Expressing concern about the "quality of education", President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said "quality education" and "requisite skills" were a must for the country's youth. Addressing a meeting of the directors of Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangalore, and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) here, Mukherjee said "demographic dividend would be an empty dream if present educational standards are not upgraded".
"The number of central institutions nearly doubled, from 55 to 106 during the 11th Plan period but our youth will end up contributing less to nation building unless they are imparted quality education and requisite skills," he said. The meeting was organised as a follow up to the conference of vice chancellors of central universities of 2013 and 2014 and the conference of directors of NITs of 2013.
The president called upon IISc and IISERs to promote a "culture of excellence" with "zero tolerance for mediocrity". "Science, education, research and innovation are the four pillars on which the development as well as the work culture of a nation rests. Scientific temperament cannot happen unless we improve the delivery of education at all levels. "The government has announced the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy. One of the key elements of the policy is to position India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020." Speaking on the issue of brain drain, Mukherjee said in spite of established institutions like IISc and IITs, more than two lakh Indian students go abroad every year for tertiary education. He called upon the attending directors to "explore opportunities not only for our students but also to attract more foreign students to study in India".