Kolkata, 6 June: Lamenting that research is a neglected domain in education, President Pranab Mukherjee has said universities must lead in making new inventions and patents.
"Universities must through their inventions and discoveries lead in the registration of patents of our country," Mukherjee said delivering the Asutosh Mukherjee memorial lecture here.
He said while countries like the US and China filed lakhs of patents, India files only few thousands.
"Currently research in a neglected domain in our higher education structure. Successful research programmes offer vast possibilities to make a difference in the lives of people. A developing country like India has to address the global challenges of renewable energy, climate change, drinking water and sanitation," he said.
Stating that research in these areas will have spin-offs unimaginable in terms of benefits to the common man, Mukherjee said, "Our universities have to be the breeding ground for creative pursuits.
"They have to be the source of cutting edge innovation and technological developments," he said, adding that academic autonomy should be preserved at all cost.
He also said that the improvement in higher education in the country and regain the glory of ancient times.
"There should not only be quality education, but institutes should also be centres of higher learning as in the ancient times like Nalanda and Taxila", Mukherjee said at a programme at the National Council of Education. He said that despite India having 669 universities, 30,000 colleges, 16 IITs, 30 NITs, none of them were of world standards.
The President said "it is not difficult to regain glory, but we must give efforts. Some have taken initiatives and started yielding results, like the IITs of Kharagpur, Mumbai and Madras".
He said that regaining past glory would be only possible by a team of inspired teachers and by closely linking with global community using IT.