Haryana: Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, India said in The World Universities Summit 2021, "In a democratic society, universities must evolve into spaces where an ideal version of democracy is allowed to thrive. In other words, our universities must become the staging grounds for experiments in developing the most principled version of our democratic ethos. And by extension, a microcosm of what our democratic society one day could be."
Dr. Tharoor was delivering the Distinguished Public Lecture at the World Universities Summit 2021 on "Universities of the Future: Building Institutional Resilience, Social Responsibility and Community Impact" organised by O.P. Jindal Global University. During his lecture, he highlighted, "The widespread transmission of the covid-19 virus and the corresponding impact of the ongoing pandemic has spared no segment of our communities. The present pandemic has also posed a series of existential questions and formidable challenges to universities across the world. Even as more of the planet gets vaccinated, it is fair to recognise that the current set of complexities which universities are grappling with mark a watershed moment."
He pointed out that a study recently predicted that 30 % of jobs in the world in 2030 will be those that do not exist today! He went on to say, "How can you educate young people for jobs that don't exist? Our traditional utilitarian approach in India has been to shove facts into the students from school and college onwards, make them memorize stuff, and then regurgitate it in the examinations. Today, we can get facts off the internet, but we need individuals who can react to unfamiliar facts, who can discover new information, who can understand new information."
"Meeting the forces of markets demands research, the pursuit of usable knowledge, and the imperative of building an equitable society. We are suffering from a systemic problem of skill mismatch, with respect to qualifications and job opportunities. The image of India has changed from that of a backward, developing country to a sophisticated land, which produces doctors, engineers and computer experts. The education sector needs to keep up with the world!," he said.
There are 30 themes related to Universities and Higher Education across the world that are being discussed at this summit. Some of the sessions were held on the following subjects: On a Road to Equity: University Support System to Promote Diversity & Inclusion in Higher Education; Minding the Gap: Rethinking Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment amid the Covid-19 Disruption; Virtualizing Mobility: Innovations for Internationalisation of Higher Education and Paradigm Shift: Role of Technology in Strengthening the Universities of the Future.