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‘Indian varsities not best globally because of lack of basic research’

Former president Pranab Mukherjee has said that lack of research is the reason why none of the Indian universities figure in the list of top 200 in the world

education Updated: Nov 23, 2017 12:44 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Universities,University top ranking,University rank
Research is the cornerstone of academic endeavour. Its quality determined the academic calibre of an educational institution, former president Pranab Mukherjee has said.(Getty Images)

Bhubaneswar India has to give thrust to basic research to emerge as a major knowledge power and its universities should ignite the imagination of students to take them beyond books, former president Pranab Mukherjee has said.

Students passing out from IITs are being recruited as managers, engineers and technicians across the world and the question whether these premier institutions engaged in basic research did not evoke a very encouraging response, he said delivering the fifth convocation address of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (Deemed to be University) on Wednesday.

“Because of our lack of emphasis on basic research, institutions of higher education have lagged behind others in the world. Without such focus, it will not be possible to have our coveted place in the comity of nations,” Mukherjee said.

Research was the cornerstone of academic endeavour. Its quality determined the academic calibre of an educational institution, he added. “Without strong research programmes, no institution of higher education can truly accomplish its central mandate of promoting learning and knowledge” .

Lack of research was the reason why none of the Indian universities figure in the list of top 200 in the world. It was a matter of regret that no other scientist working in India had received a Nobel after C V Raman, he said.

Students in the country are not less intelligent nor was there any dearth of talented teachers. Scholars like Hargobind Khorana, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar and Amartya Sen became Nobel laureates while working in foreign universities, the former president added.

Institutions of higher learning must realise that a scientific temper, which takes one’s imagination beyond the realm of grades and class rooms, was essential in students.

“Our universities must fire the power of imagination of their students and the teachers make them think beyond the books so that they are trained to accept a proposition only after investigation,” Mukherjee said.

The quality of research was the cornerstone of academic endeavour and determined the academic calibre of an educational institution. Technological institutions and universities should also function in coordination with industries.

Mukherjee congratulated SOA for putting sustained thrust on inter-disciplinary research by establishing the Centre of Excellence for Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences and conducting research on nano particles, multi-functional materials and thin film-based censors at the Centre for Nano Science and Nano Technology.

A Technology Business Incubation Lab had also been set up by the university which indicated that it was progressing in the right path, he said.

Former chief justice of India justice K G Balakrishnan, former union minister M Veerappa Moily and Head of the National Cancer Institute, AIIMS, Delhi, Prof Goura Kishore Rath were present on the occasion.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 12:44 IST