Kolkata: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday called for imparting skills to India's large workforce through proper training and education.
Iterating that the nation's progress is contingent on the drive, motivation, initiative and energy of the youth, he said the demographic dividend of having the largest population of young people can be reaped only through education.
Mukherjee said India's workforce accounts for two-third of her population, and pointed out that the nation has the largest secondary education system in the world with total enrolment of over 10.7 crore.
"Yet, the gross enrolment ratio at the secondary education level is a mere 53 in India as compared to 96 in the US, 94 in South Africa and 89 in Russia and Mexico respectively," he said on the occasion of the closing ceremony of the 150th Anniversary of the Metropolitan Institution (Main) here.
The president pointed out that over two lakh meritorious students leave the country for pursuing higher studies in foreign universities and regretted that none of India's institutions are ranked in the top 200 positions by reputed international surveys.
"Yet, there was a time between 6th century BC and 12th century AD when scholars from around the globe used to flock to Indian seats of higher learning like Nalanda, Takshashila and Vikramshila."
Mukherjee said standards of education in the country must be improved and education made affordable for meritorious students from all backgrounds. There is also need to create a large pool of good quality and committed teachers who can be entrusted the responsibility of shaping the next generation.