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Panel Discussion on Knowledge Democracy

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Date(s) - 29/07/2021
8:30 am

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Featuring in conjunction with the GHEF 2021 was a panel discussion on “Knowledge Democracy” hosted by USM. Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President, PRIA and Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education spoke as part of the panel. He started his presentation by giving a brief description of the book Socially Responsible Higher Education: International Perspectives on Knowledge Democracy.

He further stated that the irony of academic research is that although much of it is funded by public funds for addressing societal challenges, in actuality it produces knowledge to benefit a few people, private businesses and powerful publishers who hide behind paywalls in the Global North. He questioned: is knowledge for public good?

Social Responsibility is about all three missions of higher education: Teaching, Research and Service. We say we have to “build back better” especially in the context of the Pandemic, but actually we will all be responsible for the destruction of our planet if we do not change the manner in which we are preparing our next generation professionals.

Who is new research for? Is it to serve some private corporate enterprises or to serve our planet? If it’s the latter, research has to be open to non- western canons of knowledge. One approach to social responsibility in higher education is community engaged teaching and pedagogy. The second approach is place-based contextual curriculum. Finally HEIs need to focus on inclusion of linguistic and cultural diversity in theory and practice.

Find Dr. Tandon’s Powerpoint presentation here.

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