Kurukshetra (Har): President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday called for "drastic action" to reform the way education is being imparted in universities and institutes of higher learning in the country.
"Our institutes of higher education continue to be challenged by problems of quality. An international survey indicated that there is not a single Indian university amongst the top 200 universities in the world. This calls for drastic action to reform the way education is imparted in our universities and academic institutes," Mukherjee said while addressing the 10th convocation of National Institute of Technology at Kurukshetra.
He said quality, affordability, and accessibility should become the mainstay of the country`s higher education system.
"We must take higher education, including technical education, to the doorstep of our people by innovations in the delivery system," Mukherjee said.
Expressing concerns over the shortage of faculty across all types of institutes of higher education, the President said existing vacancies should be filled up "quickly".
He also asked teachers to update themselves with the latest information in their respective academic fields.
"Our universities and institutes must encourage and facilitate their teachers participation in international seminars, refreshers courses and project work," Mukherjee said.
Lamenting that the country was lagging far behind in the field of innovation, Mukherjee said, "India`s innovation balance sheet is not very encouraging. In 2011, 42,000 patents were filed in our country, compared to over five lakh applications filed each in China and the US in the same year."
As per a recent Forbes survey, only three Indian companies have been listed amongst the world`s most innovative companies, he said, adding the number will increase if the process of innovation is made a permanent feature in our institutions of learning.
"Our universities, engineering colleges and research and development centres should be the hotbed of innovations," Mukherjee said.
"Talent in academic and research positions in our institutions are difficult to retain due to lack of adequate flexibility in our system. Our system must be geared to discourage any loss of intellectual capital and at the same time welcome overseas scholars including NRIs and Persons of Indian origin to return to the country," the President said.
Such an initiative will enable transmission of ideas and new methods of teaching and research from abroad to India.
"Academia-industry linkages must be strengthened to include industry`s perspective in research and to drive market benefits from innovations," he added.