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India: SDGs at heart of NEP says minister

Sustainable development lies at the heart of India's national education policy, the country's minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan has said.
October 25 2021
2 Min Read

Sustainable development lies at the heart of India’s national education policy, the country’s minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan has said, as the country continues on its vision to create a generation of global citizens.

Speaking at Sannam S4’s SDG Conclave, the minister said that India is “committed to building collaborative networks to work with institutions from other countries [to…] make a positive impact in achieving the SDG goals”.

With 20% of the globe’s youth population and “more than 264 million students in schools and 39 million in higher education”, India is looking to emphasise a “collaborative approach” to its education.

“We think knowledge and education is a global commodity. We cannot think in isolation… We want to give opportunity to our Indian students of that global [high] standard,” the minister said.

The policies within the NEP – which will also allow international providers to build campuses in India – are “truly fully aligned” to UN SDGs and it “aims to nurture youth with global outlook and sensibilities”, Pradhan noted.

The NEP will also allow Indian institutions and universities to begin operations outside of India, the minister reminded. The plan to make India an education destination is increasingly attractive in emerging economies in Africa, South America, and different Asian countries, the minister claimed.

“We know 20% of the global SDG challenges are in this part of the world”

“They are looking towards India as a destination of education… So India is in a very good position – we’re open, we’re inviting anybody who can come to India,” he stated.

Built within the NEP is a “vision to create global citizens”, he continued.

“We know 20% of the global SDG challenges are in this part of the world.

“The answer lies with the challenge. We want to create a vision with our young generation who is concerned [about] climate and sustainability and the present day technological vision, we have to prepare our students, prepare our youngsters looking into the global development,” he said.

The policy contains capabilities to face 21st century global challenges building on foundational pillars of access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability, the minister continued.

To achieve high quality early childhood care and quality education for students in the remotest corners of the country, the government is focusing on local language offerings, as well as targeted support to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

“Cultivating 21st century skills amongst students like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, curiosity, communication, flexibility has come and made the cornerstone of this policy at every level of learning,” he said.

“The NEP gives a renewed vigour for establishing creative and innovative networks with other institutions across the world.

“With ongoing transformation, India stands more ready than ever before, for building networks with students, institutions, academia and industry from across the world to work on shared priorities and solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

“Internationalisation of the education, collaborative model, global vision, is a way [to take] responsibility of global problems, global solutions is the future strategy of the Indian education ecosystem.”

Sannam S4 CEO Adrian Mutton added that he is “absolutely convinced” the policy’s aims will have “major positive impact on not only India’s education environment, but more globally”.

“As you say, as Indian students go overseas, they have a role to a positive role to play on the global society and vice versa,” he told the minister.

“For those that are coming to India, building partnerships, building those transnational educational links, there is enormous potential between India and the rest of the planet.”

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