Reiterating the vital role of the government in higher education, she mentioned that without favorable policies, regulations and proper funding both private and public universities would lag behind. Mrs. Sushma Berlia also emphasized on the growing need of the world class universities. In order to further clarify it she quoted : “Why do we need a world class university? Is it because that other world economies have a world class university or is it because India is positioned as the next rising global economy. Knowledge is empowerment. The need of the hour is not whether the university is world class or not, it is whether have we put the systems, processes, pedagogies, funding, a clearly articulated strategic plan are in proper place or not. Apart from the diversities and differences, there are common parameters to rise up to world class level university”.
Mrs. Berlia focused on the role of innovative governance and the need to chalk out the unique challenges for the sustainability of the universities. According to Dante, she said that from 9th level of Hell, we are coming down to the third level of hell, we have developed considerably. But we are still in Hell. She concluded with her concern for the development of Indian higher education system - “we still need to re-think how can we identify, nurture and take necessary steps to move forward.”
Thought leaders like Prof Nian Cai Liu, Director of the Center for World-Class Universities andDean, Graduate School of Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Prof Shailendra Mehta, Visiting Professor, IIM Ahmedabad & Duke Corporate Education, Dr Jonathan Adams, Director of Research Evaluation, Thomson Reuters, Dr. Nikhil Sinha, Founding Vice Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University, Mr. Ben Sowter, Head, Q S Intelligence, Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow, Scotland India, Universities and the new geography of research” were present at the summit.
About Mrs. Sushma Berlia: Mrs. Sushma Berlia is a leading woman entrepreneur and industrialist of the country, who has made outstanding contribution to the cause of industry, woman empowerment and education. She is the President of Apeejay Stya and Svran Group – a leading industrial & business house with diversified interests in India and abroad, and President of Apeejay Education Society which runs 29 Schools and higher institutions across the country. She is also the Chancellor & Co-Founder of the recently-established Apeejay Stya University.
Mrs. Berlia became the President of the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry in 2005-06, becoming the first-ever woman to head a multi-state apex chamber in India.
Mrs. Berlia has contributed and played a leading role in formulating policies in educational reform, and her suggestions on issues of access, equity & inclusive education, industry-academia linkages, skill development and implementable solutions for funding of higher education have been well-appreciated by the government and regulatory bodies.
Mrs. Berlia plays a leading role in the Indian pharmaceutical industry and has been actively involved in taking up various important issues like drug norms, price regulations etc. She was nominated to represent India at the ‘Commission of Biotech Society’ by the International Chamber of Commerce. She was also nominated to represent OPPI in the Internet Task Force of the IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association)
For over two decades, Mrs. Berlia has actively championed, at various national and international forums, the cause of education of the girl child, and women’s empowerment in the family and industry. She is also deeply involved in the revival and preservation of India’s traditional and ethnic forms of art, design, sculpture and music. Under her leadership, various projects have been initiated by the Apeejay higher institutions of Design and Fine Arts institutions for rural and tribal woman artisans, including adoption of entire villages.
Mrs. Berlia is a Governing Body Member of the National Board of Accreditation for Technical Education. She is a Member of the Managing Committee of the PHDCCI, ASSOCHAM & International Chamber of Commerce – India, and a Member of the National Executive Committee of the FICCI. She has also served as the Chairperson, Board of Governors of the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, and as Member of the Board of Governors of IIT-Roorkee.
Mrs. Berlia has many awards to her credit, including the “Outstanding Businesswomen Award 2008” of the PHDCCI, the ‘International Lifetime Achievement Award 2009’ of the ‘International Congress of Women’ and a Special Honor by the Punjab Technical University in 2005 for her contributions in the field of Biotechnology, Life Sciences and Research.
Mrs. Berlia has represented India at the UN World Social Summit held at Copenhagen in 1995 at the invitation of the International Chamber of Commerce and International Organization of Employers, and delivered a keynote address on the ‘Role of Women at the Work Place’. She has also recently presented the business perspective of “The impact & challenges of the Global Economic crisis on Investment & Employment in India/South Asia” at the Department for International Development, London (DFID) in July 2009.
Mrs. Berlia has a deep interest in philosophy, religion, music and reading.