President calls for innovative changes in academic system

President Pranab Mukherjee said innovative changes were needed to make the country`s academic setup globally competitive.

Bhubanewar: Pitching for a more flexible, transparent and student friendly educational system, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said innovative changes were needed to make the country`s academic setup globally competitive.

"Academic regulations must be streamlined to create a more flexible, transparent and student friendly educational system," Mukherjee said while addressing the IIT-Bhubaneswar convocation programme.

"Improvement of 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 among universities must be infused."

Mukherjee said the only way to take India into the league of leading nations is by producing highly capable engineers, scientists, doctors, academicians and other intellectuals.

He also said that it is the "bounden duty" of all universities and engineering institutes to put research at the forefront of their curriculum and lauded IIT-Bhubaneswar`s efforts in this direction.

As many as 129 students are enrolled in PhD programmes in the pursuit of cutting edge results in various fields, Mukherjee said.

"It has also bagged 13 industrial consultancy projects," he added.

The President, however, expressed anguish that due to lack of quality, very few academic institutions can claim global reckoning and there is not a single Indian university or IIT among the top 200 as per international ranking.

Leading universities of the West and universities in countries like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are ranked higher than any Indian institutions, Mukherjee lamented.

"In the past for about eighteen hundred years beginning sixth century BC, we had an unbeatable higher education system... But today we languished behind many nations," he said.

The President had earlier also expressed anguish over no institute from India finding a place among the top in the world and emphasised on creating a conducive climate to foster excellence in Indian universities.

Noting that innovation is an important "cog" in the wheel of development, Mukherjee said that a science, technology and innovation policy has been adopted this year to push the innovation frontiers and the mantle to make this policy successful "and unleash our inventiveness lies in our higher academic institutions".

He lauded the institute for seeking global academic cooperation through faculty exchange programmes with renowned universities in the USA, UK and Canada.
IIT-Bhubaneswar is one of the eight new IITs established during the 11th Plan Period.

"Its educational philosophy -- integration of academic through rather than creation of regimental disciplines is laudable," the President said.


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