Hyderabad: President of India Pranab Mukherjee said that India must develop universities as temples of higher learning.
Speaking after inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Osmania University here on Wednesday, the President said that the universities should be places for creating learning environment, where free exchange of ideas would take place and where mighty minds in the form of students and teachers would exchange ideas.
“Osmania University was also established with this dream that it will be an institution of excellence where free minds will meet freely, interact and exchange ideas and live in peaceful co-existence. In ancient India, India played a leading role in the field of higher learning.
Universities such as Taxila, Nalanda, Vikramshila etc. had attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers,” he said.
The President said that there was no doubt that there has been huge development of educational infrastructure in the field of higher learning. However, he said, there are some areas of concern.
As Visitor to more than 100 Central Institutions of higher learning, he had been continuously emphasizing that these Institutions in India should occupy their rightful place in the international ranking process.
He said that apart from looking into this aspect, attention also needs to be laid on basic research and education. There should be interface and effective inter-linkages between industry and academia.
“We cannot live in isolation. There is need for investment in research and innovation so that we can occupy our rightful place in the international community,” he said. The President emphasized that these ideas must be translated into practical action.
The President said that the purpose of Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan was to establish the university of International standard which would help the students and teachers which is up to International standard. He stressed the need for giving more importance on research and development,
he said that he being the Chancellor of the 757 Central Universities in the country which includes 16 IIT, 30 NIT and other research Institutes. Despite having such a huge resource, India is much behind in the field of research and development.
He said when he found out the reason, to his surprise, he learnt that students who are taking basic education in India are going to foreign countries for their higher studies for research. This gap needs to be reduced and our Universities should improve their standards.
Pranab Mukherjee said that the country was in forefront in the education in the world since 16th to 17th century and many Universities in the country had come up during that period. But now the situation has changed due to insufficient state funding for the universities.
He said that the Industries should come forward and fund for the research and development activities so that any new innovation would help the industry to grow and introduce new products.
Campus recruitment should be given the required importance. Citing an example, he said when he went for the convocation of IIT, Kharagpur, he found that the students got 100% placement. “If IIT can achieve this, why not other Universities in the country?” he asked.
The President looked a bit sick and coughed several times during the speech and had to drink water to continue the speech.
The President also laid the foundation for the construction of Osmania University Administrative Building and new colleges and also released three souvenirs in Urdu, Telugu and English on the 100 years of Osmania University.
He said that many things in the world has changed during the last 100 years which include two World Wars and India gaining independence.
Hyderabad too has undergone several changes. The Osmania University too has witnessed many struggles and the OU has records of all these changes. He said that the students and the teachers could go through those records.
Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Deputy Chief Minister (Education) Kadiam Srihari, Rajya Sabha Member K. Keshav Rao, Osmania University Vice Chancellor Prof. S. Ramachandran were among those present. (INN)