Educational institutions must strive to become centers of excellence: Vice President

The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon all educational institutions to work towards becoming centers of excellence providing quality, affordable, meaningful education to students.

Opining that upgrading the quality of higher education institutions was an essential component in realizing India’s demographic dividend, the Vice President asked educational institutions to interact and work with industry to build world class infrastructure to train students to compete in global job market. He also wanted them to attach more importance Knowledge and Skill while designing curriculum for students to train them to make professional with employable skills.

Addressing the gathering after presenting awards at the ‘Ranking of Engineering & Management Educational Institutes in India’ event hosted by Jagran Prakashan Group today, the Vice President said that providing high quality education must be a matter of sacred trust between a student and the institution as they would be joining these institutions with a hope for a better future.

Naidu asked educational institutions and their management to consider the fact that most of the students might not have enough resources to fund their education in costly professional institutions and might have taken loans. He also said that rankings must help students and their parents understand the complete detail about the institute, infrastructure and its academic and research potential.

Opining that the future of the country and our society was taking shape in youth’s dreams, Naidu stressed upon the need to train our youth and impart higher order skills in order to tap into the enormous human resource in them.

Talking about his interactions with the faculty members, students and youth since assume the office of Vice President, Naidu said that every such occasion had been an immensely enriching and a rewarding experience for him and the aspirational optimism among our young students was infectious.  It has been knowledge pilgrimage for me, he said.

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Talking about India’s growth story and its prospects, Naidu said that youth participation was an essential component in taking new strides. He stressed that addressing the problems such as the urban rural divide, hidden hunger, inequalities, and disparities at various levels was necessary to take the nation on an inclusive growth trajectory.  He also stressed the need to have a special focus on rural India by making agriculture more viable and profitable.

The CEO of Jagran New Media, Bharat Gupta, the Editor-in-Chief of Jagran New Media, Rajesh Upadhyay and representatives of more than 30 educational institutions, students were present at the event.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“मुझे हर्ष है कि मुझे उच्च तकनीकी शिक्षा की गुणवत्ता जैसे महत्वपूर्ण विषय पर आप सभी विद्वतजन के साथ अपनेविचार साझा करने का अवसर प्राप्त हुआ है। जागरण प्रकाशन द्वारा देश के तकनीकी और प्रबंधन शिक्षा संस्थानों काविभिन्न मानकों पर मूल्यांकन कर, उन्हें प्रकाशित किया गया है। देश में उच्च व्यावसायिक शिक्षा की गुणवत्ता परखनेऔर सुधारने की दिशा में यह अभिनंदनीय प्रयास है। इस समय कक्षा 12 के विद्यार्थी अपनी बोर्ड परीक्षा लिख रहे हैं। इनपरीक्षाओं के बाद उन्हें अपने भावी कैरियर का चुनाव करना होगा। ऐसे में जागरण प्रकाशन का यह प्रयास और भीप्रासंगिक बन जाता है। मैं विद्यार्थियों और उनके अभिभावकों को उन के उज्ज्वल भविष्य के लिए शुभकामनाएं देता हूं।

I am delighted to be amongst this august gathering of media and academia on this occasion of ranking the Engineering and Management educational institutions in India. I am happy that this event is being organised at an opportune time when students of Class 12th are writing their exams and will soon have to choose their career. I do believe that a fair majority of those in science streams will join these Engineering and management institutions with a hope of a gratifying and enriching professional career. It is our social obligation to provide them with quality professional education. I am told that around 13 lakh students are taking class 12th exams that are being conducted by CBSE alone. Then there are also the students affiliated with State Boards. I convey my best wishes to these students for their bright career.

These rankings will guide the students and their parents, to choose the institution that holds a promise for their future.  We should be mindful that most of the students may not have enough resources to fund their education in costly professional institutions and may have taken loans. They will be joining these institutions with a hope for a better future. Therefore providing quality education is a matter of sacred trust between a student and the institution.

Ever since I have assumed office, it has been my endeavour to engage with faculty members and students from educational institutions. I must say that every such occasion has been an immensely enriching and rewarding experience for me. The aspirational optimism among our young students is infectious. It fills me with hope and optimism about country’s bright future.

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I have always believed that the future of the country and our society is taking shape in their dreams.

As a society we need to respect the aspirations, aptitude and capabilities of our youth. We are fortunate that we have 65% of our population which is below 35 years of age. We need to realise this demographic dividend if we aim to sustain our high growth rate. We need to train our youth and impart higher order skills if we wish to tap into this enormous resource. We must upgrade the quality of our higher education institutions.  The ranking exercise helps to focus on different aspects of quality.

Friends,

Earlier, India was known as the Vishwa Guru. Our famous Universities of Taxila and Nalanda received scholars and researchers from around the world. Our achievements in abstract sciences and applied technologies were immense.

We have to take inspiration from the past and create institutions of excellence today. That’s the challenge before the education policy makers and education managers.  That’s the challenge before our academics and researchers.

Today, the technology is moving at an unprecedented pace.  We have to catch up with the 4th Industrial revolution. As we promote manufacturing sector, we have to adopt newer technologies like Artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing. We should be at the forefront of the knowledge revolution.

Keeping the demand of rapidly expanding economy for professional skilled manpower, we have expanded our professional education sector. What we need to ensure is the quality of higher education.

If we look at the current scenario, we become aware of the gross inadequacies in the system. A recent study has concluded that only 3% of our engineering graduates have knowledge of the new emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, Data science etc.  Only 1.7% engineers have skill sets required for new emerging jobs. Only 40% engineering graduates did single internships during their graduation and only 7% did more than one internship.

Young engineers had very little employable skills and practical knowledge. Greater emphasis is being given to the theoretical aspects.  Commenting on the faculty in the professional institutions, the report says that 60% of the faculty Members did not discuss the industrial applications of concepts as per emerging job requirements in the industry. It should be a matter of concern that our professional education is not aligned with the needs of globalised job market. Our professional graduates cannot afford to lose out in this 4th Industrial Revolution. It’s time we took note and worked towards a system that consistently delivers high quality learning.

A recent study jointly conducted by Stanford University and the World Bank, too found that learning outcome of our engineering graduates were poorer in comparison with Russian and Chinese engineering graduates.

Except for certain IITs and IISc, our institutions do not figure prominently in global rankings. Due to poor quality of educational infrastructure and faculty in several such institutions, students are not even enrolling even if the seats are lying vacant. Recently, AICTE has decided to shut down institutions that report less than 30% enrolment for 5 consecutive years. As such 800 such institutions are being shut down.

Even the Department related Parliamentary Committee on Human Resource Development has raised concern about the issues and challenges faced by higher education sector in the country. The Committee found that there was an acute shortage of highly qualified faculty in the professional institutions and it was true for both-public funded as well as private institutions. The Committee found that there was no effective mechanism for ensuring the accountability and performance of teachers in the universities and colleges. Such a mechanism is a well established norm in foreign universities where the performance of college professors/ teachers is evaluated by their peers and students.

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AICTE and other institutions should constantly review and align the curriculum, pedagogy and teaching methods of our professional courses in accordance with globally reputed institutions. Professionals must upgrade their knowledge and expertise by taking up periodic training in new technologies, participating in Seminars and workshops and taking up research and teaching assignments.

I have learnt that the Government has evolved an exhaustive National Institutional ranking Framework (NIRF) that evaluates an institution on parameters like Teacher, Learning resources; Research and Professional practice; Graduation outcome; Outreach and inclusivity and Peer perception. The performance on these broad parameters are further judged on the basis of 18 templates.

I am happy that the Government has decided to help 20 institutions to develop into global institutions. I hope that these institutions will learn from the best practices from abroad and adapt them to the Indian context.

Friends,

With around 7% growth rate, we are one of the world’s fastest emerging economies today.  In the next few years, we are likely to become a US $ 5 Trillion economy. India is emerging as one of the most promising Start up Hub. 44% of our 16000 Start ups are located in smaller towns. This indicates the inherent entrepreneurial culture and talent of our youth.

Friends,

To leverage our demographic dividend in global economy, to utilise emerging opportunities in knowledge based global economy, our professional institutions will have to impart the skills needed for the 21st century.

I hope that such Ratings of Engineering and management institutions, by the independent bodies on the basis of scientifically designed metrics through transparent survey and interactions with stakeholders and peers, will encourage the Institutes to improve their teaching and training infrastructure, faculty and learning outcomes.

The ultimate outcomes of such exercise are to be seen in the classrooms of our institutions as they move on the path towards excellence.

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