Stressing on capacity building of students by universities, President APJ Abdul Kalam on Monday said moral science classes, which would elevate them to work for the country's progress, should be part of the curriculum.
Inaugurating the sesquicentenary celebrations of the Madras University and its virtual portal, he said the varsities should imbibe moral leadership in youth, which he defined as "doing the right thing and making others do the right thing".
Apart from meeting the modern needs of society for employment and excellence in education, the university education system should promote human values that would transform the society, the President noted.
Imbibing confidence in students was an important aspect of education, Kalam said and exhorted them to involve themselves in energy and water saving schemes, apart from setting an example to others in cleaning the environment.
Kalam said the virtual university portal he had launched would provide global connectivity in education and the power of technology would play an important role in modern education.
Noting that only six per cent of youth below 35 were able to receive higher education, Kalam said this should be increased in phases.
The scientist-President said interconnectivity of villages using e-governance should be given priority and an interconnectivity grid would serve as a knowledge platform "as we are stepping into a knowledge era".
Stressing the significance of research at the university level, the President said it would lead to fundamental changes in science and technology, which would then result in economic growth.
Kalam favoured granting autonomy to universities and asked them to prepare for the challenges of the 21st century.
He said 220 million people in the country were living below poverty line and they were in need of basic amenities like food, shelter, health care, education and employment. The current rate of economic growth should be accelerated to achieve this aspect.
Listing the priorities for the nation to transform it into a developed economy, a subject on which he has penned a book, he said development in agriculture, health care, education, infrastructure and information and communication technology would pave the way for faster economic growth.
The President recalled his college days in St Joseph College, Tiruchi, which was part of the Madras University and spoke at length about the qualities of his professors.
Paying rich tributes to his physics professor, Kalam, who went on to become a leading scientist, said the way he taught it created interest in the subject, especially in nuclear physics branch, for students, including himself.
The President spoke in English and Tamil, alternately.