President addresses CUK faculty, students through video conferencing
‘Standard of higher edu has direct relation with nation development’
Srinagar, Jan 7: The President, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Visitor of Central Universities, today delivered his New Year message to the students and the faculty of the Central University of Kashmir (CUK), Central Universities of other States, National Institute of Technologies (NITs), National Institute of Technologies (NITs) across the Country, through video conferencing facility using National Knowledge Network (NKN). The video conferencing was held at the Zainakote Campus of CUK.
CUK Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul Wahid, Registrar, Prof. Muhammad Afzal Zargar, Deans of Schools, Heads of Departments, other employees of the University and students participated in the event.
The Visitor wished the Vice-Chancellor of Universities, Directors of the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) and National Institute of Technologies (NITs) heads of other academic institutions, faculty members and students, a very happy and prosperous New Year-2014.
Thanking the National Knowledge Network for arranging the video conference, he said, “It is now possible for me to reach out to all of you today to share some thoughts on higher education in India.”
He said, “Education is the true alchemy that can bring India to its next golden age. My first and foremost concern is the quality of education in our country. The standard of higher education has a direct relation with the development of a nation and the quality of lives of its citizens. Two recent surveys conducted by two big international organisations have brought out difference in the standard of education between institutions of India and abroad. None of the Indian Universities find a place in the top 200 institutions. This was not the case in the past. Between Sixth Century BC and Twelfth Century AD, our seats of higher learning – Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri – dominated the world. They were visited by knowledge seekers from round the world. But now, many bright Indian students go abroad for higher studies. Nobel laureates Har Gobind Khorana, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Amartya Sen and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan did their graduate or post-graduate studies in Indian universities before they went abroad to pursue higher learning.”
“Why is it that our higher education system that is capable of producing world class scholars loses them to foreign institutions? Is it due to the lack of research facilities and opportunities of creating an innovative thinking to nurture and retain talent? Our institutions must increase their potential for research and promote an ecosystem conducive for creativity and innovation. What we need today are mere collaborative partnerships on cutting edge technologies and better linkages with industries and greater industrialization. This will not only encourage meritorious students to do research but will also attract talent from foreign universities. In a country of about 1.2 billion people, only eight Indians have so far won the Noble Prize. This country is eager to see an increase in the number. I am sure it will come from amongst you. To improve the standards of higher education we must improve the quality of teachers, the learning capacity of students and the physical infrastructure. But, physical infrastructure will mean nothing unless it’s matched with the quality of human capital that comprises the academic community. The faculty, to be of high order must keep themselves abreast with the latest developments” the President added.
To bring about qualitative changes in teaching, Mr. Mukherjee said, “the institutions must arrange a common platform of resources to be used by all faculty members for skill enhancement and knowledge gathering. The National Knowledge Network offers an effective solution to the academic institutions to connect, collaborate and disseminate ideas, views, findings and research innovations. Using this network can compensate many of the shortages - in terms of faculty, infrastructure and resources – that hinder an institution from offering a great learning experience.”
Prof. S.S. Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Karnataka delivered the welcome address while as Mr. Anand Mohan, Director NIT, Kurkshetra, delivered the vote of thanks.