Unlike Kalam’s “India 2020”, as a university, I thought of having a vision for (myself as a teacher and a nation builder) the next 20 years, i.e., vision 2040. In this regard I searched for the biggest challenges of the 21st century. The most common challenges found in all major surveys are:
- Climate crisis (Global warming is real, large ice caps are melting)
- Water and Air quality (Delhi status, oxygen bars)
- Sustainable growth (industrial growth affecting biodiversity, deforestation resulting endangered species)
- Ageing population (All the current working population will be ageing soon)
- Lifestyle diseases (addiction to social media, junk food, less and meaningless relations)
- Flood risks (Kodagu, Kerala and Uttara Karnataka)
- Natural hazards (bush fire in amazon forests and Australia)
- Food security (malnutrition)
- Conquering disease (Corona virus- COVID-19)
- Globalization and geopolitics (crisis in Syria, refugees, migration, infiltration, cultural differences)
All these things in one or the other way are related to environment, agriculture, healthcare and culture. Even when I see the government funding agencies, they fund only those projects which address these concerns.
We don’t teach any of these things with rigor. There is no hardcore curriculum which discusses about these issues.
But the new generation- “Millennials”- as they are called is not looking for job opportunities to just earn salary as they already have the basic essentials provided by their parents. They need something beyond curriculum, beyond marks and something beyond money…. They need a purpose to work, they need a problem to be solved, and they need something which amazes them for long. Our focus should be provide them with a sense of purpose to actively involve and engage them.
In fact, civilian honours like Padmashree are also given to people who have contributed immensely at the grassroots, which again are mostly related to environment, agriculture, healthcare, and culture.
Hence, we should all cultivate an education system that offers more than conventional programs. We should have more educational institutions that foster an ecosystem for research, innovation, projects, funding, start-ups, creativity, breakthrough discoveries, solutions to burning issues and so on.
In this regard, I shared my concern with my fellow colleagues and team members, and asked them to strategize innovative ideas where we can reduce the gap between what is taught and what is needed. I wanted the shift
- from marks-based learning to problem-based learning and
- money based working to purpose driven working.
If students are provided with a menu of problems instead of curriculum, and if students walk out of the portals of REVA University with a patent/product/process instead of placement, I feel the very purpose of being in teaching field will be served.
CLEAN - Air Water
PRECISION - Medicine Agriculture
SUSTAINABLE - Energy Environment