President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday expressed concern over the quality of higher education and said that education system needed a systematic re-look so that India could educate much larger numbers without diluting academic standards.
Delivering the 8th convocation address of the SRM University here, the President said: “As we stand on the threshold of the 12th Five Year Plan, challenges continue to exist with respect to quality and the provision of relevant education. India needs universities to provide quality education that meet international benchmarks.” Urging the private sector to contribute its best to higher education in India, the President said, “We need universities to provide quality education that meet international benchmarks. Many top universities including Harvard, Yale and Stanford are the result of efforts of the private sector. There is no reason why the Indian private sector cannot achieve similar results.”
Stressing the need for private institutions to build the trust of people, Mukherjee said, “Financial resources are an important consideration for all universities. But, there must be a vision to create a world class institute and nurture young people who will change the world into a better place for all of us.”
He said curricular reforms leading to regular revision and upgrading of curricula, introduction of semester system, choice-based credit system and examination reforms are yet to take place in many higher educational institutions across the country.
The President said that the private sector today accounted for about four-fifths of enrolment in professional higher education. “The standards of education, however, vary from institute to institute. It is essential that a transparent framework for better service delivery be established in the field of private education. The regulatory mechanism should facilitate accreditation of all educational institutions with clarity on incentives and consequences in order to improve quality, to ensure minimum benchmarks and to promote excellence in higher education,” he said.
He also highlighted the lack of good faculty in universities. “While the requisite number of good quality teachers cannot be made available overnight, we must tackle the problem by bringing in innovative teaching methodologies such as technology-enabled learning and collaborative information and communication technologies,” Mukherjee added.
He urged the 8,809 graduates, postgraduates and Phd degree holders to remember that their mission in life should be to wipe every tear from every eye, as exhorted by the father of nation Mahatma Gandhi.
The President said that SRM University had carved a niche for itself by imparting quality higher education in the private sector. It should now strive to spread to other institutions in the country, some of its models of teaching and curricula which are novel and could be emulated.
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah stressed the need for value-based education which sythesises the moral fabric of the individual and generates a culture of peace in society and makes one’s life in harmony with existence.
Mukherjee also presented the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc) on Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation V K Sraswat and eminent physician and chairman of PRG Medicares and researches Limited Dr P R Goyal. N Rangasamy