The Gokula Education Foundation was established in 1980 by the Late Sri M S Ramaiah. Since its inception, the Foundation has worked tirelessly to bring to life its founder’s core philosophy: to deliver education and healthcare for the betterment of mankind. One man’s vision led to the creation of 25 institutions that have today changed thousands of lives, developed countless communities and contributed tirelessly to nation building.
It is this passion and commitment to transformative education that led to the creation of the M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) in 2013.
RUAS seeks to draw from our country’s rich educational heritage while moulding its learnings for a fast-evolving future.
India — and indeed, most Asian countries — need not look too far into their past to remember that they were once islands of excellence in education. However, in the prevalent sea of modern, Western-dominated education, we are all becoming islands of mediocrity.
One way to address this challenge is to not only develop a more comprehensive, contemporary, and agile approach to education, but to also reflect on its place in society.
Too often, education is viewed simply as a means to an end. It is undertaken with one simplistic goal in mind: employment.
While I do not deny the role and relevance of employment in education, it cannot — indeed, should not — be the only aim of education. Takshila and Nalanda — defining universities of the 5th and 6th century — were created to encourage intellectual pursuits and facilitate cross-cultural exchange of ideas, and to also aid in social emancipation. Even as they lauded freedom of thinking, they also emphasized the responsibility of scholars towards the society they lived in.
Society and universities, therefore, were inextricably linked. They each drew from the other and functioned to better one another.
Universities today would do well to draw a leaf from the book of these historical institutions. Indeed, RUAS’s approach to education is guided by the principles of these great universities as we too believe that education should go beyond the individual. It should be used to close knowledge gaps in society, to build on existing demographic dividends, to enhance sustainable development, and to cement India’s place in the world.
RUAS’s philosophy is also shaped by some of the best thinkers of modern India.
For instance, Sri Aurobindo, who stated that “the mind has to be consulted in its own growth,” meaning that “nothing can be taught” and that learning cannot be forced. The role of an educator, he stated, is not to instruct or impart knowledge to the pupil but rather, to help guide them in acquiring the knowledge themselves.
Sri Radhakrishna, another great Indian philosopher, believed that education should aim to achieve a balanced growth of the individual. It should not only train the intellect, but also bring grace and compassion into the heart of the learner. Education, he said, should insist on both knowledge and wisdom.
Guided by these principles, we at RUAS, believe that education is a journey undertaken with the aim of exploring the mind and the soul. A journey that gifts us with unchanging values which define us in the ever-changing and complex realities of today. A journey that ensures the upliftment of society through the betterment of the individual.
A journey of devotion through enlightenment.
I warmly welcome each and every one of you to the RUAS family.