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Liberal ideas in higher education must: Expert

Hans India 2019-06-10 21:04:00

New Delhi: Democratic and inclusive societies cannot be built without a foundational understanding of liberal ideas in higher education, O P Jindal Global University's founding vice-chancellor, professor C Raj Kumar has said.

He was speaking at the 2019 Global University Leaders Council in Hamburg on the growing threat to liberal studies around the world. Critical thinking and the pursuit of interdisciplinary education in all programmes is imperative for higher education reforms, he said.

The vice-chancellor said the council reflected on the challenges faced by universities around the world. He stressed that it was important for countries around the world to invest in the pursuit of liberal and broad-based education for developing and inculcating among its young populace shared ideals of global citizenship and cosmopolitanism.

"We cannot build democratic and inclusive societies without having a foundational understanding of liberal ideas in our higher education system. Regardless of the discipline or programme of study, universities have a duty and responsibility to foster the study of humanities to all its students," Kumar told PTI. "Critical thinking and the pursuit of interdisciplinary education in all programmes is a sine qua non of higher education reforms," he said. The event was attended by 45 presidents, rectors and vice chancellors from universities from 30 countries. JGU was the only Indian higher education institution at the meet.

The Global University Leaders Council 2019 meeting acts as a forum to initiate dialogue among global university leaders on key challenges that higher education systems around the world are confronted with. It was co-organised by the German Rectors' Conference, the Körber Foundation, and the Universität Hamburg from June 5-7. Kumar, who chaired the session on "Universities for the Common Good" at the forum, said to fulfil the society's expectations from higher educational institutions, it was necessary that universities assert their autonomy not just on the basis of curriculum and pedagogy, but also on a larger sense of responsibility towards fulfilling the common good.