The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals with 169 targets that all 193 UN member states have agreed to achieve by 2030.
The SDGs aim to end poverty, improve education and healthcare, reduce inequality, and promote economic growth.
The SDGs Report 2023 highlights slow progress and challenges due to COVID-19, the climate crisis, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and a weak global economy.
India has faced setbacks in achieving the SDGs despite managing the global crises and overcoming pandemic challenges.
India has shown commitment towards achieving the SDGs through recent actions and policies.
SDG4, which focuses on access to quality education, is a priority for India.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aligns with the SDGs and emphasizes changes in higher education to promote social mobility, creativity, critical thinking, and employment skills.
People with higher education degrees are more employable and earn 54% more than those with only senior secondary education.
University education helps protect against poverty, prevent hunger, support good health and well-being, promote gender equality, provide decent work, drive economic growth, and reduce inequalities.
Strengthening the research-teaching nexus in university education allows students to benefit directly from research knowledge.
Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary education produces individuals who can pursue research and find innovative solutions to global challenges.
Sustainable development requires a radical change in production and consumption patterns.
Collaboration with private companies is necessary for developing innovative solutions and start-ups.
Introducing Value-Based Education (VBE) can help citizens become responsible towards themselves, society, and the planet.
NEP 2020 demands that Indian higher education align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ranking universities based on SDG achievement is a positive step, but more needs to be done to meet the SDG deadline.
Stakeholders of higher education should be educated and oriented to ensure that their activities align with the 2030 agenda and do not leave any Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) behind.
The 56,205 higher educational institutions and universities in India should collaborate and work together towards achieving the SDGs.
Universities should actively participate in the education, innovation, culture, and civic life of their local communities.
Universities should focus on community health, energy-saving measures, efficient resource allocation, waste reduction, development of local skills, and sharing services and infrastructure with other universities or external partners.
Sustainability should be adopted as a mantra by universities and SDGs should be incorporated into their institutional strategies, both in daily administration and in teaching and research.
Higher education should be directly integrated with socio-economic development, with each activity and transaction having meaningful and multiple impacts on SDGs.
Universities should contribute directly to the well-being and nation-building of every citizen.