President Pranab Mukherjee expressed concern over the dearth of quality academic institutions in the country to prepare the next generation, and rued that not even a single university figured among the top ranked 200 universities in the world.
Addressing the 23rd convocation of Pondicherry University here on Wednesday, Mukherjee underlined the importance of higher education in nation building and said that though there has been tremendous physical expansion with over 659 universities, more than 33,000 colleges, 1.80 crore students enrolling into higher education, which is likely to reach 2.9 crore by the end of XII five year plan, the country lacks world class institutions. This had not been the case previously when India dominated the ancient education system for 1,800 years from sixth century BC to 12th Century AD, since the time of Takshashila till the downfall of Nalanda University.
He said that there was no reason why India could not go back to acquire the same status and added that a coordinated and integrated approach was necessary so that India can occupy its rightful place.
Expansion, equity, excellence, governance, funding and monitoring which have been focused under XII plan have to be implemented in the right spirit. The President said that ‘Right to Education’ has been made a reality in our country and now there is a need to stress on ‘Right Education’.
Stating that science and technology holds key to future economic growth and social development, he said that universities have to create an environment to support innovation.
The president also stressed on promoting high quality research that push knowledge frontiers and evolve technologies for development.
The Vice Chancellor of the University Chandra Krishnamurthy in her report highlighted the achievements of the university and the rapid strides it has made.
Chief Rector and Lieutenant Governor Virendra Kataria, Chief minister N Rangasamy, Union Minister of State for PMO V Narayanasamy, Rajya Sabha member P Kannan were among the dignitaries who participated in the convocation.
During the convocation 10,899 bachelor degrees, 2,946 Masters degree, 293 M Phils, 130 Ph.Ds, 260 diplomas, 72 certificate courses and 206 gold medals were awarded.