Best form of education is to open minds: Raghuram Rajan

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on August 14, 2019 Published on August 13, 2019

Vice Chancellor Sunder Ramaswamy addresses the inaugural batch of Krea University. Seated on stage from left are R. Seshasayee, Chairman, N. Vaghul, Chancellor and Bishnu Mohapatra, Dean, School of Interwoven Arts & Sciences

Krea University inducts its first cohort of undergraduate students

The best form of education will help students open their minds and think in a rigorous way, said Raghuram Rajan, Advisor, Krea University, in a televised message from the US to the inaugural batch. “It will give you a sense of how you will embark on the process of thinking. That is the only way we can prepare you for a world that is dynamic,  where the old truths are forever questioned,” he said.

The challenge of every generation is to figure out what to accept from the previous generations and what to change, he said. “You have the benefit of being in a new institution which is a blank slate, where you can develop traditions that are important, taking the best from the old as well as creating the best from the new,” elaborated Rajan.

Krea, a liberal arts and sciences university, today inducted its first cohort of 114 undergraduate students at its  School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences at Sri City, 65 km from Chennai. Post a week-long orientation, which will give the students an opportunity to meet and interact with leading achievers from various walks of life, the classes will commence on August 19.

Krea’s admission process, explained Vice-Chancellor Sunder Ramaswamy, went beyond strong scholastic abilities and ensured a diverse set of students with extra-curricular interests in sports, music, dance, culture, and community service. With a gender ratio of 55:45 (girls, boys), the students come from 18 States of India. Close to half the class has been offered some form of financial assistance and over 10 per cent of the class are first-generation college students.

In his address, Ramaswamy, said that with the emergence of artificial intelligence and big data we are going to see a host of new jobs that have not yet being invented. “We need to educate and prepare ourselves for the jobs and careers which are yet to come into existence. This, along with significant advancement in travel and telecommunications, as well as stress on the environment, such as resource depletion, increased greenhouse gases and extinction of species, will throw up opportunities and challenges where we can make a real difference,” he said.

Ramaswamy described the student as being at the centre of a three dimensional axis – along one axis are human-machine interactions; along the other axis is human to human interactions, and along the third axis, it is human-nature interactions. “So, along all of these three axes, you will encounter not only challenges but also opportunities to make a difference and that is one of the big reasons you are here at Krea,” the VC told the students.

He said that in this context, the 3 Rs have to be replaced by the 7 Cs – comprehension, communication, computation, curiosity (creativity), critical thinking, collaboration, and consciousness (having empathy and being ethical).

In his special addressR. Seshasayee, Chairman, Executive Committee and Member of the Governing Council, said that no solution in the recent past has come about because of one person; it was a result of knowledge from different branches coming together to solve the problem. “At Krea, you will be guided in analytical and critical thinking to be able to look at the problems around you and find the right solutions,” he told the students.

N. Vaghul, Chancellor of the University, in his address, said, “We need to think in terms of reimagining and reinventing education. It has taken three years of planning for this university to emerge. Interwoven learning, apart from academic excellence, will teach you to be socially conscious; to know and appreciate your role in society.”

Published on August 13, 2019
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