A Note based on the deliberations and ideas generated in the
“2017 Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Dialogue Summit of Elite Universities & the Presidents’ Forum” held at Chengdu, China, on 10 -12 May.
The educational and cultural relations between India and China can be traced back to very early times. Both India and China are known for ancient tradition of exchange in learning – heavily ethical in orientation. The University of Nalanda, built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. The Chinese scholar and traveler Hiuen Tsang (600-654 AD) stayed at Nalanda University in the 7th century, and in his writings left an elaborate description of the excellence, and purity of monastic life of that time.
The introduction of Buddhism by India is one of the most important events in Chinese history, and since its inception it has been a major factor in Chinese civilization. The expansion of Indian culture into China is a monument to human understanding and cultural cooperation- the outcome of a voluntary quest for learning.
The world is facing unparalleled challenges today. How will we deal with issues like the mounting needs of energy, food, health care, jobs, ageing and a rapidly shifting global economy? How can Higher Education play any role in this? Our joint deliberations here suggest that the key lies in innovation. India and China are world’s two most populous nations. Right since the days of Enlightenment and its following schema of human progress through scientific development, mankind has known the path of probing the truth and mystery of nature. India and China who both entered the world of political and modern scientific age in the middle of the last century, have known the need of innovation as the most rewarding factor of progress and people’s welfare. We recognize the importance of innovation as it envisions a future in which people in all parts of the world can improve their quality of life. The progress that India and China make on higher education and innovation is watched with keen interest by most people around the world. Explosion of inventions and innovations is of importance not only for the inhabitants of our two countries, who constitute nearly two-fifths of the world’s population, but also for the world as a whole.
The relationship of the university with society is in a rapid flux that generates new forces of social and economic dynamism. The university is not only the centre of learning but a hub of the innovation, skill, enterprise and the change as well. What was perceived by the leadership in China and India in the fifties, that is, utmost need to inculcate scientific temper in our respective cultures for the great leap forward, is paying dividend now. We can see all around us how the innovation, technology and its adoption has become culture and habit in today’s China. India too has reached that stage when tenets of new age comfortably ride on the tradition and diffusion becomes a social reality. Having a culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the university is a global imperative today. Stimulating innovative and growth-oriented entrepreneurship is a key economic and societal challenge to which universities have much to contribute. Key to progress in cultural change is to create an innovative ecosystem; a network of activities; individuals, groups, and processes that are interacting, reinforcing, self-sustaining, and growing in scope and density. This ecosystem influences many aspects of the university’s operation and fosters a supportive environment for innovation and entrepreneurial activity. Innovation and Entrepreneurship pave ‘the path from the idea to the impact.’ The university has to convert the fundamental knowledge that grows in it into real things and real actions that have real consequences for real people. The 2015 Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Youyou TU, a researcher who spent her entire career researching traditional Chinese medicine, has opened a new perspective of innovation for China and India. Traditional medical knowledge anywhere in the world had not even been on the radar for Noble Prize prospects until now. I welcome Universities from China to come forward and join hands with their Indian counterparts, including Shobhit University, where we are studying and doing research in Ayurveda (oldest science of Life) and Yoga. Our joint efforts to further explore and innovate in this area will benefit the world Health Sector at large, and create jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities.
A word about the political and diplomatic efforts at cooperation becomes necessary and relevant here while we talk about cooperation. This is about the BRICS. Today BRICS represent the new multi-polar world; and collectively, the five BRICS nations account for 42% of world population, 20% of output, and nearly all of current growth in the global economy. India and China are playing a crucial role for a new balance of global power. I wish to propose that universities and institutions from China and India should proactively join the BRICS innovative initiatives. One of such initiative is BRICS – Biomed Consortium. The BRICS Biomed Consortium aims to augment innovation and product development in bio-medical areas. There are global opportunities in Biomed and it will witness an investment of USD 5 billion and USD 50 billion returns are expected between 2015 and 2021. By 2025, BRICS Bio-med Centre in India will be established in four major cities; Kanyakumari, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi. Prof. M. Moni, an Emeritus Professor of Shobhit University is heading the working group of Biomed Informatics. BRICS has about 6573 universities, out of which more than 2000 are from China. I welcome and request universities from China to more actively join these joint innovation efforts. And with this bench of cooperation we might as well think of many more such forums and subjects of shared innovation-cooperation which is the most essential and pivotal element of the Future of mankind.
In India, pitching for greater use of research for boosting the agriculture sector, our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi gave the slogan: ‘Lab-to-Land’, insisting for the use of scientific technologies to help the country raise agricultural production in “less land, less time” as he expressed concern over depleting natural resources along with the challenge of climate change globally. He emphasized upon finding innovative ways to take scientific research to fields. I am happy to share with esteemed audience that Shobhit University, through its specialized Centre for Agricultural Informatics & e-Governance Research Studies, is strengthening this vision along with number of global partners. Better integration of agriculture with technology and services needs more investment and cooperation. I will like to invite our Chinese friends to come forward for improving agricultural productivity, strengthening environmental and resource sustainability. There is ample scope for a shared platform of learning together our experiences in improved agriculture, farming systems, and overall production.
There are as many as 14,000 Indian students studying in China. The country has an abundance of renowned colleges and universities in many different fields, from business and mathematics to philosophy, history and astronomy. But most of the Indian students are studying in medical colleges in China, as studying medicine in China is a relatively lesser expensive option. To promote Entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education, we need more purposeful academic collaborations, scholar exchange programs and synergies. We have been teaching in our business schools the case studies of western origin that take after western cultural constructs of business, ethics and dominance. The best scope today lies in creating new case studies based on Indian, Chinese and more of South East Asian experience that jells naturally and natively in our common, and perceivably closer home, cultural diffusion.
There is also a demographic compulsion of co-operation between China and India waiting to assert itself. Every fifth human on earth is Chinese and every sixth one is Indian. If still there is no working together of the offspring of these two civilizations, then it is only a blockage of a kind that is not natural, or because certain logic in converse prevails in the earth-consciousness that ought to be checked seriously. The commons will have to be determined by such discussions as has been occasioned in the Chengudu summit. Our respective governments have had, in the past ten years, several successful youth-exchange programmes, when both sides learnt nuances and quantum of progress in both countries. Need there is also to begin formal student exchange programmes in numbers. Making a first, Shobhit University would love have students from the universities in China on the internship of one, two, three or several months’ internships.
The old way was to conquer, to dominate, but the new way is to create and cooperate. A great educational revolution is needed for the survival and progress of coming generations. The political world has United Nations (UN) as a platform to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order. It’s time to develop a United Knowledge Platform (UKP) for creation, integration and dissemination of inclusive knowledge collectively. The possibility thinkers, attending this summit shall contribute to bring together the creative brains from around the globe for the benefit of the world at large.
Kunwar Shekhar Vijendra, Chancellor, Shobhit University, Meerut, India* was invited to attend “2017 Innovation and Entrepreneurial Colleges and Universities Dialogue Summit (10-12 may 2017)” in Chengdu, the historical capital of Sichuan province of China. As part of the 2017 Chengdu Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fair – this Global summit was organized by Education Forum for Asia and the People’s Government of China Ministry of Higher Education. This global discussion platform was shared by many renowned scholars, including Nobel Laureate Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, along with Chancellors, Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Professors, Academicians, and Thinkers from America, Japan, Ireland, Britain, Australia, Malaysia, Israel, Macau, Pakistan and China.
The 2017 Chengdu Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fair (GIEF) was organized in Chengdu from May 10-12 to bring together creative brains from around the globe. Chengdu, the mega central city in southwest China, is developing a great innovation and entrepreneurial centre with international links. To further attract and achieve convergence of top scientists, engineers and leading personnel in innovation and entrepreneurship, and to create a world-class talents pool and the land for business development and rapid growth of scientific and technical incorporation , Chengdu priorities the “human resources development” as its ensuring development goal, pointing out the construction of a talents-oriented city with international level competence and competition.. The event was attended by representatives from innovative organizations and agencies, and also from the universities, startups, sci-tech incubators, venture capital companies and foreign embassies and consulates general in China.
*Shobhit University, India is a young research-intensive university that shares the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research. It is ranked as one among the top twenty self-financed multi-disciplinary universities in India. It has also been conferred Best University in India Promoting Industry-Academia Interface Award 2017 by ASSOCHAM.