The Seminar Series on Education Research in Kerala, a collaborative effort between the Vakkom Moulavi Foundation Trust (VMFT), the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), was inaugurated on October 19, 2023, by His Excellency Kimmo Lähdevirta, the Finnish Ambassador to India . The event was held at the Sonata Hall of the Mascot Hotel in Thiruvananthapuram. The University of Jyväskylä in Finland will play an active role in the seminar series and will contribute to collaborative research along with the Indian partners. The event was organized in the context of the partnership between Finland and Kerala on education and the visit of the Honorable Minister of Education of Finland, Anna-Maja Henriksson, to Kerala between October 18-19, 2023.
During the inauguration ceremony, Ambassador Lähdevirta expressed his delight at witnessing this collaboration and extended his good wishes for its sustained and substantial evolution. In his address, he emphasized Finland’s profound interest and enthusiasm in Kerala’s education system. He emphatically articulated the reciprocal nature of the learning process and highlighted the pivotal role that education research plays in fostering mutual growth. Dr. Sajitha Bashir, Vice-Chairperson of VMFT, made a presentation detailing the challenges facing the Kerala education system, the priority research areas and possible areas of collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä,
Accompanying Ambassador Lähdevirta were distinguished faculty members from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and representatives of Finland’s Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL), India, along with other members of the Minister’s delegation. Prof. Marja-LeenaLaakso, Vice-Chancellor of the University and Prof. Anna Maija Poikkeus, Dean (Faculty of Education and Psychology) made excellent presentations on the Finnish education system. Members of the audience, which included senior faculty members from universities in Kerala, researchers and school teachers, engaged in an interactive discussion.
The Director of CDS, Prof. Veeramani, Dr. Rekha Pappu of TISS and Prof. V.K. Damodaran, President of VMFT highlighted the importance that each of their institutions attach to improving the quality of education in Kerala and the role of research in promoting this. Dr. Jiji Thomson, former Chief Secretary to the Govt. of Kerala, chaired one of the sessions and raised the criticality of education in improving the future prospects of the state’s people.
The seminar series on education research is structured around three pivotal domains: Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability, the Future of Work and the Future of Education, and Language, Culture, and Identity., y. The inaugural seminar in this series is scheduled for December 6-7, 2023, at CDS and will employ a hybrid format to engage participants from Kerala, across India, and around the globe.
In his concluding remarks, Shri A. Suhair, Chairperson of VMFT, hailed the launch of the Seminar Series on Education Research in Kerala as a resounding success, heralding the promise of fresh insights and collaborative opportunities in the sphere of education. VMFT eagerly anticipates the exciting developments and cooperative endeavors that will shape the future of education research in Kerala.