President Ram Nath Kovind said on Tuesday that higher education institutions have a major responsibility in transforming impressionable youth. “For this, we must respond to their aspirations, because they are future leaders in various spheres of life,” he said, opening the two-day conference of vice-chancellors of central universities and directors of institutions of national significance at Rashtrapati Bhavan here. .
Kovind said digital technologies are pushing the boundaries of education and the key to achieving excellence is harnessing the transformational benefits of digital technologies to enrich the teaching and learning experience. When the pandemic threatened to derail teaching and learning, technology provided continuity. There have been difficulties, no doubt, but it is good to see that you have all taught and conducted assessments, evaluations and research without interruption. We can now build on that experience and make classroom sessions more interactive, giving students a deeper understanding of the subject, he said. Kovind said that to improve the quality of education, we should also consider sophisticated and innovative approaches to learning.
The President said he was glad to see that Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, commemorating the glorious history of India’s freedom movement, found its place in the opening session. He said the country’s institutions of higher learning are at the heart of this, as our young citizens are not only the heirs of the past, but also the ones who will lead India towards its next golden age. Institutions of higher learning have a major responsibility in transforming impressionable youth. For this, we must respond to their aspirations, because they are future leaders in various spheres of life. I can say with confidence that each of you will contribute to achieving this goal. The extraordinary growth of India in recent times would not have been possible otherwise. I’m sure you will continue your good work, Kovind said.
The president is the visitor of 161 central institutes of higher education. Out of 161 institutes, 53 are physically attending the conference while others are connected virtually, according to a statement released by the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Kovind said that to achieve our broader goals, improving the quality of higher education institutions is of vital importance. We should set benchmarks for the best in the world, he added. The President said that while the importance of pure science cannot be denied, for a country like India, the importance of utilizing research in socially and economically relevant outcomes cannot be ignored.
Therefore, the agenda item on collaboration between academia, industry and policy makers is highly relevant, he said. There are a number of such initiatives in India that work both ways – bringing the benefits of research to market and also bringing market expertise to academia, Kovind said. The president said challenging accepted beliefs and going against the grain has often been the foundation of human progress. However, in an age of unprecedented technological advancement, it is not just individual genius but also support systems that facilitate such progress. It’s a pooling of human intelligence that has led to this fluid environment, Kovind said. He said discussions on the topic “Education and Research in Emerging and Disruptive Technologies” would enhance our understanding of this highly relevant aspect of higher education.
The President noted that in order to encourage an ecosystem of start-ups and innovation, nearly 2,775 institutional innovation councils have been set up in higher education establishments in 28 states and 6 UTs. He expressed his belief that this would go a long way towards promoting the goals of a socially relevant partnership between higher education institutions and industry. Kovind also noted that India’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index has improved significantly from 76 in 2014 to 46 in 2021.
He however said that to improve the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in India, we need to encourage patent filing and streamline the process. Speaking on the agenda item integrating schooling and higher and vocational education, the President said the system should educate in a way that not only enhances knowledge but also provides the skills needed to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. The school lays the foundations, but it must lead the student to a higher or vocational education that meets both aptitudes and aspirations, he said.
During the inaugural session of the conference, the President also presented the 2020 Visitor’s Award for Research (Biological Sciences) to Prof. Mohammad Zahid Ashraf, Department of Biotechnology, Jamia Millia Islamia, for his research on thrombosis induced by hypoxia; and 2020 Visitor’s Award for Technology Development” to Professor Pritam Deb, Department of Physics, Tezpur University, for his work on the development of biodegradable polymer film reinforced with two-dimensional heterostructure for food packaging. The Third Visitor Prize 2020 for Research (Physical Sciences) will later be awarded to Professor Anunay Samanta, School of Chemistry, University of Hyderabad, for his contribution to the spectroscopy and dynamics of short-lived chemical species formed by photo-excitation of molecular particles. systems and materials.
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