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Hurdles in access to higher education going says official

Hurdles in access to higher education going says official
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The country is addressing the challenge of providing access to higher education along with equity, inclusiveness and excellence, secretary to the Department of Science and Technology

Hyderabad: The country is addressing the challenge of providing access to higher education along with equity, inclusiveness and excellence, secretary to Department of Science and Technology (DST) Ashutosh Sharma on Tuesday said. Delivering the address at the 21st convocation of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) here, he said, "We all need to share the passion and vision to make concerted efforts together to realise this goal.'' Women and other disadvantaged sections are to be provided with a level-playing field to secure better opportunities for higher education, as they are indeed equal partners in the positive shaping of the future of society, Sharma said.

The future of a great nation like India hinges on its young citizens and the quality of education and values they imbibe, he said. The role of higher education is not only to teach information and facts, not even only to cultivate intellect, but also to ignite the imagination and creativity, Sharma said.

He stressed the need to create scholars and leaders not just academics, transfer values and not just information, and prepare for a career and not just a job. He further said the rise of intelligent machines with far-reaching and often disruptive impact on every aspect of society, sustainable development and conversion of knowledge to create new socio-economic opportunities are three major challenges and opportunities in all of the foreseeable future.

Only a holistic education can produce the creative minds to address these challenges, he said adding "I am glad UoH is successfully striving towards that aim". Sharma said his department through its recent NIDHI scheme and NITI Aayog, and through its, Atal Innovation Mission offers unprecedented opportunities to startups. "There has never been a better time to be a techno-entrepreneur! Be a creator of knowledge, wealth and employment," he said.

There is also a need to deploy "our knowledge and resources" inclusively to empower all the stakeholders of the society, Sharma said, pointing out that the department of science and technology has created a scheme and a draft policy on 'Scientific Social Responsibility' to widen and strengthen a plethora of direct interfaces between science and society. UoH Vice-Chancellor Professor Appa Rao Podile announced that "in this convocation, for the first time, we are giving the digitally signed degrees from the NSDL/NAD".

He said all academic awards of the university (30,000 approximately) have been uploaded in National Academic Depository, as per the directives of the Ministry of Human Resource Development under the initiatives of Digital India Programme of the government of India. UoH Chancellor L Narasimha Reddy also spoke. A total of 1,565 students graduated, of whom 264 received their PhD.

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