President Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday that higher education can no longer be continued in a routine fashion. The curriculum should motivate students to take up research and innovation, he added.
"Universities need to develop in their students a scientific temper and a curriculum that will encourage the growth of research and innovation," the president said while addressing the 22nd convocation ceremony of the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) here.
"There has to be an urgency amongst the administrators and academicians to introduce innovative changes in the institutions. Core problems have to be addressed expeditiously. A culture of excellence has to be promoted by allowing adequate flexibility in different aspects of academic management," Mukherjee said.
The president said although the country's efforts at expanding the higher education infrastructure had yielded positive results but very few academic institutions in India can claim global rankings due to lack of quality.
Lamenting that not a single Indian university is amongst the top universities in the world, Mukherjee said, "These rankings are based on certain specific criteria. The standards of our universities are much higher than what the rankings suggest but the universities have not been able to adequately present our cases for a higher ranking." Pointing out that it is over 80 years since an Indian University produced a Nobel Prize winner, CV Raman, the president observed that Amartya Sen, S. Chandrashekar and Hargobind Khorana were all graduates of Indian Universities but got their Nobel Prizes while working in US universities.
The President pointed out that "We in India have the best teachers, students and the talent but we are not coordinated well. If we can make the right call at the right time, we will get the necessary response." Mukherjee praised the Centre for Cultural and Creative Studies of NEHU for working towards realising the artistic and cultural aspirations of the people. The centre is collaborating with the indigenous community to preserve, protect and promote the rich diversity of the northeast.
Stating that NEHU has acted as a centre of empowerment for the people in the northeast, Mukherjee expressed his happiness over gender parity in the student population with a 1:1 male-female ratio and the fact that women outperform men. Meghalaya Governor K.K. Paul, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, NEHU chancellor Andre Beteille and NEHU vice chancellor P. Shukla were also present on the occasion.