Bhopal: Stressing on the need for imparting quality education to the youth, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said quality upgradation is essential to meet the standards like ancient days when India used to dominate the world scenario in the realm of higher education.
"Our country remains as exciting a place to live in and grow with, as it was 58 years ago. India needs capable and committed graduates, more so now, to keep her firmly engaged with the future," he said during second convocation of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) here.
The youth of country is brimming with energy and aspiration.
"They have to be imparted quality education and requisite skills to beat competition and meet success," he said.
Mukherjee expressed concern over the present educational standards of country`s institutions.
"Many a times I have expressed my concerns on the standard of Indian universities compared to world standard.
"Wayback in September 2012, in the annual convocation of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, I had expressed my sense of dismay on seeing not a single Indian institution finding a place amongst the top 200 universities in the world in international rankings," he said.
Mukherjee said in ancient days India dominated world scenario in the realm of higher education.
"If we were to achieve it (top place) in past why can`t we achieve it now. We don`t have dearth of talents. Our students are bright," the President said.
Mukherjee said the cornerstone of quality upgradation is promotion of excellence in country`s academic institutions, with no leniency for mediocrity.
Highlighting over half of country`s young population of 25 years or less age, Mukherjee suggested imparting quality education to help them beat competition and work towards nation`s development.
He said education is an investment that can truly fashion a country?` prospects and shape its future generations.
"And if a country has over half its population aged 25 years or less, which is what India`s position is today, then the significance of a robust education system is undeniably strong," the President said.
Addressing the students, Mukherjee said "you are entrusted with the hopes and expectations of this nation.
"So, use your education to pursue your dreams. At the same time, serve the country; and what better way to serve, than to help the less fortunate realise their dreams, he said.
The President asked the students to always stay true to the knowledge they have gained and uphold the values from their alma mater.
"Dream about the endless possibilities for the future; act on those dreams, and help change the world," he told the graduating students.
"Teaching must be made a more challenging and gratifying profession to attract bright people.
"Faculty development must be continual given the dynamic nature of conceptual understanding in various disciplines," he said.
The President said that greater internationalisation of the academic community must be attempted through innovative models of faculty and student exchange, visiting chairs and short-term projects.
"The advances in information communication technology must be employed for intellectual collaboration, sharing of lectures and dispersal of ideas and best practices.
"The governance structure of institutions must facilitate smooth decision-making. It must draw wider expertise, including industry experts and prominent alumni," he said.
The industry-academia linkages in activities like joint research and commissioning of chairs and endowments must be strengthened through institutional mechanisms, said Mukherjee.
Asserting that science education and research, technology and innovation are crucial underpinnings of progress, the President said there is an apparent neglect of scientific research in our education system.
"This does not augur well for our future growth, which will arise not so much from the utilisation of our resources with existing technology than from its better usage through more advanced technology," he said.
During the programme, the President awarded gold medal to Sai Puneet Desai for his best academic performance.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan among others were present during the function.