President for bringing education out of mediocrity

By IANS   |   Thursday, 13 February, 2014
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Observing that not a single Indian institution figures in the world's top 200 universities, President Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said transformative ideas are required to steer institutions out of the muddy waters of mediocrity.

"Some of our universities and engineering institutions are indeed capable of figuring much higher in the ranks," the president said.

Delivering the second convocation address at the Central University of Himachal Pradesh at Shahpur, 250 km from state capital Shimla, he said: "Concrete action is required to not only have an in-depth understanding of the criteria and process followed by the ranking agencies but to also develop a strategy to project the achievements more effectively."

Mukherjee said governance structures have to be supportive of innovative ideas and also facilitative of faster decision making.

"The expertise and experience of alumni, who are well established, can be utilised for effective university management."

"Our universities have to be the breeding grounds of creative pursuits. They have to be the source of cutting edge technological developments. A beginning has already been made by the opening of innovation clubs in several central universities to promote ingenuity and exchange ideas," he said.

"As the next step, innovation clubs should work in tandem with innovation incubators located in the IITs or NITs in the region to take forward the novel, workable ideas of grassroots innovators to create useful products," he added.

The president, who presented honoris causa to economist and administrator Vijay Kelkar, said a spirit of competition and collaboration has to be instilled in the central universities.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh underlined the importance of the Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) in reinvigorating the state's higher education system by linking funding of institutions with the institutions' willingness to implement academic and governance reforms.

University Chancellor Arun Maira said: "GDP growth is important but more important are the social, political and environmental forces that will shape and define economic outcomes."

He stressed on inclusive growth, decentralisation of governance and architecture of institutions that would enable more effective management of the environment and faster growth of employment.

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