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Pranab Mukherjee stresses need to arrest declining education standard

Pranab Mukherjee stresses need to arrest declining education standard
Highlights

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday stressed the need to arrest the declining standards of education in the country and sought quality improvement by engaging focussed attention of academic leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders to this end.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday stressed the need to arrest the declining standards of education in the country and sought quality improvement by engaging focussed attention of academic leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders to this end.

"Multiple interventions are necessary. Attracting quality faculty and continuous faculty development is one. Adjunct faculty from the industry and research institutions if hired can provide practical orientation to course modules," he said.

Inaugurating the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the 26th Convocation of the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, here, Mukherjee said through promoting centres of excellence, core competencies of an institute can be nurtured.

"Through the establishment of research parks, cutting-edge research can be pursued and that will help develop a world class eco system in our institutions," he said.

The President also said that institutes can also pursue establishment of partnerships with foreign and domestic institutions by signing Memoranda of Understanding.

He said there was a need for giving a boost to start-ups to provide a head-start to various innovative activities. "Due to facilitated environments that have evolved, the youth today has a greater share for entrepreneurship. Many start-ups in India have become successful and have shown the path of progress to others," the President said.

In fact, India with over 4,200 start-ups has the third largest start-ups eco-system in the world, behind the US and the UK, Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee asserted that higher academic institutions have a clear role to play in refining the entrepreneurial abilities of their students.

Other support measures like small industries, entrepreneurs' park of BIT in Mesra, are needed to prepare students to become 'job creators' rather than 'job seekers', Mukherjee said.

After presentation of PhD, Post Graduation and Graduation degrees to the students, the President presented gold medals to those topping various branches of engineering at the institute.

In his address, Mukherjee said that creating inter-linkages with other higher education institutions can deliver benefits in terms of resource sharing like academic experts and course material, exchange of students and faculty, scope for research collaboration and sharing of new ideas and best practices.

"Towards this end, it will be worthwhile to properly harness the existing information and communication technology networks like the National Knowledge Network," he said.

Noting that higher education sector in the country has seen enormous growth over the last few decades, he said a healthy feature of this expansion is the increasing participation of the private sector in delivery of higher education.

The percentage of students enrolled for higher education in private institutions has risen from 54 per cent at the beginning of the 11th plan period to 59 per cent at the commencement of the 12th plan period, he said.

However, he said that proliferation in this sector has resulted in greater access, but has led to an alarming distress in quality at the same time.

Holding that the country cannot lose fight of the fact that over 250 million people languish at subsistence level of poverty, Mukherjee said the socio-economic progress has to be tempered with a commitment to equitable distribution of its fruits to all sections of the society, particularly the backward, less privileged and the disadvantaged.

He asked BIT, Mesra to continue the thrust on socially responsive projects through the medium of research and technology.

The President said there was a time when India was a key global centre of higher learning with universities like Nalanda, Vikramsila and Taxila flourishing.

Asking institutions to figure in the bracket of top global universities, Mukherjee referred to only two Indian institutions --- Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Delhi IIT --- figuring among the top 200 institutions in the world.

He said that some of the institutions of India were just steps behind towards achieving this goal and hoped they would achieve a class of excellence.

Earlier addressing the gathering, C K Birla, the Chairman of Board of Governors, BIT, said that the institutions will be investing Rs 200 crore for upgrading the academic structure over the next three years and has also decided to increase the scholarship amount from Rs 75 lakh per year to Rs three crore annually.

He also said that the institution's board has approved the setting up of G P Birla Centre for Innovated Start-ups.

Governor Droupadi Murmu said there is immense potential for industrial growth in this region, which offers hardworking manpower, thrust towards better infrastructure and readily available technical and managerial human resource.

She said institutions like BIT could look at the possibility of imparting specific technical skills to the people in those areas of Jharkhand where large projects are being established.

Asking the industry magnates to invest in the state, Chief Minister Raghubar Das said Jharkhand was offering a single window system for industries.

The effort of the state government is in line with the thrust stressed on the economy being provided by the Centre. The policy of the state government is based on the principle of 'skill, scale and speed', Das said.

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