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Speech by Pranab Mukherjee at 23rd convocation of Pondicherry Varsity

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It is my pleasure to be here for the twenty third Convocation of the Pondicherry University and see the exuberance and excitement in the students who have come for this venerable occasion.

I am also glad to have made use of this opportunity to visit Puducherry. It is a beautiful city, which evokes instant appreciation for the grand mansions, beautiful boulevards and placid promenades. It is the birthplace of the great Tamil poet, Bharathidasan. Another illustrious Tamil poet, Subramania Bharathiar, chose this place to write some of his memorable poems. Sri Aurobindo came here to establish a globally revered Ashram.

I was a teacher before I joined public life. I know how satisfying it is for a teacher to give students the joy of learning; to make them appreciate, reflect and differentiate the strands of thinking; to make them worthy and willing to shoulder responsibility. The faculty is the lifeblood of a university. They must continuously renew their understanding of the subject. They must be able to transfer knowledge to their students with dedication and commitment. They must act as friend and guide to the students, ever willing to counsel and show them how best they can gear themselves to face the world. I take a moment here to compliment the entire academic fraternity of the Pondicherry University for their selfless labour at preparing the students to face the test of life.

Pranab Mukherjee at Pondicherry Varsity

We have to keep pace with change. It is gratifying to note that during the Twelfth Plan period, we have focused on expansion, equity, excellence, governance, funding and monitoring. These aspects have to be implemented in the right spirit for the higher education sector to see far-reaching changes. The academic curriculum has to be updated regularly. The assessment system has to be made more reliable and objective.

In the end, I only want to say that you are ready now after years of toiling hard. You have acquired capabilities here, which you must generously put to use in the nation-building process. I wish you all a successful career and a purposeful life ahead. May all your dreams come true. I also wish the Pondicherry University and all those associated with it, the very best in the years ahead.

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