'University has to be a temple of learning; of humanism, tolerance and balanced reasoning': Mukherjee

Pondicherry, Sep 25 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said a university has to be a temple of learning; of humanism, tolerance and balanced reasoning.

"We have made 'Right to Education' a reality in our country. We have to now stress on 'Right Education'. A university has to be a temple of learning; of humanism, tolerance and balanced reasoning. Through the intellectual pursuits and knowledge sharing of scholars, academicians and scientists, it has to contribute to the progress of our society and the nation," he said, while speaking on the occasion of the 23rd Annual Convocation of Pondicherry University here.

President Mukherjee said education has to create responsible, innovative, analytical and compassionate citizens.

"It has to respond positively to the change in society. Every youth aims at becoming intellectually competent and technically skilled. But knowledge generation without value formation counts for little," President Mukherjee said.

"Education without values is like a flower without fragrance. Education has to impart values to the youth to make them sensitive to fellow human beings. It has to be a process that completes an individual in all respects," he added.

Recalling his days as a teacher, President Mukherjee said, "I know how satisfying it is for a teacher to give students the joy of learning; to make them appreciate, reflect and differentiate the strands of thinking; to make them worthy and willing to shoulder responsibility."

President Mukherjee said the faculty is the lifeblood of a university.

"They must continuously renew their understanding of the subject. They must be able to transfer knowledge to their students with dedication and commitment. They must act as friend and guide to the students, ever willing to counsel and show them how best they can gear themselves to face the world," President Mukherjee said.

"I take a moment here to compliment the entire academic fraternity of the Pondicherry University for their selfless labour at preparing the students to face the test of life," he added.

President Mukherjee said the central importance of higher education in a country's development is well recognized.

"If we are to grow as a nation, the education system has to figure prominently in the template of progress. There is a dearth of quality academic institutions to prepare our next generation. Indian universities are not counted amongst the top-ranked universities in the world," said President Mukherjee.

"If we peek into our past, we find our ancient education system dominating the world for about eighteen hundred years beginning Sixth Century BC. Let me remind you that Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri were the seats of world class universities. Let us together bring the changes required to make our present higher education system shine brightly once again," he added.

Asserting that we have to keep pace with change, President Mukherjee said it is gratifying to note that during the Twelfth Plan period, we have focused on expansion, equity, excellence, governance, funding and monitoring.

"These aspects have to be implemented in the right spirit for the higher education sector to see far-reaching changes. The academic curriculum has to be updated regularly. The assessment system has to be made more reliable and objective," he added.

President Mukherjee said science and technology have greatly influenced the course of human civilization.

"It holds the key to future economic growth and social development. Our universities have to create an environment supportive of innovation. Teaching and research are the two eyes of a University. While high standards in teaching have to be achieved, high quality research that will push knowledge frontiers and evolve technologies for development has to be promoted," President Mukherjee said.

"The quality of our research has to be comparable with the best in the world. Our researchers have to cooperate with one another to find solutions to critical problems. New products have to be designed that are useful to the common man," he added.

President Mukherjee further said our innovations have to create livelihood and improve the quality of life in rural areas.

"Local technological needs have to be addressed by our universities by creating research and development centres for such technologies in their campuses. Research campuses also have to be set up in rural areas to act as fountain heads for innovation and technology-led growth in these regions," he added.

Dignitaries present on the occasion were Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Virendra Kataria, Chief Minister of Puducherry, N Rangasamy, Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Prime Minister's Office, V. Narayanasamy, and Vice-chancellor of Pondicherry University, Prof. Chandra Krishnamurthy. (ANI)

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