Universities should be enablers of society: Pranab
Mumbai: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday called upon all universities to reinvent themselves to deliver relevant knowledge and actionable skills.
"Universities will need to reinvent themselves as enablers of society rather than gatekeepers of higher education. The youth of our nation should be empowered to take our great nation forward in leaps and bounds," Mukherjee said, addressing the annual convocation of the 154-year-old University of Mumbai.
Mukherjee also highlighted the role played by technology in education and appreciated the Mumbai university for introducing "far-reaching changes in its examination technology through bar coding and use of communication technology to improve processes".
"In the age of smart phones and tablet computers, ideas now travel at the speed of thought. It is important for us to remain up to date with what is happening in the world," he observed, calling upon the teaching fraternity to re-learn, re-engage and re-train themselves for the immediate future.
Mukherjee also complimented the university for its initiative in establishing the Centre of Nano-Technology and said more and more such initiatives are needed for creating space for new thinking.
Mukherjee, however, underlined the need for the Maharashtra government to become more pro-active in finding ways and means to enable greater funding and partnerships with industry houses, other universities and central government bodies.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was also present at the occasion said that "challenge of quantity has been adequately addressed", and that it is now time to focus on improving quality of education further. He pledged his government's support for the new initiatives of the university.
Mukherjee, along with Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan and Chavan, later presented gold medals to 51 students from different departments for academic achievements.
Vice Chancellor of the university Prof. Rajan Welukar presented a detailed report about new initiatives and activities of the university, covering infrastructure development, academic and extra-curricular activities.
Mumbai university has over 667 affiliated colleges and institutions and 6.5 lakh students on its rolls.