'Knowledge is limitless': Mukherjee tells IIT Bhubaneswar students

Bhubaneswar, Sep 7 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said knowledge is limitless, and advised the students to keep their mind always open to gather more knowledge.

President Mukherjee, who attended the second convocation of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bhubaneswar, called upon the students to make truth, knowledge and hard work their partners in life.

Addressing the students, he said as they leave the portals of their alma mater, they should remember that cooperation is equally important in life as competition.

"In their professional life, solving tasks would require many minds to come together. They should learn to be a team player. They should develop tolerance for multiple viewpoints. They should be humble. They should respect and understand their colleagues," he said.

He said IIT Bhubaneswar is one of the eight new IITs established during the previous Five Year Plan period.

"It has spiritedly overcome the hurdles that are associated with a nascent academic institution. It has expanded its academic programme, undeterred by paucity of physical infrastructure. From 94 students in three under-graduate programmes when it started five years ago, it today has more than 750 students engaged in 14 programmes," said President Mukherjee.

"Its educational philosophy - integration of academic thought rather than creation of regimented disciplines - is laudable. It recognizes that end-to-end design of today's complex systems cannot be dealt only with skills imparted by a single discipline. It emphasizes the need for students to learn from a wider knowledge spectrum and acquire inter-disciplinary capabilities," he added.

President Mukherjee said IIT Bhubaneswar has also responded positively to our country's need to have globally competitive but locally relevant engineering institutes.

"To formulate academic and research framework for issues of local priority, it opened two Schools in 2011, namely Earth, Ocean and Climate Sciences, and Minerals, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering," he added.

Asserting that we have a vision to take India into the league of leading nations, President Mukherjee said: "This is possible only if we have highly capable engineers, scientists, doctors, academicians and other intellectuals. A strong academic foundation is the basis for producing such talented and trained people. Our efforts at expanding higher education infrastructure in India have yielded positive results. Even then, on account of lack of quality, very few academic institutions can claim global reckoning."

He said as per an international ranking, there is not a single Indian university, including the IITs, amongst the top two hundred universities in the world.

"Leading universities of the West and universities even in countries like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are ranked higher than any Indian institution. In the past, for about eighteen hundred years beginning Sixth Century BC, we had an unbeatable higher education system represented by universities like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri. They were a magnet for knowledge seekers from distant places. But today, we languish behind many nations," he added.

President Mukherjee said a world class higher education system is marked by excellence in functioning.

"Improvement in our academic system calls for innovative changes. Our examination system must incorporate modern methods of evaluation. Top quality teachers must be recruited. A spirit of competition amongst universities must be infused. Academic regulation must be streamlined to create a more flexible, transparent and student friendly educational system," he added.

President Mukherjee said innovation is an important cog in the wheel of development, and added that progress is today technology-led.

"In India, research and innovation does not adequately portray the inherent ingenuity of the people. A Science, Technology and Innovation Policy was adopted this year to push innovation frontiers by kindling the creative energy of our population. The mantle to make this policy successful and unleash our inventiveness lies on our higher academic institutions," he added. (ANI)

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