Noting that there is a “big deficiency” in the quality of education in the country despite the presence of institutions like IITs and NITs, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the flow of Indian students to institutions abroad needs to be reversed.
“Our IITs, our NITs are excellent so far as campus recruitment is concerned,” he said, adding, there are 732 universities and 36,000 degree colleges in the country.
Despite this infrastructure, there is a “big deficiency” in terms of quality of education, he said at an event here where National Teachers Awards were conferred upon 364 school teachers from across the country.
“Unless we have the quality of education, you cannot build a knowledge society. Unless you build the knowledge society, you cannot occupy your rightful place in the comity of nations,” Mukherjee said.
He said from 6th century BC to 12 century AD–the heydays of Taxila to the collapse of Nalanda–India was the leading centre of higher education and Indian universities attracted mighty minds from all across the globe in form of teachers and students.
“Today, every year more than 60,000 students leave our country for higher education to Oxford, Cambridge, MIT etc. We shall have to make this flow reverse.”
This reversal of flow cannot be made only in the universities but a beginning has to be made at the primary level, Mukherjee said.
He congratulated the teachers who were conferred the award and said primary and secondary education lays the foundation of higher education. He said teachers made a big contribution in terms of social responsibility for the country.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and his deputies Upendra Kushwaha and Mahendra Nath Pandey were also present at the event.
In his speech, Mukherjee said he was the Visitor of 114 central institutions, including 30 NITs, 16 IITs, 45 universities, management institutions etc.
Javadekar also echoed Mukherjee’s thoughts, saying while 27 crore students were enrolled and access of education had spread, it was quality which was the biggest challenge.
Mukherjee also lauded the second President of the country, S Radhakrishnan, on whose birthday Teachers’ Day is celebrated. He said he realised that a nation cannot be built unless it rests on the solid foundations of education.
This job of nation building, training the minds of young people is done by teachers, who are ‘gurus’, he said, adding, the ‘guru shishya’ tradition was an important contribution of India to the world.
Javadekar raised the issue of lakhs of teaching posts being vacant in the country and said he would hold a conference with chief ministers and assure the Centre’s assistance in this regard.
He said the HRD Ministry is focusing on teachers’ training and added that there are 5 lakh untrained teachers and whose training is expected to be complete in 3 years.
He also spoke about Paldeo, a Madhya Pradesh village he has adopted where the results of the school have drastically improved due to initiatives taken in community participation.
Pandey spoke of the importance given to “jigyasu bhaav” (spirit of inquisitiveness) in Gita and said teachers play a role in this regard.
Kushwaha spoke about the need for quality education and said while the country has moved ahead, a lot more distance needs to be covered.