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Education, a guiding light for a shared vision of G20

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Under the leadership of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, India will host the G20 summit later this year. How is this G20 going to be different from past ones? In PM Modi’s words, India is a microcosm for the world, and India’s G20 presidency will work to promote this universal sense of oneness. Hence our theme, One Earth, One Family, One Future, is on the principles of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

The increasing global population continues to pose challenges of a mass movement, rapid urbanisation, inequities in access, increased conflict over resources, and systemic defiance in containing deadly viruses locally. This has forced a question: What does it mean to be human? To be human is to grasp at a cognitive level the interconnectedness of life and constantly strive to expand our well-being against all odds. The interconnectedness of existence necessitates mutual understandings, agreements and solutions on a grand scale, underlining — yet again — the importance of multilateral platforms such as G20.

Talking about the importance of multilateral platforms, for the first time, broadening the G20 umbrella, PM Modi called upon more than 125 developing countries of the Global South to share their perspectives and priorities on a common platform called the Voice of Global South Summit under the theme of “Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose”.

India’s G20 presidency is not a mere event. It imbibes the concept of creating global citizens and is fundamental to developing the world order. It is about working together to create a cleaner, healthier, peaceful, technologically competent, yet sustainably developed world. And our education and skills ecosystem has a vital role in this.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, a philosophical document, is based on the foundational principles of access, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability and is India’s guiding light for achieving the shared vision of G20. The spirit of NEP 2020 will be reflected through events, discussions and knowledge with four priority issues: Ensuring foundational literacy and numeracy, the role of digital technology in education, building capacities and lifelong learning for the future of work, and strengthening research collaboration.

From NIPUN Bharat, toy-based learning, 200 television channels, the National Education Technology Forum and the National Credit Framework to the creation of skill labs with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, technological advancements in automation, the education working group (EdWG) under G20 will witness a wide spectrum of new ideas, learnings and practices that India has to offer.

The key events of EdWG will include seminars and official meetings in Chennai, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar and Pune, based on the identified themes, starting this month and ending in June with the G20 education ministers’ meet in Pune. This will reflect a “moment of India” with higher education institutions, philanthropic organisations and the digital technology sector coming together. International and national knowledge partners include Unesco, Unicef, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the National Council of Educational Research and Training, the University Grants Commission, the Central Board of Secondary Education, National Skill Development Corporation, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science, and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, among others.

Regarding skills, the world is witnessing transformative trends of demographic transitions and technological changes such as Industry 4.0, Web 3.0, and extended reality technology that will bring changes to jobs in the future. This priority area aims to deliberate on strategies and measures required to strengthen human and institutional capacity to deliver future skills through skilling, reskilling and upskilling and promote lifelong learning.

As part of the EdWG meeting, the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) was entrusted to lead the priority area of “building capacities, promoting life-long learning in the context of future of work”. MSDE will organise a seminar around this theme at IIT Bhubaneswar in April 2024. On the sidelines of EdWG, a three-day skills exhibition on the future of work will also be organised on April 24-26. G20 awareness programmes among students, faculty and academia will be conducted throughout the year’s first half, including intellectual events such as quizzes, debates, essay competitions, physical events (cycle rallies, flag marches), and other social media events. Students will be encouraged to provide an international experience with a local flavour. Reiterating PM Modi’s words, India’s G20 agenda will be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, decisive, and a presidency of healing, harmony and hope.

Dharmendra Pradhan is minister of education and minister of skill development and entrepreneurship

The views expressed are personal

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