There is an urgent need to improve the country’s education system in terms of quality of instruction, faculty, research and capacity building, President Pranab Mukherjee said today as he observed that no Indian varsity figures among the world’s top 200. Mukherjee also emphasised that the education system should take on the challenge of tapping the ‘demographic dividend’ while also pitching for a stronger industry-academia partnership.
Delivering his address after inaugurating a 3-day international conference at the O P Jindal Global University, here, Mukherjee said that unless we have strong foundations of basic research, our futuristic University plans will be seriously jeopardised. “Knowledge mobilization through quality higher education is pivotal to the socio-economic development of a nation. Innovation and futuristic universities are the driving force behind this. “There is an urgent need to improve education system in terms of the quality of instruction, faculty, research and capacity building,” Mukherjee said.
The President said that no Indian university figures in the top 200 universities of the world and transforming our varsities into centres of excellence is the key challenge policy-maker and academic leaders face. Educational institutions have to gear up to face the socio-economic challenge the country is facing in terms of job creation, Mukherjee said. “Quality, affordability and accessibility are the three cornerstones of higher education which need to be understood in the Indian context,” he said while advocating linkages with the best universities in the world to ensure student mobility, research and joint projects.
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Mukherjee also emphasised on the linkages between education and industry. “Innovation should be linked to the market. Through collaborative work and international knowledge exchange, educational institutes can build a larger influence in the international education arena,” he said. He added that India’s education system will have to take on the challenge of tapping its ‘demographic dividend’. “We will also have to provide a competent skilled workforce,” he said.The President said that interface between education and industry should be established. “The requirement of today’s educational system is to focus on innovation and research,” he said.
The President said that it was essential to establish linkages between innovation and the market. Future Universities must establish strong linkages with various stakeholders in society, he added. An important necessity of modern Universities is to have a chain of inspired teachers who can ignite the minds of students and encourage them to think out-of-the box, Mukherjee said.”Young boys and girls should be encouraged to have problem-solving minds to enable them to solve problems through their ingenuity,” the President further said.
He said that since 2014, the Festival of Innovations (FOIN) is being held in Rashtrapati Bhavan adding that there he has seen how a large number of persons from obscure places and remote villages have tried to solve the problems of society through innovation. Haryana Education Minister Rambilas Sharma said knowledge, innovation and responsibility have been Indian patents since ancient times.”Knowledge is not only our past, but is our future,” he said. Haryana Governor Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki was also present at the event.