President urges IITs to attract students for post graduate studies

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday pressed upon the IITs to devise strategies to attract under- graduate students towards post graduate programmes and research activities, saying lack of enthusiasm to pursue higher studies does not auger well for the country.

"IITs have so far not been very successful in attracting undergraduate students to post graduate education and research. IIT should devise some strategy to attract under graduate to post graduate programmes," he said while addressing the 44th convocation of IIT-Delhi.

"I understand that very few IIT graduates are pursuing specialised education leading to PhD or higher degrees. In the long term, this will deprive the country of talented specialised personnel who are most important assets in a knowledge economy," he said.

The President said as against the student strength of 71,000 in National Institute of Technology (NITs), there are about 4,000 PhD students. Similarly, in IITs, as against the strength of 60,000 students, there are around 3,000 PhD students.

"This indicates that bright students are moving away from research and innovation. This does not speak well for our research facilities," he said.

Asserting that the present day economy is knowledge- driven, he said IIT-Delhi needs to take a giant leap as a contributor of knowledge. This can happen only by further strengthening and enhancing post graduate education and research in IITs, he said.

India is also far behind in creation of intangible assets and creation of ownership. Hence, the time has come to recover this trend through research in frontier areas of technology, engineering and science, Mukherjee said.

As IIT system has seen an increase of new institutes and increase in number of seats, he asked the established and old IITs to provide the same kind of support and hand-holding to the new IITs which they received when they were set up by friendly countries.

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