World class academic institution must for becoming top nation, says President Mukherjee

Kolkata, Dec. 13 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday highlighted the transformation brought about by technological advancements in the educational sector.

“Internet, mobile phones and TV have transformed the world. There are no longer any territorial limitations. Technology and e-classrooms can be used to access best of teachers anywhere. This will help address the problem of faculty shortages,” he said while delivering the Debranjan Mukherjee Memorial Lecture in Kolkata.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said India cannot aspire to become one of the top nations in the world and sit at the high table of the international comity without having world class academic institutions.

He said physical infrastructure for higher education has expanded fast in India in recent years.

“We have 712 universities and over 36,000 colleges, but not a single Indian institution figured in the top 200 rankings till recently. There was a time when India played a dominant role in the higher education system and we had renowned seats of learning like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri. India now has to work towards regaining that glory of the past,” he said.

The President said as visitor to large number of institutions of higher learning, he has been regularly convening conferences and emphasising on the need to improve international rankings.

“The basic problem is not lack of merit on the part of our higher learning institutions but technicalities and our not providing relevant information to the international rating agencies,” he added.

President Mukherjee said he was happy that institutions are now taking the ranking process more seriously in a proactive and systematic manner.

“Faculty and student exchanges should be regularly organized. Novel ideas that can be transformed into marketable products should be supported and higher education institutions should in association with grassroots entrepreneurs create incubation centres,” he said.

The President said India has been traditionally a fossil fuel driven energy economy and highlighted the need to develop solar energy and other alternate energy to reduce dependence on hydro carbons.

The President fondly remembered Shri Debranjan Mukherji who taught him for four years in Suri Vidyasagar College.

The Memorial Lecture has been instituted in the memory of Late Debranjan Mukherji, an influential figure who taught Bengali language and literature. He served in Suri Vidyasagar College, Guskara Mahavidyalaya, Bidhanchandra College at Asansol and the University of Burdwan, where he later became the Head of the Department of Bengali. (ANI)

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