JNU should encourage innovation in research on epidemiology: Kovind
Speaking during the fourth annual convocation of JNU on Wednesday, the president congratulated the institute for its high-ranking accreditation and appreciated “every person associated with JNU for setting high standards”.Updated: Nov 19, 2020, 02:41 IST
President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said universities such as Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) should encourage innovation in research on epidemiology keeping the current Covid-19 pandemic in mind.
Speaking during the fourth annual convocation of JNU on Wednesday, the president congratulated the institute for its high-ranking accreditation and appreciated “every person associated with JNU for setting high standards”.
Due to the pandemic, the university held its convocation in the virtual mode this time, conferring degrees to 603 students from 15 schools and centres.
Kovind was the chief guest at the occasion while education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal was the guest of honour. Around 430 students were conferred the degree during last year’s convocation, which saw high drama due to the students’ protests over the hostel fee hike.
Stressing on the importance of research in areas such as infectious diseases, epidemiology, virology, diagnostics, instrumentation, vaccinology in the Covid-19 era, President Kovind said, “The related social issues need to be studied, preferably with the multi-disciplinary approach. In this endeavour, universities like JNU should be at the forefront to develop specific hand-holding mechanisms and promote innovation among student communities.”
He said the varsity represents “blending of inclusion, diversity and excellence” and should “be at the forefront” to promote innovation among student communities. “Students aspiring for very different career paths come together in JNU. The university represents the blending of inclusion, diversity and excellence,” Kovind said.
The President congratulated JNU for receiving the highest-ranking grade from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and ranking second among all the universities under the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).
“The university has produced many eminent personalities and has been guided by some of the greatest minds...I appreciate every person associated with JNU for setting high standards in various academic domains. Ranging from social sciences to science and technology, both teaching and research have made an impact in the world of academics. That is why JNU attracts students from all parts of the country and even from abroad,” said Kovind.
“It must be a matter of pride for students of the university that finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and minister of external affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar are its former students. From among the over 80,000 former students of JNU, many have made an impact in India and abroad through contribution in the civil services, academia, politics, social work, science and technology, media and communications, fine arts and business leadership,” he said.
President Kovind said while dealing with present-day challenges, one can draw inspiration from the ancient universities of Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi which had set high standards of teaching and research.
Vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar said, “Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided that this tradition of convocation should continue using digital technology to hand over degrees to research scholars through the online ceremony.”
Pokhriyal also asked students to stick to Indian values and update, upgrade and educate themselves.
Talking about innovative work at the varsity, Kumar said, “Several products have been developed within the university such as the Learning Management System (LMS) by two students from School of Engineering to conduct and manage classes online. Last month, a start-up company of JNU launched a cloud-based biological data analysis platform, which will be of great use in understanding pandemics like Covid-19.”
Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said the Atal Innovation Centre and several start-ups being set up by the university will contribute to realising “Make in India, Digital India and Atmanirbhar Bharat.”
Several students, however, boycotted the event on Wednesday to protest against the administration’s decision to allow a phase-wise entry to only science students.
Former JNU students’ union president Ashutosh Kumar, who completed his PhD from Centre for Russian and Central Asian studies this year, said, “The administration has had anti-student policies for the past few years now. Current students have been protesting for months now demanding a return to campus but they have not done anything on it and are organising virtual convocations instead where the graduands are asked to pay Rs 800 to attend the convocation. This is what prompted us to boycott the event.”