Underscoring the need for holistic development of an individual by infusing empathy, creative thinking and stress and emotion management in students, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said educational institutions should include such skills' training in their course curriculum and also develop expertise to impart them.
He said this while presiding over the inaugural ceremony of Maharaja Agrasen University at Kalujhanda near Barotiwala.
He said the recent increase in cases of assault on women and children has shaken the collective conscience of the nation, hence there was an urgency to introspect and find solutions to arrest the erosion of values in society.
“Our educational institutions, beginning from schools, should take the lead in meeting the moral challenges of our times and ensure upholding of civilisational values of love for motherland, performance of duty and compassion for all,” he added.
Mukherjee said, “The country has adopted a strategy of high economic growth to mitigate poverty and ensure development touching the lives of all citizens therefore it is crucial that knowledge-based sectors like information technology, biotechnology, architecture, management, accountancy and law are equipped with competent personnel.”
The total number of students enrolled in this sector was 2.6 crore at the end of the 11th plan period. This number is projected to increase to 3.6 crore at the end of the 12th plan period. The country has 650 degree awarding institutions and over 3,000 colleges, but is short of good quality academic institutions, due to which many bright students prefer going abroad for higher studies.
According to an international survey, there is no Indian university among top 200 universities in the world. For 1800 years in history, Indian universities had dominated the world education system. Takshashila became the point of assembly for four civilisations - Indian, Persian, Greek and Chinese.
"We must harness technologies like e-education to take quality education to the masses. The national mission on education through information and communication technology is an important initiative for facilitating information and knowledge sharing. It is possible to share important lectures through e-classrooms with students studying in far-off locations," he said.
Emphasising the need to encourage the private sectors in expanding higher education, he said, "International experience shows that the private sector and alumni participation was behind the success of top universities like Harvard, Yale and Stanford. Even today, private institutions account for nearly 60% of the total enrollment in the country, but there is a need for better management to improve service delivery, ensure minimum benchmark and promote excellence. There is a need to strengthen the system of research fellowships, inter-disciplinary and inter-university research collaborations and industry incubation parks."
Chief minister Virbhadra said it was a matter of proud and privilege that the President has graced the occasion, adding that his words of wisdom would guide all of them especially the students in their pursuit for excellence and preparation for meeting the emerging challenges in day-to-day life.
He said private universities were supplementing the government's efforts in spreading education and people expect them to maintain high standards of learning, research and education adding that dissemination of knowledge was a sacred mission and needs to be carried out holistically.
He said the objective of the government was to bring technical and higher education within the reach of poor.
Former chief minister PK Dhumal, transport minister GS Bali and chancellor of the university Nand Kishore Grag also spoke on the occasion. Vice-chancellor SP Bansal proposed a vote of thanks.