Chandigarh, March 16: President Pranab Mukherjee said the academic institutions in the country should be benchmarked and accredited to create quality consciousness.
Addressing the 64th annual convocation of Panjab University (PU) here, Mukherjee said the universities were at the apex of the education system in the country.
"At the apex of the education system is the university. Indian universities have potential to be the leading institutions in the world. For that, urgent improvements in academic management are needed," Mukherjee said.
The president said that universities need to redefine teaching methodology to make it more effective.
"To make learning more effective, teaching pedagogy must be refined, curricula up-dated regularly, an inter-disciplinary approach adopted and evaluation mechanism reformed," he said.
"Higher educational institutions would do well to recognise emerging global trends that are creating new models of knowledge dispensation. Rising costs of higher education and changing profile of education seekers, aided by technology, has led to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). "
Due to its advantage of speed, scale and efficiency, it is fast catching up as the preferred mode of learning. Blended MOOCs, online instruction supplemented by periodic classroom interaction, also have the potential to gain ground," the president pointed out.
He said to make faculty up-to-date in their field of knowledge, faculty recharge programmes must be conducted.
"To pursue excellence, core competencies must be identified and centres of excellence nurtured. To create quality consciousness, every institution must be benchmarked and accredited," he added.
The president complimented PU for being the highest ranked Indian institution (276-300th bracket internationally) in the Times Higher Education Survey 2014-15. The president said roping in the industry in the academic scheme of things was the right thing to do in the present context.
"An industry interface can benefit in terms of involvement of industry personnel in curriculum design and project guidance; sponsorship of chair positions; and setting up of incubation centres and laboratories."
He said these could be facilitated "through an industry-interface cell as well as by induction of industry experts in governance mechanisms".
Mukherjee advocated that institutions should reach out to its alumni to associate them in academic management through governing bodies and for business and project mentoring and curriculum design. He said that higher education institutions like universities should not confine themselves to classrooms and campuses.
"These can act as a role model to usher in socio-economic development," he said, adding that academic institutions must take active part in the recent initiatives like 'Clean India' and 'Digital India' launched by the central government.