Union HRD Minister meets Director General of UNESCO
Union Minister of Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who heads the Indian National Commission for Co-operation with UNESCO, met the Director General UNESCO Audrey Azoulay in New Delhi yesterday. They discussed issues of importance to both India and UNESCO. Azoulay is on a three-day official visit to India.
Ramesh Pokhriyal welcomed the DG, UNESCO and reaffirmed that India, as a founding member of UNESCO, was committed to achieving its goals through various national and international programmes. He said that with over 700 million young people in India, issues of education at all levels- primary, higher and tertiary, are of great importance to both UNESCO and India.
The Minister and the Director General discussed means by which education can benefit from technological advancements such as information technology and how to gear it up for the future in this digital age. Education for girls and their increasing participation in STEM, vocational education, teacher training, education for the weaker and marginalized sections of society and those differently-abled are also, important issues that formed a part of their discussions.
highlighted that on the educational front, the Government of India is fully
committed to the attainment of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals 4. India is
working to further UNESCO’s objective of making quality education available to
everyone. He said that various steps have been taken to improve access,
equity, and quality of education. The Minister added that a New Education Policy
is on the anvil, which has been formulated after the largest ever process of
consultation with stakeholders. This policy will go a long way towards the attainment of SDG Goal 4. He further said that the initiatives like NISHTHA- the
world’s largest teacher training programme, LEAP and ARPIT for higher education
faculty, Prime Minister’s innovative learning programme DHRUV, or the MOOCS
portal SWAYAM are all significant steps in this direction.
Pokhriyal highlighted that the Government is also working to internationalize education through schemes like STUDY IN INDIA that encourages enrolment of foreign students in Indian universities, SPARC that promotes joint research between Indian and foreign institutions and GIAN for international faculty teaching courses in Indian institutions.
He added that India can share its experience with Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA), Operation Digital Board (ODB) – Smart Classroom, MOOCS portal SWAYAM with other member countries who need it. Similarly initiatives like NISHTHA, LEAP and ARPIT can be shared with other member countries and collaborations can be built around these.
Pokhriyal and Audrey Azoulay signed the Operational Agreement extending the presence of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) for a further period of 5 years. MGIEP is a New Delhi based UNESCO’s Category 1 Research Institute, maintained wholly by the Ministry of Human Resource Development that focuses on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.7 towards education for building peaceful and sustainable societies across the world. In line with its vision of ‘Transforming Education for Humanity’, the institute’s programmes and products are designed to mainstream social and emotional learning in education systems, innovate digital pedagogies and to put youth as global citizens at the center of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. DG, UNESCO, and Pokhriyal also laid the foundation stone for the premises of MGIEP.