NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul on Friday underlined the need for vigorous efforts to make Indian universities world class, saying the fundamental component of long-term economic health will depend largely on skilled work force to meet the challenge ahead.
Addressing Punjab Technical University here, Lord Paul also expressed concern over failure of any Indian university to feature among the top 200 universities globally and said concerted efforts are needed to improve standards of education in India.
"It is a cause for concern that the standards of education in many of our institutions are below benchmark.
There is not a single Indian institution in the list of top 200 universities in the world," he said.
Observing that a higher rank can boost the morale of the academic and student communities, he said it will encourage greater flow of faculty and students from abroad and help in opening new areas of technology and free exchange of ideas.
"I am a very passionate advocate for education. Education is the foundation on which the strength of a nation rests. It forms the basis for robust, democratic societies and enables economic growth and development.
"I firmly believe that education should be a fundamental right of any society and the opportunity to participate in education and gain vital life skills should be provided to all," Lord Paul said.
Noting that skilled workforce was fundamental for economic health, he said it was good time to concentrate on securing global economic revival.
"Across the globe there has been a period of difficult economic times. As we enter the recovery phase, it is a good time to concentrate on securing global economic revival, ensuring sustainability and development for years to come," he said.
Lord Paul said India required 500 million people to be trained by 2020 to produce a competitive labour force and ensure that there is a skilled work base to provide the necessary infrastructure for a growing population.