More than 1,000 university professors nationwide are being trained in Indian traditions, culture, and way of life to deliver relevant courses on Indian knowledge systems at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels beginning with the next academic session.
The training is being provided in light of the University Grants Commission’s plans to introduce two credit courses on Indian culture and traditions in the first years of both UG and PG programmes at universities across the country, according to sources in the Ministry of Education’s Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) division. In fact, over the next two years, the UGC plans to train 15 lakh teachers in IKS.
The key areas of ancient Indian knowledge systems explored are parampara (tradition), drishti (perspective), and loukik prayojan (contemporary relevance). The six-day training has been divided into four sections.
The first part deals with an overview of the subject, including an introduction to pre-14th century Vedic texts, followed by the philosophical foundations of IKS like the Darshana Shastra (Vedic Philosophy). Vocabulary lessons containing words that cannot be translated, such as karma and dharma, will be covered in the third part. In the fourth and possibly most important part, teachers are being trained in teaching IKS, such as Tantra Yukti, a research methodology and innovative pedagogy.
Speaking about the development, Anurag Deshpande, IKS coordinator for the training programme, said:
We have registered 180 faculty to be trained at each center. We have collaborated with the UGC, and the centers selected are from among the ‘Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching’, which is tasked with capacity building of faculty, keeping in mind the implementation of the NEP 2020.
The UGC judgment is consistent with the National Education Policy 2020, which directed that knowledge from ancient India and its contributions to modern India be included in the curriculum. It also suggested that an “engaging course” on IKS be offered to secondary school students as an elective. “Competitions may be held in schools for learning various topics and subjects through fun and indigenous games,” according to the document.
The IKS cell has been established under the Education Ministry to promote interdisciplinary research on all aspects of IKS and preserve and disseminate the same for further research and societal applications. It began training faculty members from universities nationwide in July and expects to conclude by October-end. The training programmes are being conducted in six cities — Nagpur, Chennai, Varanasi, Srinagar, Guwahati, and Delhi — each covering the surrounding States. Training sessions are already over in the first four cities and will be conducted in Guwahati and Delhi later this month.
The faculty at each center were divided into four batches of 45 members each and can now conduct training courses in their respective institutions.
UGC chairperson M. Jagadesh Kumar added:
The University Grants Commission aims to train 15 lakh teachers in the next two years. We will achieve this goal by launching the Malaviya Mission later this month. Through these training programmes, we are also dispelling the limitations of Indian knowledge systems. We are demonstrating in the training programme that IKS is about learning from the continuous knowledge traditions and the wisdom of India for building an aspiring India.
UGC sources said that the IKS cell has been tasked with creating more than 40 discipline-specific courses. The Commission also plans to onboard artists and experts from various streams not formally connected to mainstream academia to provide students with their experience and expertise.
The UGC has the unique distinction of being the only grant-giving organization in the country with two responsibilities: providing funding and coordinating, determining, and maintaining standards in higher education institutions. Traditionally, the UGC was entrusted with coordinating, formulating, and maintaining university education standards. To that end, it framed regulations on minimum educational standards, determined standards of teaching, examination, and research in universities, monitored developments in the field of collegiate and university education, disbursed grants to universities and colleges, and established Inter-University Centres to provide common facilities, services, and programmes for a group of universities.