President stresses on improving India's higher education
Haridwar (U'khand): Despite its achievements in education sector, India lags behind countries like China and the US when it comes to research and innovation and there is a need to upgrade the standard of the higher education in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday.
"Our country is fast becoming a great economic power. In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), we are the third largest economy in the world. The growth rate that our country enjoys is second only to China among the major economies.
In six out of the last nine years, we managed a growth rate in excess of eight per cent," Mukherjee said here while addressing the convocation ceremony of the Dev Sanskriti Vishwa Vidyalaya here.
"Though the growth rate had slightly contracted since 2010-11 in the face of global economic meltdown, India has been able to withstand the crisis and has shown a remarkable resilience. It is the growth of education in India that is one of the key factors responsible for India’s resilience," he added.
The President, however, added that notwithstanding the achievements, the country needs to upgrade the standard of higher education.
"The country lacks behind in terms of research and innovation. The total number of patent applications filed by Indians in 2010 was close to only 6,000, which pales in comparison to over 3 lakh applications filed by Chinese, around 1.7 lakh filed by German, 4.64 lakh filed by Japanese, and 4.2 lakh filed by Americans. The number of applications for patent filed by Indians comprised only 0.30 per cent of the total applications filed in the world," he said.
Research is a finer product of education leading to innovation, technological advancement and process perfection, which are responsible for shifting the production frontiers and creating greater capacity for future growth, he said.
Mukherjee said flexible education models such as Open and Distance Learning should receive more encouragement to increase the reach of education in the country.
He said that though enrolment in such programmes has increased from around 27 lakh in 2006-07 to 42 lakh in 2011-12, a lot needs to be done in this area.
"Use of information technology and innovative methodology can usher in new vistas and provide increased coverage through opportunities that distance learning affords to those requiring flexible learning options," Mukherjee said.
It is indisputable fact that education through which we build intellectual capital is of singular importance to any individual, society or nation, he said.
He said that in the field of higher education, India has 659 degree awarding institutions and 33,023 colleges. At the end of the 11th Five Year Plan period, there were a total of 152 Central Institutions that award higher degrees.
"The number of such Institutions has increased by 65 during the 11th Plan period of 2007 to 2012. This has indeed contributed towards increasing productivity of our work force," Mukherjee said.
"The IITs and the IIMs have created benchmark in technical and management education in the country and are held in high esteem abroad. It is, thus, heartening to note the number of IITs has increased from seven in 2006-07 to 15 in 2011-12, and the number of IIMs has increased from six to 13 over this period," he added.
Mukherjee said the total number of degree awarding institutions -- central, state and private -- has increased by 272 during the 11th Plan period.
Evidently, the enrolment to higher education institutions in the country has also increased, from 1.39 crore in 2006-07 to 2.18 crore in 2011-12, he added.
In his speech, Mukherjee also stressed on the need for value-based education. Education adds value to a person, and value-based education equips us to our society, he said.