Higher Education Leaders Forum on: : 'Heartful Leadership: Transforming Education and Supporting Sustainability'

 Date: 20 JUN 2020 | 5 PM - 6:50 PM IST

 

Higher Education leaders today have a great responsibility to drive changes across the entire education value-chain for two reasons: first, the sector helps in capacity building for primary and tertiary education; and second, higher education has a great role in accomplishing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) directly through SDG4 (Quality Education) and indirectly through capacity building and knowledge creation to support the rest of the SDGs.

How can we progress to achieve the aesthetic and creative potential of every individual? What also needs to be reflected upon regarding the purpose of humanity, what is the role of education in that, and what kinds of education systems are required to serve those humane ends?

The goal of education for a creative society cannot only be economic; it must also be cultural, and it must enhance as well as sustain culture. Considering the extinction of several languages, dialects, art forms, cultural traditions, dance forms etc. – all expressions of human creativity – human civilization is heading towards a possible homogenization. Is education serving the right ends? This is the right juncture to pose this very pertinent and important question.

If we look at how our education systems are responding to the changes in industries in the current era, we realise that we are training students on a mass scale in the technologies which are utilized to serve narrow non-humane ends. The design principle of tuning education systems to the demands of industry is the fundamental flaw in education system design in the current era. If the direction of education is largely wrong, are there no silver bullets? The emerging liberal arts education may have some answers!

While aiming for a desired transformation in our higher education system, we can learn from the ancient Indian education system, which used to be disjunct from the world of business, politics, and society. Further, a liberal arts curriculum was typical of the ancient gurukul system, wherein gurus educated their pupils through various pedagogies and a variety of subjects, and helped them make sense of the world, and act based on the holistic knowledge acquired. Values, such as equality of self-vision and unity, were deeply ingrained in the pupils through their living practices at the home of their guru. This ensured creation of a free individual who was able to live a life for the society and not for self-interest. The ancient wisdom defined the purpose of education beyond narrow self-interested ends, to the pursuit of aesthetics i.e. expression of creativity and innovation. Monetization of creative endeavours was not the motive. Money was not considered the only endeavour.

Heartful Leadership cares about the greater good. It emphasizes empathy, ethical intelligence and emotional intelligence. An organization can do well if it has the heart capital of its faculty, staff and other important stake holders. In order to transform education at large, higher education leaders may find Heartfulness-focused leadership to be quite a pragmatic approach.

Heartful leaders can plan and implement changes in the sphere of higher education, based on the optimum integration of modern knowledge creation and with ethical and moral principles at their base.

The Conclave will explore the following:

  • What are the most important issues in higher education, which need immediate attention?
  • What are the required changes in approach (including philosophy, contents and delivery methods) of higher education institutions (HEIs) under the current changing scenario?
  • What are the main pillars of Heartful Leadership? How can Heartful Leadership be adopted and aligned in leading HEIs?
  • What should be role of HEIs in fostering sustainability through education, research and training?
  • How can Heartful Leadership drive the desired transformation in HEIs?