Director-General and President of India Formally Declare Open Mahatma Gandhi Institute
The Director-General and the President of India formally declared open the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development on National Education Day in New Delhi on 11 November 2012.
“Gandhi’s appeal lies in his vision of peace and development as being the same struggle. There was no greater advocate for the transformational power of education,” said Mrs Bokova. “This new Institute sends out a powerful message about the kind of education we want for our societies today. The Institute comes at the right time, when the world is debating the contours of a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015.”
It is the first such UNESCO institute in India and the first in the Asia-Pacific region.
President Pranab Mukherjee of India said it was fitting that the Centre was being established on the anniversary of the birth of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a visionary scholar and India’s first education minister who fought for secularism, communal harmony and social justice through education. “The outcome of our education system will not be measured in degree holders, “said the President, “but in the large number of enlightened citizens who respect humanism an rise above divisiveness to contribute gainfully to a stronger and vibrant India.
”The Minister of Human Resource Development Pallam Raju said that education must not only prepare youth to participate in the globalized economy but also “inculcate the values of sustainable development in the minds of youth and appropriate values of secularism, tolerance and humanism.” He affirmed that by sharing knowledge and good practices on the role of sustainable development in education, the Institute would prove true to the vision of Mahatma Gandhi.
Both Ministers of State for Human Resource Development, Shashi Tharoor and Jitin Prasada, stressed the importance of empowering youth with education, skills and values to cope with unprecedented changes taking place in all spheres of life and build knowledge societies.
Dr Karan Singh, India’s representative on UNESCO’s Executive Board, stated that the Institute “will deal with many dimensions of peace, sustainable development in a pluralistic multicultural global society,” expressing hope that “the institution will one day become a major repository and centre for research and work on these critical areas because without peace there can be no sustainable development.”
During the celebration, the President launched the Aakash 2 tablets by a click beamed to 15,000 teachers connected on-line. The Indian Institute of Technology has developed a methodology combining e-learning and direct contact session in remote centres across the country to train teachers.