The essential qualities for our youth
for the 21st century
As we progress to the twenty-first century, there is a lot to look forward to. At the same time various issues that face our country and the world, require our immediate attention. Some of these are climate change, biodiversity loss, rise in violent extremism and inequality.
India is in a unique position to take the lead in addressing these global issues, with its relatively young population, which I believe is a key advantage. By 2020, the average age in India will be twenty-nine and it is set to become the youngest country in the world with 65% of its population below the age of thirty-five. The youth of the country offer a tremendous opportunity for driving social, environmental and economic progress not only in India but also globally. It is crucial however, that young people be equipped with the appropriate skill sets to undertake this challenge and towards this the education system is our best bet.
Youth need to have the ability and courage to question, assess and evaluate issues to arrive at the most peaceful and optimal solutions. To do so they require skills not only of critical inquiry but also socio-emotional competencies. They need to be mindful of the global environment and its intercultural diversity.
Unity in diversity has been the Indian motto for many years and India, as a melting-pot of diverse systems and cultures presents itself as an ideal example to the rest of the world to showcase a new education system, which will focus on teaching humanity. The establishment of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in 2012 by the Government was envisioned as a step forward in this direction since the Institute bases its initiatives on the values that Mahatma Gandhi stood for, namely that of building peaceful and sustainable societies. I am very pleased that the Institute is taking its mandate very seriously and is building a new curriculum to address the global challenge of peace and sustainable development drawing from the latest evidence from neurosciences, education psychology and digital pedagogies.
The Blue Dot, Issue six focuses on ‘Critical Inquiry, Mindfulness, Empathy and Compassion’, which are four core competencies that the Institute has identified for youth to address twenty-first century challenges and opportunities. These competencies form the basis of all the projects and programmes conducted
at the Institute and are extremely relevant for the youth of today.
I wish the Institute all the best in this important endeavor.