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Dr. Vinith Kumar Nair speak at THE India Universities Forum

February 23, 2023 - 3:11
Dr. Vinith Kumar Nair speak at THE India Universities Forum

THE India Universities Forum on the theme “Optimising learning landscape” was held on 23rd February 2023 in partnership with KIIT University in Bhubaneswar, India. This forum convened key voices from Indian universities and the higher education sector with influential international speakers to discuss positive pathways to recover from the disruption of COVID-19. The one-day-long deliberations included panel discussions that focused on the following:

  • What are the competing models of provision, and what kind of impact should investors, innovators, and learners focus on?
  • Can the sector become more inclusive, representative of the national population, and more globally competitive?
  • As the National Education Policy ages, what will be on policymakers’ agenda?

The Honorable Governor of Odisha State, Shri Ganeshi Lal, inaugurated the forum. The other speakers at the inaugural function included Ms.Alison Barrett, Country Director (India), British Council, Mr. Phil Baty , Chief Global Affairs Officer, THE, Shri. Achyuta Samanta, Founder KIIT University, and Prof. Sasmita Samanta, Vice Chancellor, KIIT University.

The forum started with THE data masterclass: Indian higher education globally. Dr. Shubhra Dutta, Regional Customer Consultant (South Asia), Elsevier, and Mr. Duncan Ross, Chief Data Officer, THE, led the masterclass. Dr. Shubhra talked about the research contribution of Indian Universities, and Mr. Duncan presented the performance of Indian Universities in the THE World University Rankings.

Opening keynote address for THE India Universities Forum was given by Dr.N. V. Varghese, Director, Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education on What is the future of transnational education in India? His address highlighted that India’s research ecosystem is often dominated by transnational agencies, and establishing strong linkages between this research and Indian society is not always achieved. He also focused on What does a more mutually beneficial future of transnational education in India look like. The panelists for this panel discussion were Ms.Gitanjali Goswami, Branded Content Manager, THE, Prof. Saugata Bhaduri, Professor, Jawaharla Nehru University, Mr.Vivek Iyer, Vice-President of Sales (India), Anthology, Prof. Saikat Majumdar, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Ashoka University and Prof. Srikant Srinivasan, Associate Dean of Academics, Plaksha University

The education sector has witnessed an unprecedented expansion in India over the past two decades, but often only private universities are poised to meet the demand through robust investments in more inclusive and diverse hiring. The second panel discussion focused on how is the new National Education Policy working to bridge this divide since its implementation, and what else needs to be done? The theme of the panel discussion was Quality, cost and access: Is the NEP reducing inequalities across Indian higher education? The speakers for this panel were Prof. Sasmita Samanta, Vice-chancellor, KIIT University, Ms.Rittika Chandaparruck, Higher Education Lead, British Council, Prof. Vinith Kumar Nair, Associate Director, Amrita Center for Accreditations, Rankings & Eminence, Amrita University and Prof. Joyashree Roy, Professor of Economics, Jadavpur University.

The panel discussion after the tea break was on the theme, A return to Vishwavidyalaya: How are Indian universities translating their core values into impact? The speakers for this panel were Mr. Phil Baty, Chief, Global Affairs Officer, THE, Prof. C. Raj Kumar, Founding vice-chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University, Ms. Poorvi Shah, CEO, Katalyst India and Mr. Amarjit Singh, Founder and CEO, India Business Group. The panel discussed what kind of investment and models of provision are required to elevate and improve the livelihood of tribal communities, especially as the world reckons with a changing climate.

More universities from India were represented in the THE Impact Rankings 2022 than any other country, showing how important India is globally in helping to achieve the UN SDGs. Sustainability and environmentally friendly practices have been at the core of Indian culture for centuries, and now the universities are taking the lead to show how locally developed solutions can have a global impact. The forum came to an end with the panel discussion on “Local solutions to global challenges: Where India is leading on impact”. This session reviewed the performance of the India higher education sector across the UN SDGs, and case studies of best practice in policy, action and research for sustainability were highlighted. The speakers for the panel discussion were Mr.Ishan Cader, Director of Consultancy, THE, Dr. Madhu Chitkara, Pro Chancellor, Chitkara University, Dr. Ashok Mittal, Chancellor, Lovely Professional University and Dr. Pratap Mohapatra, Professor Emeritus, KIIT University.

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