Universities should become thought leaders in finding solutions to global challenges such as climate change, poverty and pollution, says Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. He wants universities to also discuss various socio-economic and political issues facing the world, and come up with ideas that can be implemented by governments.
Naidu, during his address of the inaugural session of World Universities Summit, said universities should produce good academicians, economists and politicians who have good conduct, capacity, character and caliber. He called for the promotion of multi-disciplinary approaches and emphasized on collaborative academic effort to create sustainable and scalable solutions to the challenges around.
The Vice President believes sustainable development was the answer to many challenges faced by the world, and universities can play a major role towards this end. “Universities need to embed sustainability as an underlying mission across all activities they pursue in various fields.” In regards to online learning, Naidu noted that virtual education cannot be a substitute for conventional classroom learning. “There was a need to develop a hybrid teaching model for future by combining the best elements of offline and online education.” He said such a model should be both interactive and interesting for the learner as well as the teacher to ensure the optimum learning outcomes.
Naidu stressed that teaching is not simply content delivery – rather it should prepare students to learn independently and creatively. “Through pro-active critical thinking, learners should be moulded into leaders in their chosen fields, so that eventually they evolve into drivers of social change.” He recognized that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced faster innovation in the discipline of education which can help build a more equitable system of teaching and learning.
The Vice President also pointed out the need to constantly improve and upgrade the online academic ecosystem. Calling for increased use of artificial intelligence in edtech, he feels it could enrich the teaching-learning experience significantly and also provide personalized education to every child. As such, Naidu called for the use of online educational tools in skill training and adult education to enhance skills and employability of the huge youth population.