Great Himalayan Conclave: Leaders mull prospects of higher education

 Solan, July 17 

Leaders of higher education from various walks of life came together at the Great Himalayan Conclave, Redefining Institutional Strategy for Excellence (RISE), on Friday. During this first-of-its-kind initiative, QS IGAUGE, college and university rating agency, collaborated with Shoolini University, Solan, and the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun.

Globally renowned personalities connected with their peer groups on this virtual platform and deliberated upon the possible solutions, way forward, and an action plan to achieve institutional excellence despite worldwide challenges brought about by the pandemic.

In his welcome address, Dr Ashwin Fernandes, CEO, QS IGAUGE, said Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were blessed with a rich cultural and spiritual heritage, and now stood at the third and fourth positions in literacy in the country. He said both the states should now chart the road map for world-class education.

Speaking on the occasion, Shoolini University Founder and Vice Chancellor Prof Atul Khosla said the university system provided the momentum for economic progress. He explained why there would be a change in the orthodox method of teaching and how disruptions in the current situations have made technology an important part in delivering education. The Himalayas, being untouched by the modern world, have got all the necessary credentials for research and innovation studies, he added.

Key speaker Ms Perdita Fraser, a member of the Board Edinburg University, Scotland, emphasised how we can motivate ourselves to reach the top by focussing on the tendency for investment. Ms Fraser also shared how to make universities and the living world a better place by being more strategic, working with industries, in partnerships and being focussed on research and teaching.

Dr Ashok Saxena, former Pro Chancellor, University of Arkansas, USA, said rankings carried much significance and helped in introspection and self-improvement.

The panelists also discussed why the Himalayas were the next global destination for research and learning. A debate on the future of higher education and global rankings methodology also took place in the conference. 

The conference was broadcast live on YouTube and was attended by education leaders and renowned academicians from India and International speakers from USA, UK, Japan and Nepal.

Other prominent speakers included, Dr Karan Avtar Singh Ex-Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab; Prof BR Mehta, Ex. Dean R&D Department of Physics, IIT Delhi; Ms Sharmila Katre, Director Academic Development & Innovation GUS; Dr Neharika Vohra, Vice Chancellor, Delhi Skill & Entrepreneurship University; Mr Sanjiv Mehta Advisor and Head Program Development IBM Innovation Centre of Education; Padma Shri Dr Dinesh Singh, Ex-VC Delhi University; Maj Gen Atul Kaushik, Chairman HP-PERC (Himachal Pradesh Private Education Regulatory Commission); Prof PK Khosla, Founder and Chancellor Shoolini University; Mr Vishal Anand, Founder and Pro Chancellor, Shoolini University; Mr Ashish Khosla, Director Learning and Innovation, Shoolini University and Mr Vivek Atray, Ex-IAS and motivational speaker.

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