NEW DELHI: Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Friday reiterated India’s initiatives for a well-focussed education strategy in the Saarc region and improved cooperation among the member countries.
Addressing the second meeting of Saarc Education Ministers, Irani said,“ The resolve of our nations to work, study and think together has materialised in the form of the South Asian University, jointly funded by all the member countries and which started functioning nearly four years ago in New Delhi.”
According to her, the Saarc member states must jointly strive to ensure that the varsity emerges as an institute of excellence, which will contribute to the creation of knowledge in the region through affordable quality higher education. “I would like to remind all of us the recent Declarations of the Saarc summits and the importance accorded to education in all the meets for which we need to work more closely for a change in the existing scenario.”
“Harmonisation of academic standards, establishment of long-term linkages amongst universities, research institutions and think-tanks in the region, recognition of educational qualifications, institutionalisation of students, have been stressed as long-term sustainable people-to-people linkages,” the HRD Minister added.
India’s initiatives for inclusive education, quality improvement, development and sharing of e-resources, connectivity, e-learning and massive open online courses (MOOCs), mutual capacity building and more exchanges of students and researchers also figured in the discussions. It was agreed to share the best practices and achievements in education by each member state for leveraging on mutual strengths.
The participants included Education Ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives and Nepal, besides the chairman of Higher Education Commission from Pakistan and senior officials from Sri Lanka.
A New Delhi Declaration on Education was also adopted at the meeting, identifying Saarc perspectives on the post-2015 education agenda and regional priority areas of action.