In a candid statement reflecting his concerns over the increase in crime against women in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said here that to move forward, the nation would have to respect its women.
Addressing the gathering during the third convocation of Lovely Professional University (LPU) near here after conferring doctorate in social sciences (honoris causa) degree on his Afghanistan counterpart Hamid Karzai, Mukherjee said it was high time for society to think about extending due respect to women. "Education can build the future of the country," he said. "The academic communities should reset the moral compass to ensure that the students are imparted the core values of civilization and taught compassion for all, tolerance for pluralism, discipline, responsibility, and good conduct," he said, adding that the cultural values would help young generation imbibe good character.
Maintaining that India was in demographic transition, the President said that by 2020, the country would be home to nearly 67% of the world's population. "It will be a productive asset, provided we are able to convert the huge population into quality human resource. If we fail to instill skill and knowledge among the stakeholders, the population will be a big liability. That's why I advocate vocational education," he said.
Regretting the country's lagging behind in higher education, particularly research, Mukherjee said he was disappointed that no Indian university figured in world's top 200 educational institutions. "It's not that Indian students cannot do research," he said. "There is need to establish a centre of excellence in every university, where original research can be done. It is not a distant dream, in view of the fact that we have the second largest higher education infrastructure," he said.
Raising the question why India waited for 83 years to win a Nobel Prize for original research, he came forward with the answer too, maintaining that outstanding research fellows were Indian, but all based in foreign universities.
Lauding the role of the LPU in promoting education, the President said the private university had redefined education and emerged an agent of change. Accepting that severe shortage of members of the faculty was hampering research projects and the spread of education, he maintained that time had come to introduce e-classroom facility throughout the country. "We can transmit lectures by experts to the remotest corners. We need to check the shortage of members of the faculty and lay emphasis on innovation and research and development; else, India cannot progress," he said.