Srinivasa Rao Apparasu/Hyderabad
President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday stressed that universities should be places for creating learning environment where free minds could meet, interact and exchange of ideas and live in peaceful co-existence.
The President was speaking after inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Osmania University at a brief but grand and colourful function. Governor E S L Narasimhan, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and a host of other dignitaries also attended the function.
Apparently referring to the recent incidents of unrest in various universities across the country, Mukherjee said there was a need to develop universities into temples of higher learning and institutions of excellence where free exchange of thoughts 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 and it has to live up to this dream,” he said.
He reminded the audience that in ancient times, India was the leader in higher education. Universities like Taxila, Nalanda, Vikramshila etc. attracted mighty minds in the form of students, teachers and researchers.
“Today, there is no doubt that there has been huge development of educational infrastructure in the field of higher learning. There are 757 institutions of higher education, including 16 IITs and 30 NITs and many of them had made a mark at the international level. Most of the IITs have been registering 100% placements in campus recruitments. Many of the multinational companies across the globe have employed our IIT graduates,” he said.
However, the President pointed out that though Indian students had been excelling in their respective fields in any part of the world, Indian universities as such were not able to focus on basic research so as to employ students within the country.
“During my visit to over 100 central Institutions of higher learning in the last five years, I have been continuously emphasizing that these Institutions in India should occupy their rightful place in the international ranking process by promoting basic research and development,” he said.
Mukherjee said since it required huge funds, industries should come forward to finance the basic research and development. “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. These ideas must be translated into practical action,” he said.