Chair of this program
Ladies and Gentlemen
Friends from the media
It is a great pleasure to participate in this programme. I thank our host for the kind invitation and also for a very generous introduction.
I am happy to know that International Internship University is working to build better and brighter future for all young learners and remains committed to providing better and virtual education to all the young learners across the globe.
The outbreak of covid19 pandemic confined us to our homes. This once in a century outbreak exposed the vulnerabilities of the world and at the same time increased the significance of digital education system. Years ago, digital revolution began in Silicon Valley and Indian experts were at the front of that revolution. Covid19 pandemic pushed the digital system forward. Digital system has encouraged extensive network with no geographical barriers restricting it. It has not only encouraged online education system, but also enabled students to attend classes from any location of their choice. Majority of people are also found working from home these days.
Digital system has proved to be cost effective, eliminating the costs of transportation. In this age of climate change which has emerged as an existential threat, digital network has also become environment friendly. We not only talk of paperless government, but we also see governments talking of providing services to people through the e-governance. We see the present generation in a completely a different setup, and this setup has thrown up challenges and opportunities.
We live in a completely changed and strongly information driven environment than ever before. Our generation is immersed in social media, and enmeshed in digital networks like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube and other various media tools. There are both challenges and opportunities. If social media has become a key tool for connecting and maintaining relationships, being creative and learning more about the world, it has also become a tool of both disinformation and misinformation.
The waves of disinformation and misinformation are staring at us. We need to be careful about the future of present generation’s preoccupation with misinformation and disinformation. The media tools have greatly distracted us to superficial and trivial concerns. We should be careful about young generation particularly the women and other marginalized community who is highly vulnerable to social media. We need to find a way to make them emotionally stable and strong. This calls for developing a regulatory framework for ‘balancing’ the works of private channels and public broadcasters.
Majority of the population remain unconnected to information facilities/technology. Bridging the digital divide is the pressing challenge. Information and communication technology (ICT) carries immense potentials. While there should be a free flow of information through newspapers, periodicals, books, and other publication without any restriction, we need to focus on making the young people innovative and motivate towards using the technology to overwhelms a sea of challenges and gear their energy and potentials for constructive work. We need skillful management of ICT and use it for abolishing poverty, illiteracy, upgrading educational institutions, strengthening national institutions improving infrastructures, building national capacities. We should have unified approach to bringing all on board.
The decline of democracy backsliding has become a worldwide trend. The growing intolerance is a challenge to diverse society like ours. People’s right to elect government is the greatest achievement of our time. Political institutions of yesterday may be proving inadequate to address the challenges of today, but democracy has no alternative. Digital age has accelerated the flow of information and given people a chance to assess the governance at the same time. We should be careful and constantly watchful. If people lose their patience, feel betrayed and get angry at their increasing plights, it will generate conflicts and damage. This calls for the skillful management and visionary leadership in this time of troubles.Before I conclude, let me briefly touch on Nepal- India relations.
Nepal and India are two ancient civilizational countries. Our relations are as old as our civilizations. Nepal attaches high importance to these age-old relations- both at the government and people levels. Recent visits by Nepal’s Prime Minister to India in April and Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Nepal on the pious day of Buddha Purnima have lifted these relations to a new level