Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today said the contribution of educational institutions is of critical importance in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and urged colleges and universities to play a bigger role in this endeavour.
Virtually inaugurating the annual meet of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and addressing a national seminar on ‘Realizing Sustainable Goals through Higher Education Institutions’, he said that primary, secondary and higher education institutions need to consciously adopt practices that lead to the achievement of SDGs.
He said colleges and universities can contribute in a number of ways such as research, policy development, and engagement with societies for creating awareness and effective implementation of sustainable development strategies.
Referring to the United Nation’s Agenda–2030 on Sustainable Development comprising 17 SDGs, Naidu said that India was in the 120th position in the 2021 SDG index. Stressing the need to surmount challenges such as poverty and illiteracy in achieving various SDGs, he called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders, including civil society and educational institutions.
Observing that India’s higher education sector is the third-largest in the world with around 1050 universities, more than 10,000 professional technical institutes, and 42,343 colleges, the Vice President said that if all of them contribute towards the accomplishment of the goals, it will make a major impact on the overall world scenario.
Referring to India’s glorious past in knowledge generation, application and dissemination to the world, he said the versatility of our knowledge systems and culture and their enduring significance make them relevant forever. He called upon all the Indian universities, including those in the private sector, to strive for academic excellence and make India ‘Viswaguru’ again.
Observing that the new National Education Policy—2020 is a farsighted document, the Vice President said that its implementation in letter and spirit will help us to achieve the SDG agenda.
Expressing his “deep-seated wish” to see Indian Universities ranked among the top 10 universities of the world, Naidu urged all universities to set high standards of academic excellence, including research, knowledge-creation, and focus on infrastructure development, while ensuring equitable access to education.