On 10 June 2020, CVV hosted a webinar discussion on ‘Teaching for a Glocal World’ as a part of the Wednesday Webinar Series. This webinar was also hosted as a part of the ongoing Faculty Development Programme at CVV. Prof. K. M. Gopakumar, Legal Advisor and Senior Researcher at the Third World Network, was the guest speaker for the session. He is a Professor of Practice (Intellectual Property) at the school of EGCS in CVV. Prof. Nithin Ramakrishnan, Asst. Prof. of International Law at CVV introduced the guest and moderated the discussion.
Prof. Gopakumar started by expressing the disconnect he witnessed in the education sector between what’s learnt and what applies in the real world. He praised the impact of globalisation for creating more opportunities in the education sector, infusion of science and technology, and the availability and accessibility of higher education in the current scenario. It was not only about the movement of capital and goods. He acknowledged the impact of colonisation on the education sector and explained how students in the 70s and 80s lacked confidence while researching developing countries and universities, before the reforms. He indicated that the current wave of globalisation, after the 1991 crisis, possessed phenomenal speed and impact when compared to the previous ones.
At the same time, he pointed out the concerns associated with the 1991 reforms, especially concerning the education sector. Imparting higher education, which was one of the primary roles of the State, witnessed a pushback due to the oncoming of private institutions. Private institutions made investments and enjoyed the revenue out of the sector. As a result, inequality started breeding with respect to the affordability of higher education. Education came to be viewed as something one could buy. The primary purpose of education shifted towards obtaining a good job and the final agenda of higher education started focusing on attaining individual goals and benefits.
Prof. Gopakumar further explained how private education institutes coordinated with industries and companies for their benefits. He identified depoliticisation of the education sector to be the key towards effective development of the sector. He also examined the shortcomings of the National Education Policy; how it fails to address the technological gap between countries, ignoring cutting-edge research in the fields of science and technology while focussing more on the employability of the student.
He proposed an interdisciplinary approach towards developing and balancing the analytical, practical and theoretical skills of an individual. When it comes to the study of law, he insisted on establishing a link to International institutions and policymaking in order to make students understand the policy, its pros and cons, in a much more effective way. He said it was important to provide a public policy analysis which would help the student to connect with how things work in practice. Finally, he emphasised the role of practitioners and academicians in providing a clearer picture to students and advised universities on the importance of them serving society and its surroundings.
Prof. Gopakumar constructively answered the questions posed by the participants. The session ended with Prof. Nithin thanking him for his insights on the topic and the audience for their participation in the webinar discussion.