New Delhi: Amid ongoing controversies in some universities, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday asked higher educational institutions to emphasise on inculcating core civilisational values of patriotism, compassion, honesty, tolerance and respect for women.
He was speaking at a function to honour Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Tezpur University for excellence in 'research' and 'innovation' and being the 'best university' respectively.
"To be a top higher educational institution requires one to adhere to a few basic pre-conditions. To my mind, the most critical amongst them are ensuring the quality of education and research, enhancing faculty standards and establishing collaborations and linkages with international as well as domestic organisations."
"The emphasis on academic excellence, as well as inculcating core civilisational values of patriotism, compassion, honesty, tolerance, performance of duty and respect for women as to be maintained all through," Mukherjee said.
The President presented the Visitor's Awards for research as well as innovation to Prof Rakesh Bhatnagar and the Molecular Parasitology Group of JNU respectively.
Besides, Tezpur University in Assam was given the annual Visitor's award for the best university. The President is the Visitor of central universities.
"These Awards should inspire and motivate the central universities and their academic communities to excel further. You all must work towards becoming temples of knowledge and learning," he said at the function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The awards for both research and innovation to the scientists of JNU is an indication of the depth of innovation, research and collaboration in this prestigious university, Mukherjee said.
The President said that Tezpur University confirms his belief that the higher education landscape in the north-eastern region is not only brimming with potential but is now realising it too.
"I have had the good fortune to visit a few institutes of higher learning in this region. And I can say with confidence that the more we harness the creativity of the North-East, the greater the benefit that we will be able to derive for the development of this region and the country," he said.
The awards were instituted at the Vice Chancellors' Conference in 2014 with the aim of promoting healthy competition among central universities and motivating them to adopt best practises from across the world.
Mukherjee said that after he assumed the office of the President he became the Visitor to over 100 central institutions of higher learning.
"I took some time to understand the role of the President as the Visitor. I also took time to grasp the status of higher education in our country. I found not a single Indian institution in the top 200 global rankings despite the potential that many institutions exhibited. It was the lack of focus and the absence of a methodological approach that denied this distinction to any of our institutions."
"My constant exhortation and persistence has now started bearing fruits. Good results have started to come in. Two Indian institutions figure for the first time in the list of the top 200 universities in the world published by one renowned international rating agency," he said.
In the ranking of small universities made by another reputed international agency, IIT Guwahati has been placed at the 12th position. This is a unique achievement and should inspire all our institutions including those set up in recent years, the President said.