New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday called for a serious discourse on how to address the quality concerns in higher education should begin at the earliest.
"The quality of education has a direct co-relation with inclusive growth and development. Emerging economies facing the challenge of meeting the developmental aspirations of their citizens must build an educational system comparable to the best in the world. A serious discourse on how to address the quality concerns in higher education should, therefore, begin at the earliest," he said.
Addressing delegates of Times Higher Education 'BRICS and Emerging Economies' Universities" Summit here, the President said the higher education sector in India must align itself with the global education sector, adding that a world-class university in today's time is one that can address the global problems of society having the entire world as its constituency.
"The first University Commission of independent India, popularly known as the Radhakrishnan Commission of 1948, pointed out that universities need to have 'world-mindedness and national sentiments'. In the recent times, there has been a growing interest in world-class universities amongst scholars, institutional administrators and policy makers," he added.
Most bench-marking agencies give considerable weightage to research output and international outlook of an educational institution, he said, adding that to meet bench-marks, institutions need to provide greater emphasis on quality research that is recognised globally, which would help in their efforts to become world-class.
Over and above a focused attention on cutting-edge research and an international orientation, world-class universities must possess other enviable features, he said.
"Some of them are high quality faculty members, meritorious students, an encouraging teaching learning environment, a high level of resource availability, sound infrastructure, and existence of considerable autonomy and robust governance structure. Presence of these elements in an institution would automatically reflect in higher international rankings," he added.
He also expressed his happiness over ranking of two Indian institutions amongst the top 200 universities in the world - one of the institutions is in the top 100 institutions in the engineering and technology category.
"It is my firm belief that there are many higher education institutions in India that have the potential to become one of the best in the world," he said.
He, however, added that the parameters of global rankings, many a times, do not reflect the ground realities and socio-political conditions prevalent in various countries.