In a significant stride towards harnessing the immense potential of the blue economy sector, Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) collaborated with public policy think tank Centre for Civil Society (CCS) to host a ground-breaking roundtable discussion.The event, titled 'South Asian Blue Curriculum for Modern Education: BIMSTEC Round Table,' took place in New Delhi, gathering school leaders and experts from the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries.
The primary objective of the roundtable meeting was to propel ocean literacy and unveil a revolutionary Blue Curriculum meticulously crafted for the modern era. The event explored the vast opportunities within the blue economy sector in India, with a particular focus on sustainable growth and the preservation of our oceans.
Shailendra Sharma, Principal Advisor to the Education Minister, Delhi Government, Dr. Indrani Bhaduri, Head of the Educational Survey Division and CEO of PARAKH, NCERT, Joyce Poan, Education Specialist, UNESCO, Sanjay Gupta, Consultant, World Bank, Dr. Sanskriti Menon, Senior Programme Director, CEE and Dr. Amit Chandra, CEO of the Centre for Civil Society, were among the key participants in the roundtable. Several school leaders and experts from BIMSTEC countries also actively contributed to the discussions.
Addressing to the roundtable Shailendra Sharma, Principal Advisor to the Education Minister, Delhi Government, said that Delhi government is always open for ideas and suggestion for the betterment of school education. He said that Delhi government is continuously making efforts for curriculum reforms and if any positive and concrete things come out of this conference department will be happy to think over.
Dr. Carsten Klein, the Regional Head of FNF South Asia, emphasized in his opening remarks that India, as a maritime nation with a sprawling 7517 km coastline, holds a unique position. With 330 million people residing within 150 km of the coast and 18% of the population in the 72 coastal districts, India's maritime significance is undeniable. Notably, 95% of India's trade by volume is sea-borne, underlining the critical role the maritime domain plays in the nation's economic landscape.
Dr. Klein stressed the imperative of educating the youth, particularly those in coastal states, about the vast potential opportunities and the imminent challenges posed by climate change. He highlighted that millions of students, young individuals, and youths are dependent on marine-related businesses for their livelihoods. The need to equip them with knowledge and skills to sustainably harness marine resources, foster environmental resilience, and confront the challenges posed by a changing climate cannot be overstated. CCS and FNF are now set to collaborate on developing a comprehensive curriculum tailored for school-going students. This initiative aims to create new job opportunities and foster sustainable economic growth in India through informed and empowered future generations.