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A Talk by Ms. Nirupama Rao on Education and the Global Citizen

The IACC Indo US Education Forum and The Teachers Foundation organised a talk by Ms. Nirupama Rao on “Education and the Global Citizen” in Bangalore on September 18, 2012.
Advocating education that will create global citizens, she said students should be taught to look beyond the individualistic aim of getting a job. “We shouldn’t be hostage to small thinking. The youth should be sensitized to wider issues of environment, food security, simple living, social entrepreneurship, gender violence,” she said. Education should create “well formed minds” in addition to “well filled minds”.  Ms.Rao called on school level educators in the country to understand globalisation and prepare students to engage in both regional and global affairs.” School Education must push an agenda of innovation. It must help students to prepare for the future and promote critical thinking,” she said.
The Ambassador stressed on the need to improvise the present condition of libraries in the country. “Much needs to be done to provide students, especially the underprivileged, with good reading facilities. Doordarshan could have a dedicated educational channel to disseminate interesting and relevant information for young minds in a multi-disciplinary fashion,” she said.
Schools of education should be as important as IITs. Education should teach the 3 S’s : sensitivity, security and spiritual & scientific temper. The final test of a school is the identity it creates. With regard to primary education, both India and the US Education systems have advantages. Many of the Indian students who go to the US for further studies have a solid foundation in Science. Americans have the ability to articulate with great confidence, to be critical and to question which helps them score over us. It would be an unbeatable mix if we have both. There is a great deal of admiration for Indian students in the US. The miniscule of Indian students in the US have come to symbolise Indian education for an average US citizen.
Community colleges in the US are institutes of higher learning which specialise in vocational training and skill development over a two year period. Community College Model is very successful in America. They are well integrated with the industry. Replicating the same time tested model in India may help train Indian students with specialised skills relevant to the job market, said the Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao. This initiative is a part of the India-US Higher Education Dialogue, she said and explained that under the India US HED, it is also planned to take 200 junior research fellows from India to universities in the US to amplify their vision and broader their horizon. “Nehru Fulbright fellowships are being extended to many areas including education, development, agriculture and economics among others”, she added.
Indians have the capacity to be multilingual. We should retain that talent.
At least 3-4 Indian Universities should aim to be among the top 200 universities list globally. We should find out why we are not there as yet. We can do much more if we are open to things outside. There is nothing wrong in imitating better things and nothing more tragic than a closed mind.
Talking about the role of social media in the growth of children, Ms.Rao felt that for a growing child, there’s nothing like holding a book and reading from printed paper. That’s how you nurture a young mind. It is only after that a child will be able to take the right judgement and use the social media medium without causing damage to himself.

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