Promoting Collaborations in Higher Education

The World Education Summit 2011 held exclusive sessions on higher education during13 July – 15 July 2011. There were discussions on pertinent issues like India’s move towards a knowledge economy in a globalised world, distance learning and the role of technology in education, skills development, accreditation and assessment. Report..

The aim of this session was to discuss India’s transition to a knowledge economy – an economy  that creates, disseminates and uses knowledge to enhance its growth. Discussants argued for globally competitive institutions and good researchers who are also good teachers for a strong research and teaching community Drawing on past examples of knowledge driving the economy in India, it was brought to the notice of everyone present how Indian merchants,  when they went to Europe for purposes of trade, saved journey time than their European counterparts because of the nautical tables they used. This not only helped save time but also ensured transport of goods better and safely. The question raised was, is knowledge still driving the economy in India? For various reasons, education institutions in India have become silos. As the Indian economy is growing, it is growing independent of any great educational nstitution inputs. As this growth is not coming from the knowledge sector, the question arises that can this growth sustain itself? Just having industrial growth and high-tech products is not enough as India enters different markets in different parts of the world. A common concern that emerged throughout the session was, divesting education from the real world is harmful. Knowledge that comes from the undergraduates must be integrated into systematised knowledge and the emphasis should be on inter-disciplinarily studies. For example, in health, the best solutions are today coming from technologists and mathematicians. Such interdisciplinary studies, therefore, have to be encouraged and promoted.
Certa in key suggestions that came out from the sess ion were
• Knowledge should create innovators and should not be driven by rote learning to pass exams and get jobs
• Identify capable students and introduce them to the teaching culture during their higher education under a mentor
• India needs to harness experts on politics and economy of the countries whose markets she enters
• Apart from ICT skills, the 21st century knowledgeeconomy also demands soft skills such as prob- lem-solving, effective communication, team work, analytical skills .
• It is important to improve the Research and Development
infrastructure in India

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