Rajan Kotru & Virender Raina
With the advent of New Education Policy, the Government of India has shown its unrelenting resolve to transform India’s capability towards a purposeful education that can be utilized and improvised readily. What can be a fitting way for it than catching and grooming our future generation at the prime of their youth when this critical human asset is at the peak of their sincerity to purpose, alacrity to learning, devotion to curiosity, and brevity to prudence. The purpose is clearly to make our country regain its status of Global Superpower for knowledge and Wisdom for which Bharat was the traditional landmark on this planet. Building character and holistic profile, multi-creativeness, scientific prowess, spirit of serving and finally, doing good for one and all are the hallmarks of this new policy. The policy is very much in alignment with the development paradigm to “Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030”. Education, Research and Extension are explicitly recognised in a number of SDGs and academic and research institutions have a defining role in contributing to these SDGs.
However, fulfilling the above task of making youth ready to face and shape the future we want in conflict situations are not necessarily an enabling factor. The externally guided violence and radicalism of over past 3 decades unleased in our state has physically, emotionally and mentally drained the energy, creativity and positivity of our youth. Prevailing unemployment scenario, limited economic opportunities and COVID-Pandemic are not the plank on which we can launch a renaissance of youth that are productive and committed to the welfare of our nation. On the top of it, our academic and research institutions have not necessarily been the centres of pedagogy where children and students get professional and psychological mentorship that can bring out key virtues to interplay for shaping the sense of purpose in their individual lives and prepare them to serve the society constructively. Further, the fast pace of globalisation where world is more connected and networked -despite the COVID Pandemic- now stands threatened by the “Climate Change Phenomena” that needs not only re-orientation of our curricula but also drastic turnaround in our consumer lifestyles. Entitlements of free and fair education for one and all will need to be tagged to responsibilities that futuristic world will demand highest levels of self-awareness of building and practicing good values, self-regulation in controlling disruptive emotions created in conflict and other challenging situations, motivation to carry on despite the despairing socio-economic arenas we are living in, and while doing this still practicing empathy and social skills that make youth to work solution-oriented and take right decisions and carve out the right path for the self and society we live in.
Hence if contours of new policy are marked by the focus on multidisciplinary grooming of our youth and transforming these to human resources that are providing solutions demand-oriented than supply driven, we are on road to become a global power of knowledge. However, in whichever way we deliver the above policy, restructuring of our research and academic institutions is indispensable as the above policy has also underlined. The difference between the theory we preach in our education institutions is still a yawning gap away from practice and realities to which any fresh academician or researcher is exposed to once out of such institutions confronting with real-time scenarios of the society and the world around them. We will apart from education and research reform need a systemic change in the mentorship with which we accompany our children and higher education students. This mentorship must be able to increasingly build youth that have: strong social and environmental awareness; power to transform societies towards a prosperous, equitable and climate resilient future; creative and purposeful profiles that makes them adaptable to professional and psychological challenges thrown at them, and finally, linking them to collaborative leadership rather than the self-centered leadership that values natural ecosystems, empowers people and triggers positive change and collectivism in finding solutions, inter alia, to poverty, inequity, unemployment and climate resilience.Leadership is about leading and ability to inspire and influence others to move toward the accomplishment of common goals. While implementing the new education policy, it must be our endeavor to build on the emotional intelligence of each student and strengthening of their leadership skills, prepare them to take responsibility for creativity and commitment to their society and nation. One-to-One mentorship should convert individuals to societal “Change-Makers”. The mentorship must ensure that community engagement, cross disciplinary awareness, individual talent-specific growth and purposeful higher education broadens their horizon and makes them work for the nation as a global citizen that articulates the influencing tenets: Compassion -for one and all
Commitment -for positive societal changes, and finally Conviction – that they can be the drivers of change.
(The authors are Lead Strategist -Redefined Sustainable Thinking and
Patron – Redefined Sustainable Thinking)
Rajan Kotru & Virender Raina