Revive higher education in India: President

Lumani (Nagaland), May 15 (IANS) India lacks quality academic institutions and there is a need to revive higher educational institutions, President Pranab Mukherjee said here Wednesday.

Speaking at the third convocation of Nagaland University, Mukherjee said that despite India’s higher education system being the second largest in the world.

“Despite India’s higher education system being the second largest in the world, the enrolment rate for the 18-24 years age group in India is only seven per cent. Compared to this, it is 21 percent in Germany and 34 per cent in the US,” he said.

“Except for one state, there is at least one central university in every state of the country. Despite this, the problems of quantity and quality persist. We are deficient in the number of quality academic institutions, on account of which, many bright students go abroad for higher studies,” he said.

“There are more than two lakh Indian students studying abroad, including in the US and UK. We should be able to draw our students to seek higher education in their own country,” he said.

He said as per an international survey, there is not a single Indian university amongst the top 200 universities in the world.

“There was a time when we had world class universities like Nalanda and Takshashila, which attracted scholars from all over the world. We can revive our lost glory. We have the capability to take at least a few of our academic institutions into the global top league,” he said.

“A culture of excellence should be embedded in our thought process. Every university should identify one department that can be developed into a centre of excellence. I call upon the central universities to take the lead in this transformation,” he said.

The president called for increasing accessibility in higher education as a means to achieve greater inclusion.

Mukherjee also flagged the issue of shortage of faculties in universities.

“Shortage of faculty has hampered our efforts at improving the standards of education. In central universities, (staff) vacancy is about 38 percent. Immediate steps should be taken to fill up the vacancies. To tide over this crisis, we must also resort to technology solutions such as e-classrooms,” he said.

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