Workplace.

Universities like JNU, IGNOU, Symbiosis International, University of Massachusetts, Bharti Vidyapith, University of Hyderabad, and Directors of IITs, IISc, AICTE, NAAC, ICAR, ACU, IIIT have joined in this mega Conference. About 300 heads of higher education institutions, along with several foreign policy-makers, are participating in the conference online. One can join the Sessions of the Annual Meet virtually through the Youtube link: www.youtube.com/@ustm3124.






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