Bhubaneswar: Sri Sri University, Cuttack, Odisha in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), Delhi organized a day-long virtual conference on “Quality & Relevance of Programmes” on the 9th of July, 2021 with six sub-themes. The aim of the conference is to derive suitable country-specific recommendations for further deliberations at the Third World Higher Education Conference 2022 to be hosted by UNESCO in Barcelona, Spain.
The conference has been commemorated with the virtual lighting of a lamp. The President of Sri Sri University, Prof. Rajita Kulkarni welcomed all the dignitaries at the Conference and conveyed her delight for nominating Sri Sri University as one of the only 10 Universities (out of 988 Universities as per UGC) in India & only University in Odisha, to be selected by AIU for the prestigious project. Prof. Kulkarni added that the collaboration with the AIU has given a great opportunity to reflect upon the repercussions of the pandemic under six key areas, viz., diversification and flexibility of curriculum, programmes, and courses; expanding use of ICTs and AI to enhance learning and collaboration; quality assurance of innovative higher learning modalities and spaces; partnerships for success: students, teachers, employers, communities; evolving learning skills for evolving workforce paths; and innovative post-secondary options in tertiary education.
The Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sri University Prof. Ajay Kumar Singh spoke on the relevance of Programmes in the context of the pandemic and the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the disruptions that have been created due to Covid 19. He invited all the distinguished guests to share their ideas related to the broad and the six sub themes of the Conference by filling a questionnaire created for the purpose.
The Secretary-General of AIU, Dr. (Mrs.) Pankaj Mittal highlighted the importance of NEP 2020 and the need for country-specific recommendations. The Chief Guest of the inaugural session Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Prof. Ganeshi Lal Ji has given a call to reorient education towards spiritual values. He stated that NEP 2020 will bring necessary transformation to the Indian education system. Citing ‘Srimad Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Ashtavakra Samhita’, ‘Yajnavalkya Smriti’, and ‘Yogi Aurobindo’s Savitri’, He highlighted the need for the teaching-learning process to shift its attention from self-gratification to self-realization, from egocentrism to geocentrism, and connect the human consciousness to cosmic consciousness. Dr. Amarendra Pani, Joint Director Research, AIU delivered the vote of thanks to mark the end of the inaugural session.
The inaugural ceremony was followed by two Technical Sessions and one Panel Discussion. The first Technical Session on three of the six sub themes was chaired by Prof. Manikrao Salunkhe, Former President of AIU and Vice-Chancellor Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University, Pune. The eminent speakers of the session were Prof. P. C. Joshi, Vice-Chancellor of University of Delhi; Prof. H. Venkateshwarlu, Vice-Chancellor Kerala Central University; Prof. A. K. Bakshi, Vice-Chancellor, PDM University, Haryana; Prof. Jayrajsinh Dilavarsinji Jadeja, Vice-Chancellor, KSKV Kachchh University; Prof. Pawan Kumar Aggarwal, Vice-Chancellor Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology; and Prof Ambarish S. Vidyarthi, Vice-Chancellor, Bikaner Technical University.
The first Technical Session was followed by an exclusive session on the Ancient Indian knowledge system conducted by Dr. D. K. Hari and Dr. Hema Hari, Honorary Professors of Sri Sri University and founder of Bharath Gyan. The Conference then proceeded with a brief meditation session before breaking for lunch.
The second Technical Session was chaired by Prof. Ajay Kumar Singh, Vice Chancellor, Sri Sri University for the remaining three of the six sub-themes of the Conference. The eminent academicians who shared their insightful thoughts, experiences, and ideas during the session were Prof. Neeraj Gupta, Vice-Chancellor Central University of Rajasthan; Dr. Rajani Gupte, Vice-Chancellor, Symbiosis International Deemed University; and Prof. Ved Kumari, Vice-Chancellor, National Law University, Odisha.
The Panel Discussion on the broad theme ‘Quality & Relevance of Programmes’ was chaired by Prof. (Mrs.) Rajita Kulkarni, President, Sri Sri University. The rich panel included seasoned and well accomplished academicians: Prof. Vinita Sahay, Director, IIM Bodhgaya; Prof. Atul Khosla, Vice-Chancellor Shoolini University; Prof. Sasmita Samanta, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, KIIT Deemed to be University; Prof. Nageshwar Rao, Vice-Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University; and Prof. N. S. Umarani, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Savitribai Phule Pune University. There were rapid fire questions asked by the Chairperson to the panelists pertaining to the Quality & Relevance of Programmes in the current context and the future of education.
The Conference was further enlightened through an address by Prof. B. R. Sharma, Executive Registrar, Dean, Faculty of Health & Wellness, Sri Sri University on ‘Relevance of Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali to Education’.
The Valedictory Session of the Conference was graced by the Chief Guest Dr. Arun Kumar Sahoo Ji, Hon’ble Minister, Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Fisheries & Animal Resources Development, Higher Education, Government of Odisha. He deliberated the need to maintain the quality of higher education and added that around 47% of the population falls under the age of 25 years. He believed that this demographic potential can offer India’s economy an unprecedented edge. He further emphasized the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in imparting quality education to these young minds. He also highlighted the major reforms that can be taken up by the Universities in terms of the quality of the Programme through NEP 2020. He expressed the need to revamp the curriculum in the context of industry 4.0 and the Covid-19 pandemic. He further congratulated AIU to have chosen Sri Sri University as the host of the Conference & applauded the University’s innovative and new-age Programmes. He narrated various initiatives taken by the Government of Odisha in evolving the education sector. Col. (Dr.) G Thiruvasagam, President, AIU and Vice-Chancellor Academy of Maritime Education and Training (AMET) Deemed to be University, Chennai delivered the Presidential Address at the end of the session and expressed his happiness at the wonderful conduct of the Conference.
Sri Sri University, Cuttack, Odisha is a pioneering Institution of academic excellence imbibing the best of all parts of the globe.