Students Must Do One Semester Of Community Fieldwork: Dr Bhushan Patwardhan, Vice Chairman UGC

The UGC Vice Chairman called for one-semester community fieldwork for students, creation of a national academic credit bank and monitoring of research to maintain quality.

The Vice-Chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) -- Dr Bhushan Patwardhan -- stressed on the need for acknowledging recognising and encouraging the efforts of the private sector in the field of higher education. 

In his keynote address at the 10th Anniversary Commemorative Conference on Higher Education, he observed that one must not see whether an institution is public or a private one but whether it is being run on not for profit basis. Referring to the silent revolution in the field of higher education led by the private institutions including the emergence of new centres of excellence, Dr. Patwardhan emphasized that India needs more such efforts.

The UGC Vice Chairman called for one-semester community fieldwork for students, creation of a national academic credit bank and monitoring of research to maintain quality.

He also termed JGU as an exemplary and fastest-growing university known for its international faculty and diversity. The UGC Vice-Chancellor also called for an effort to further innovate, research and quality of education. He commented that students cannot be given a set pattern of learning and be expected to match up to expectations as this process prohibits questioning without allowing for creativity. 

Dr Pritam Singh, Member, Empowered Expert Committee of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) for Institution of Eminence (IOE) And Former Director, MDI, Gurgaon & IIM, Lucknow said, “India has been known for its thought leadership. A great transformation is taking place in education but the application of knowledge is important. The knowledge that does not create wealth is irrelevant. Knowledge enables us to move from darkness to light. There are many levels of learning. The journey from being a teacher to an accomplished guru is about understanding the purpose of leadership and the impact of a leader on people.”

He referred to ancient texts in his address to further elucidate his thoughts, "Context is important to strategy he said, as he commented on JGU’s relentless quest for excellence and achievement. “I think that the world will be ruled, not by weapons but, by those who can exercise the power of knowledge. Being a seeker of knowledge sets an individual apart. Like an ‘Acharya’ who would have attained the highest state of learning. Countries that are leading in the world today do so due to their learning and the knowledge and how they influence other countries. How they further disseminate their information to the rest of the world is important. Knowledge and learning creates prosperity and wealth. It is like thoughts without action. Knowledgeable leaders integrate these two attributes."

JGU’s 10th Anniversary Commemorative Conference on 'Universities of the Future: Global Aspirations and Local Imperatives' is being organised by the International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building (IIHEd), JGU.

In his welcome address Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal University (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar and Director, International Institute for Higher Education Research & Capacity Building (IIHEd) said, “The vision of JGU is to create an institution that transcends boundaries and to prepare students to face challenges in the future. JGU aims to be a role model for excellence in higher education.”

JGU believes in institutional excellence as an essential element of world-class education and this conference is JGU’s attempt to promote discussions and deliberations on how to promote a culture of excellence in universities. The sessions will focus on the conceptual framework of excellence, how differently it is perceived by various stakeholders in higher education space. The conference also endeavours to raise some important questions like, whether excellence requires transcending disciplinary boundaries? Are rankings a benchmark for excellence? Whether internationalisation translates into collaboration or competition amongst others.

The two-day conference has sessions on promoting excellence in higher education through IoEs chaired by Dr Pritam Singh with panellists including Dr Alice Prochaska, former Principal Somerville College, Oxford and Pro-VC University of Oxford, Dr Rupamanjari Ghosh, VC Shiv Nadar University, Dr H. Vinod Bhat, VC Manipal University and Dr Stephen P. Marks Professor, Harvard University.

Other eminent panels discuss on themes such as Thought Leadership in Education to Inter-Disciplinarity in Higher Education, Balancing Diversity and Inclusion Comparative Perspectives on Regularising Higher Education and the role of International Rankings & Benchmarking as Measures of Excellence in Higher Education. 

The conference has welcomed educationists, academics, policy-makers, government representatives and experts from institutions and academic bodies across the world including the US, UK, SAARC Nations, Afghanistan, Public and Private Universities in India.

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