Calling the absence of Indian universities among the world’s top 200 unacceptable, President Pranab Mukherjee said that it is time to redefine the way education is imparted in the country.
Mukherjee was speaking at the Delhi University’s 90th convocation on Tuesday where doctoral degrees were given to 455 students.
The president laid emphasis on the importance of reforms to make education more inclusive and accessible, especially in remote areas of the country.
“The question that we should now ask ourselves is whether we are satisfied with the progress that we are making in the education sector. An honest answer would reveal that we have miles and miles to go before we can say that we have arrived,” Mukherjee said, adding that the sector is now confronted with problems relating to both quantity (of higher education centers) and quality.
At a time when the university is undergoing major changes in its functioning and structure, the president, who is also the Visitor to the university, laid stress on ensuring that cost should not be an issue for any student who wants to get access to education.
“Inclusivity in higher education should be based on affordability as well. Various student aid programmes such as scholarships, education loans and self-help schemes should be appropriately structured into the academic system,” he said.
Mukherjee addressed the problem of nearly 4,000 faculty positions lying vacant in central universities.
“Shortage of faculty and low standards of instruction are our core concerns. In central universities, close to 51 per cent of the posts of professors are lying vacant,” said Mukherjee.
The Delhi University Teachers’ Union will also submit a memorandum to HRD minister Pallam Raju to look into the matter of filling up vacant seats.
The President emphasised the need to strengthen open learning systems and guiding affiliated colleges on matters of curriculum and evaluation.