UGC Golden Jubilee Seminar of Vice-Chancellors at Prasanthi Nilayam

Tuesday, October 28, 2003 to 

Thursday, October 30, 2003 

The Inaugural Session of the UGC Golden Jubilee Seminar of Vice-Chancellors at Prasanthi Nilayam
The University Grants Commission (UGC) Golden Jubilee Seminar of Vice-Chancellors on the them ‘Values Education and Ethics’ was hosted at Prashanti Nilayam at the request of the University Grants Commission, between 28th to 30th October 2003. Bhagavan, the Revered Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), inaugurated the seminar on 28th morning with His inaugural Address. The inaugural function was addressed by Dr. Arun Nigevekar, Chairman, University Grants Commission, Sri S.V. Giri, Dr. G. Venkatraman, and Justice Ranganath Mishra, former Chief Justice of India.

The seminar was attended by 25 Vice-Chancellors from reputed universities across the country from Himachal Pradesh in the north to Kerala in the south and from Orissa in the east to Maharashtra in the west. Notably, the participating Vice-Chancellors represented women's universities, universities of distance education, deemed universities, agricultural universities, central and state universities spread across the length and breadth of India. Justice Malimath, former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, Prof. V.S. Prasad, Director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), senior officials of the UGC and the Higher Education Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, were the other invitees. 

On the morning of 28th, Sri S.V.Giri started the proceedings with his address where he touched upon the concept of integral education at the SSSIHL which incorporates values in all aspects of learning. After Sri S. V. Giri, Dr. G. Venkataraman, former Vice-Chancellor of the SSSIHL addressed the audience on the crisis facing modern education and how to overcome it. He said that the power of morality was greater than any other power and that one need not feel diffident in talking about it and practicing it. The next speaker was Sri Arun Nigevekar, Chairman of UGC. He pointed out the inadequacy of mere Higher education and stressed the need for Values and Ethics. Sri Ranganath Misra, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, speaking on the occasion agreed with the earlier speakers on the importance of values in education, right from the primary school level and prayed for the Grace of Bhagawan in bringing about this transformation. 

Giving his inaugural address, Bhagavan said that the most important of all values is love and that the fundamental knowledge lies in asking oneself “Who am I?”. He said that contrary to popular belief spirituality is easy and one just needed to have faith to start with. 

The deliberations of the seminar were spread over seven business sessions in addition to the inaugural session on 28th October morning. Various themes related to the main topic were discussed. They included: Policy framework and operational model, integral approach to education and educational philosophy, science technology and value inculcation, management education and value orientation, service orientation and responsible citizenship, etc. 
During the Evening Sessions in Sai Kulwant Hall
Every evening, all the delegates of the conference would assemble in the Sai Kulwant hall in the Divine presence when the summary of the day's deliberations would be read out to the vast gathering. On 28th and 29th, the Institute students gave presentations based on the curriculum of the Institute. 
The Grama Seva Presentation by the Students
The presentation on 28th focused on the Grama Seva projects, was made by Sri G.S. Srirangarajan, Sri Jaipreet Singh, Sri Deepak Anand and Sri Sanjay Mahalingam. The 29th afternoon witnessed a multilingual presentations by Sri Shashank Shah, English; Sri Ranganath Raju, Telugu; Sri Jagannadan, Sanskrit; Sri Jagadish Chandra, Hindi; and Ms. Deepti Bhagya, English; all highlighting the glory of the Institute under the benign grace and guidance of Bhagavan, the Revered Chancellor of the Institute.
With Students from the Multi-lingual Presentations
On the evening of 30th October, the concluding day of the seminar, all the delegates once again assembled in the Kulwant hall in the Divine Presence. Prof.V.S.Prasad, the director of National Assessment and Accreditation Council, placed before Bhagavan the recommendations emerging out of the seminar deliberations. All the delegates felt that imparting human values in higher education was the need of the hour and came up with various suggestions on how to do it. Above all, they were unanimous in their appreciation of the SSSIHL and expressed gratitude to Bhagavan for giving them an opportunity to come to be in His Divine Presence. They said that the SSSIHL was a practical and ideal example of successfully imparting value education to students and recommended that it be declared as a 'National Centre for Excellence' in value education. 

Prof. Jaya Shankaran, the Vice-Chancellor of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahavidyalaya summed it up all in his eloquent speech when he said that it is from institutions like SSSIHL, that the country looked forward to future leaders. He said that the only solution of transforming all the 300 Universities was for Bhagavan to take those many multiple forms and guide each one of them personally. The Vice Chancellors expressed their unanimous view that the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning should be recognised as the National Centre of Excellence for Values Education. 

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