Solan, July 19
Education rating agency QS IGAUGE, in a first-of-its-kind initiative, organised the Himalayan edition of the conference on ‘Redefining Institutional Strategy for Excellence’ (RISE). The conclave was jointly hosted by Shoolini University, Solan, and the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun.
Focussing on the Himalayas as a destination of global learning and research, several luminaries of the education world discussed the advantages of the Himalayan region to promote education. The panelists, during the session titled, ‘The Himalayas as the next Global Destination for Research and Learning’ deliberated how, from the ancient times, the Himalayas had always been a great centre of education.
The debate on the topic, ‘Global Rankings — Research vs Learning and Teaching’ focused on what defined the quality of an institution. Speakers for the motion, Dr Sunil Rai and Prof BR Mehta, emphasised the importance of research. He said that research-enhanced curiosity, uniquely attributed to humans, led to scientific and cultural development. Research also increased the application for the betterment of society and humanity, he added.
Countering the comments, the speakers against the motion, Ms Sharmila Katre and Mr Rahul Gupta, said research may be a way of getting noticed as first among equals but learners/students did not really prefer it. They mentioned that focus should be more on learning and understanding, rather than on research.
With the pandemic keeping us on our toes for the last 15 months, there was an interesting and relevant discussion on whether the future of education was virtual or face-to-face.
Concluding the session, Shoolini University Pro Chancellor Mr Vishal Anand said, “There are four pillars of building a great institution. The first is good governance; the second, conservation of the environment; then comes preservation and promotion of culture; and finally, sustainable and equitable socio-economic development.”
Shoolini University Vice Chancellor Atul Khosla stressed the need for higher education in India, mentioning that both UPES and Shoolini University had similar demographics and topography, and the coming together of these two would make sure that Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh would soon become world-class centres of learning.
Earlier, UPES Vice Chancellor Dr Sunil Rai appreciated Shoolini University for its support in creating the platform, which showcased India as the next destination. He pointed out that both UPES and Shoolini University were located in the serene Himalayas, which had a peaceful environment, and promoted good health and brotherhood. Universities like these, he said, fostered an atmosphere of learning and wisdom, and the research conducted on herbs in these biodiverse regions would benefit all mankind.