Universities need to transcend national boundaries: JGU VC
Universities need to transcend national boundaries: JGU VC

New Delhi: Universities have a larger role to play in the development of societies and need to assume a leadership role that transcends national boundaries, the Vice Chancellor of a leading private Indian university has said.

"Universities have a larger role to play in the development of societies. They need to assume a leadership role that transcends national boundaries and are able to appreciate diversity and pluralism in all its forms and manifestations. 

"Universities need to recognise that they have a special role in society," Professor C. Raj Kumar, founding chancellor of the O.P Jindal Global University (JGU) said at the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia Universities Summit 2018 held in partnership with the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) from February 5-7 in Shenzhen, China. JGU was the only Indian university invited to speak at the summit. 

"While societies become more myopic, it's important for academics to continue to share perspectives to influence public opinion," added Raj Kumar, who was among 400 delegates from Asia's best universities, top researchers, higher education leaders, policymakers and industry chiefs. 

Responding to a question on challenging political leaders when there are value challenges, Raj Kumar said that while VCs might be more nuanced in their public engagements, dedicated advocacy arms in universities have a duty to speak out. Academic freedom is central to a university, but with all freedoms come responsibility. 

He also said that universities should be the vanguards in the pursuit of truth and should promote truth via evidence -- this being a key role for science and the social sciences to play in the 21st century.