New Delhi, August 25: President Pranab Mukherjee Friday asked the IITs to explore ways to improve the country's quality of higher education so that India can become a global supplier of skilled manpower. Speaking at the inauguration of a day-long conference of chairmen, board of governors and directors of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mukherjee described the IITs as "knowledge leaders of the nation" and urged them to "explore how quality of education can be improved".
"There is need for soul searching on what is holding back good governance in institutes of higher learning," said the president as he called upon the council of IITs to draw up a roadmap for governance in line with the best global practices and implement it without delay. "In spite of our technical capabilities to put the satellites of other countries into space, we are still importing technology starting from security features and papers for Indian currency to defence equipment," he said.
The president advised the council to focus on how IITs can become a source for meeting technology needs of the government and become a harbinger of the vision 'Make in India' and 'Made in India'. "So far we have been giving attention to industry-academia inter-linkages, but now we also must focus on the government-academia inter-linkages," he said.
The president said constraints such as huge shortage of faculty should be urgently addressed as the vacancy position in IITs varies from 10 to 52 percent, and the overall vacancy in 16 IITs is over 37 percent. He said India's biggest strength in the coming years is going to be its demographic dividend. "This offers us a unique opportunity to become a global supplier of skilled manpower. For this, we must achieve our target of training 500 million people by 2022".
Help develop cutting edge technologies: President to IITs
New Delhi, August 25: President Pranab Mukherjee has called upon IITs to play a pivotal role in India's endeavour to develop newer, cutting edge technologies and utilise them to create in-house technology solutions for domestic requirements. Speaking at the concluding session of the conference of chairmen, board of governors and directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at Rashtrapati Bhavan Friday, Mukherjee said the new technologies can also be exported to other developing countries.
The president said some excellent suggestions that have emanated from the IITs include sharing of best practices, efforts to increase the number of published papers to 3-5 per year, promotion of a post-doctoral culture in order to develop and retain quality faculty, continuous revamping and upgrading of curricula and striving to spin-off a number of companies per IIT each year. Mukherjee said he was happy to know the concept of "Ishan Vikas" - a comprehensive plan to bring school children from the northeastern states in close contact with the IITs and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research during their vacation periods.
The human resource development ministry and the council of IITs need to coordinate and ensure early implementation of this initiative, he said. The president said he was happy to see the presentation made by the director of IIT-Delhi on technology-enabled learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
"These courses are the way forward and must be used to supplement conventional methods of teaching in India, particularly in the field of higher education. "It is imperative that a well-defined timeline is put in place for their rollout and content development with the focus being on making these courses more India-centric," he said.
The agenda of the one-day conference included steps required to improve global ranking of IITs, giving impetus to research and innovation, use of technology in pedagogy and online learning, deepening of the engagement of IITs with the community and resource mobilisation as well as alumni participation.