Addresses CUK faculty, students through videoconference
Srinagar, Aug 10: Honorable President, Shri. Pranab Mukherjee Monday said that urgent measures to improve academic management in higher level institutions are necessary.
“Is it possible to become a world power without a single world class university? In two reputed international rankings of universities, there is not a single entry from India against the top 200 places. I refuse to believe that despite having the second largest higher education system in the world, with over 700 universities and 36,000 colleges, we do not have even one truly outstanding institution. The fault lies in our casual approach. The rankings process should be taken seriously. A high rank can boost the morale of the academic community and open greater avenues of growth and placement for students. It can help attract the best faculty from India and abroad and provide a benchmark for continuous quality enhancement,” Shri. Pranab Mukherjee remarked while addressing the faculty and students of various higher educational institutions across India, including the Central University of Kashmir (CUK) through videoconference.
He said that concrete action to present the credentials of our institutions is needed. “Institutions must set up nodal authorities to handle data coordination. Some of the IITs have developed expertise in dealing with the ratings process. They can act as knowledge partners to other institutions. As a result of concerted efforts, India today has nine institutions in top 50 in the BRICS region, with the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore at the 5th position. I hope the success in the BRICS rating will extend to other international ratings,” he said.
Shri. Pranab Mukherjee said that to make learning more effective, teaching pedagogy must be refined, curricula up-dated regularly, an inter-disciplinary approach adopted and evaluation mechanism reformed. “They must identify core competencies and nurture centres of excellence.”
He said the higher education sector is witnessing sweeping changes the world over. “Rising costs of higher education and the changing profile of education seekers, aided by technological innovation, are leading to alternative models of knowledge dissemination. MOOCs, which first began in 2008, allow students to hear lectures and read course material on-line, and earn a degree at a cost much lower than conventional education. Disruptive technologies should be used to our advantage.”
The President said that our country is beset with problems like drinking water, sanitation, energy availability, urbanization, and poverty that call for innovative solutions. “These challenges must ring the bells in the laboratories, corridors and classrooms of our higher academic institutions. Unfortunately, research in most institutes is marked by a certain degree of neglect. The eco-system for cutting-edge research is missing. This general apathy is reflected in some indicators. India has 160 researchers in R&D per one million people compared to 710 in Brazil and 1,020 in China. In high technology exports also, India does not fare well.”
He said the Make in India campaign aims at facilitating investment, promoting innovation, fostering skill development and establishing best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure. “Our universities and engineering and research institutions must take up this challenge and make India a hub for technology-based products. They must build a research culture and promote research activity at all levels.”
He said a higher educational institution has to interact with the society at large. “Its soft power of persuasion and influence extends beyond its classrooms. Adoption of some neighbourhood villages to effect holistic change and transform them into model villages can be a very good beginning.”
The President also recalled the contribution of Late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. “As Dr. Kalam has explained in his book, "Indomitable Spirit”, the education system in the 21stcentury must be based on five components - research and enquiry, creativity and innovation, capacity to use high end technology, entrepreneurship and moral leadership. In the contemporary world, we are wading in a sea of information. Converting this information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom, calls for exceptional skills which we must impart in our students. They should be prepared for lifelong learning which now is easier because of digital technology. An inquisitive mind and research oriented approach has to be built in our students.”
CUK officiating Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mehraj ud Din, Registrar, Prof. M Afzal Zargar, Controller of Examination, Dr. Nazir Ahmad Gilkar, Deans of various Schools, Head and Coordinators of different departments, faculty members, administrative staff and students were all present on the occasion.