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Despite there being an extensive network of Higher Education and Research (HE&R) institutions in our country, there has been a feeling for long that they are falling quite short of what the expectations are , both in terms of making significant original contributions to the global pool of knowledge, as well as in finding solutions to the problems faced by our people and nation. The ongoing revolution in the knowledge domain is only making things more complex, with the very role of the University itself coming under the lens globally. Like elsewhere in the world, our HE&R Institutions for their very survival would need to respond to the profound dynamics in the knowledge domain, and figure out how the same can be harnessed for the economic and social development of our country. Even an acceptance of the fact that the ordinary people of our country, irrespective of their level of schooling, are knowledgeable about their work and their world, can itself transform and enrich the relationship between them and our institutions of HE&R. These institutions have to be concerning themselves with not just the 10% of the “Organised/ Formal” Sector, but also, and equally importantly, with the over 90% of the “Un-organised / Informal” Sector of our economy and society. It should then be possible for every department of our universities to connect to the thoughts, practices and lives of some section or other of our society, and in the process make a difference to their lives. The creative energies and confidence that thus get generated may just be the tonic that could raise, not just a handful, but a large number of our HE&R Institutions to world class levels.

This session would attempt to address a few components of this complex challenge that our HE&R Institutions are facing.

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