New Delhi: Today, countries around the world celebrate the third International Day of Education, reminding us that without inclusive and equitable quality learning for all, countries will not succeed in breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children and their families behind.
In order to continue and even accelerate the growth based on the emerging knowledge economy and manufacturing, it is a serious and urgent agenda that India increases and improves both quantity and quality of higher academic institutions in the area of science and engineering.
This year’s International Education Day theme ‘Recover and revitalize education for the COVID-19 generation’ echoes the global learning disruption of unprecedented scale and severity. The closure of schools, universities, and other learning institutions, as well as the interruption of many literacy and lifelong learning programmes, has affected the lives of 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries.
Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India said, “In December 2019, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed January 24 as International Day of Education in celebration of the role of learning for peace and development. This is a reminder of our collective duty to help every individual access the quality education that is their right, offering them a ladder out of poverty and a path to a promising future and to strengthen collective action to achieve SDG4.”
JICA’s comprehensive approach to support India to achieve SDGs through ODA Loan of 15 billion Japanese Yen (approximately INR 1,000 Crore) for “Program for Japan-India Cooperative Actions towards Sustainable Development Goals in India” includes various activities in the education sector of Aspirational Districts to improve learning outcomes and learning environment such as electricity connections, internet connection and so on.
These activities may include installation of digital classrooms set up in the remote areas. This program’s design aligns with the NITI Aayog’s activities to support districts that have the potential to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs in India.
The program expedites the five themes, namely, health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure. Each of these themes is weighed as per the Government’s commitment to inclusive growth with the maximum weightage on Health and Nutrition, and Education.
To enhance research and development in the higher education sector, JICA has taken various initiatives such as collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H).
In order to meet the growing demand for qualified human resources who can lead research and development to identify a new methodology of technical innovation as well as respond to needs from the industrial sector in the area of science and engineering, the government of India requested Japanese assistance to set up one of the IITs.
JICA implemented comprehensive assistance including ODA loans to develop the buildings for the IIT-H permanent campus, technical cooperation to design such buildings to symbolize partnership between India and Japan, and technical cooperation to enhance academic/research human exchange network including scholarship provision to study in Japanese universities.
JICA aims at synergy and complementarity of such multi-tiered assistance for both soft and hard components, which will effectively contribute to capacity development of the top-notch high educational institute symbolizing partnership between India and Japan.
Through these initiatives, JICA aims to support India to achieve SDGs and to accelerate the collaboration between Indian and Japanese agencies and to collaborate with not only universities but also industries in a sustainable manner.