Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024 can only be achieved if India becomes an 'education superpower' by then, said Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Minister of Human Resource Development at the ThinkEdu Conclave 2020, hosted by The New Indian Express on January 9.
“The New Education Policy (NEP) is going to be implemented and there can be no better time to have a conclave like this, which is completely dedicated to education. India has a rich tradition of imparting high-quality education through its ancient institutions, like Nalanda and Takshasila. I am glad that this conclave is happening in Tamil Nadu, a state that has gifted the world excellent personalities like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Venky Ramakrishnan, Srinivasa Ramanujan, General Cariappa and the like,” said Pokhriyal at the event. Emphasising on the fact that India's rich traditions have only made other countries look up to it, he added, “We follow the tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which in Sanskrit means 'the world is one family'. We have considered the entire world as our family and we have dedicated our efforts towards the well-being of others. Education guides us to the truth, from death to eternity. The Indian system of education is designed to guide us from darkness to light.”
Shifting to a slightly controversial topic (possibly as an answer to critics who say that the current government is intolerant), he said that India cannot be considered conservative in nature. “We are one of the most broad-minded nations in the world. As I had pointed out earlier, we have considered the entire world to be our family. India has been a source of hope for the whole world. Our ancient wisdom and our traditions have been spectacular, whether it is Ayurveda, Yoga or the like. We have a legacy of great personalities like Lord Krishna and Lord Ram. Our rich heritage has inspired the whole world. We are the ones who taught the immortality of the soul through the Gita. So, how can we be considered close-minded in any context?” he asked.
Reiterating that the NEP will serve as the foundation for a new India that is strong, healthy and united, he told a cheering audience that India is one of the youngest countries in the world and will continue to remain so for the next 25 years. “We have the power to be young, healthy and successful. When I told the education ministers of all countries, except Pakistan and the US, who had gathered at a UNESCO event in Paris that India has 1,000 universities, 45,000 colleges, 16,000 schools, and 10 million teachers...all of them were surprised. They all look up to us,” he stated.
He assured the young crowd present at the conclave that the NEP will be India-centric, innovative, research-based and practical, and incorporate all the values that Indians are known for. “It is the result of more than 3-and-a-half years of hard work. It is one of the biggest innovative exercises in the world. We have received over 5 lakh suggestions for it so far and we have tried to reach each and every stakeholder — students, chancellors, teachers, experts, policymakers, village committees,” he said.