Beijing/New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, taking part in the BRICS Education Ministers’ meeting in Beijing on Wednesday, said increased cooperation in education was the need of the hour.
Javadekar said that education empowers everyone and has a bearing on the future.
“Education is a universal, apolitical agenda. It’s not negotiation, but cooperation all the way. So, increased cooperation in education is the need of the hour,” he said.
He thanked China for hosting the meeting and appreciated the creation of institutional mechanisms such as BRICS Network University and BRICS Think Tank Council.
He said BRICS Network University, where 12 universities from each of the five member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will engage with one another in education research and innovation, is another commendable initiative.
Javadekar’s visit to Beijing comes amid current stand-off between India and China in Sikkim’s Doklam area, also referred to as Donglong by Beijing.
An official release said that five areas of cooperation had been prioritised, viz, communication and IT, economics, climate change, water resources and pollution, and BRICS study.
In his address at the meeting, Javadekar also said that India is reforming education. “In school education, it is the learning outcomes which are being emphasised upon and efforts are on to promote creativity and keep alive curiosity and inquisitiveness amongst students. In higher education, the focus is on skilling, research and innovation.”
The Minister emphasised the steps taken to achieve equity through increased scholarships, education loans, remission and fee waivers for disadvantaged and marginalised sections.
Javadekar also spoke about India’s indigenous open online platform, SWAYAM, which has already hosted over 480 courses online and, this year, plans to host 2,000 courses and GIAN (Global Initiative for Academics Network) under which 600 professors from 62 countries have already conducted their courses in India.
Later, Javadekar met Chinese Education Minister Chen Baosheng and discussed bilateral cooperation.