Higher education can help in strengthening democracy, creating a just society: Experts

New Delhi, Aug 9 (PTI) Education holds a key role in creating a just society and strengthening democracy, experts said while discussing higher education’s impact on inequality and empowerment of youth.

Participating in the discussion titled ‘Role of Education in Creating a Just Society’ at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) centre here, Rod Hilton, deputy high commissioner- Australian High Commission, Raj Kumar, founding vice chancellor of O P Jindal Global University and Gabrielle Appleby, associate professor at School of Law- UNSW, stressed on the strong relationship between higher education and the creation of a just society.

Talking about the two-fold role of education in a democracy, Kumar said that education plays an important role in strengthening democracy while working on perfecting it.

“Education, and higher education, helps in developing informed and enlightened citizenry and strengthens democracy. By addressing inequalities, education helps in empowering people, he said

He pointed out that education has a meaningful role to play in preventing India’s large youthful populace from slipping into “vulnerabilities” by creating “greater resilience” in society.

Acknowledging that India is at a “rudimentary stage of education” facing a number of challenges like lack of funding for research and mediocrity in institutions, he added that the heart of higher education system “should not be only building a just society, but also building a sense of justice”.

Hilton, who was moderating the discussion, said the new ‘India Economic Strategy to 2035’ report released by the Australian government focuses on the strong cooperation in the education sector between the two countries as one of the major pillars of their strategic partnership.

“Education is the flagship sector outlined in the report,” Hilton said, adding that there are 68,000 Indian students in Australia and the figure was growing in double-digit numbers in the last few years.

While emphasising on the tools of analysis, evaluation and critical thought, Appleby said that students and faculty should be encouraged to have “a questioning mind and the power of questioning”.

“Education’s focal contribution is developing students who go on to become and contribute to their country’s civil society,” she added while citing the Australian Feminist Judgments Project, through which women activists are asked to re-write judgments with a feminist outcome.

The UNCW and Jindal Global University recently signed an agreement between the School of Law and two schools of business where students will be part of an exchange program for a semester.

Leave a Reply