President urges students to focus on research works

Wednesday

President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said India is lagging behind in research and innovation and cited a 2011 survey according to which not a single IIT in India tops the list of the premier institutes in the survey.

At a programme held at Suri Vidyasagar College where he once studied, Mukherjee said in India only one lakh PhD students pass every year while in 2010-11 around 2.18 crore students completed their graduation and post-graduation but they are never willing to study further. "There are eight IITs in India, but the number of students passing from these institutes and engaging themselves in research work and innovation is very less," he added.

He also said that educational institutes need to upgrade the standard of education imparted to the students. "Universities need to develop scientific temperament among students and a curriculum that will encourage the growth of research and innovation," he said.

The President said that to provide greater access to quality higher education to more students, financial assistance offered must increasingly offer a mix of scholarships, education loans and self-help plans such as 'earn while you learn' schemes. Increasing the reach of education in the country, flexible models such as "open", and "distance" learning are far-reaching initiatives and should be encouraged and supported, he added.

At the inauguration of the centenary celebration of the awarding of Nobel prize to Rabindranath Tagore, which will kickstart with the international seminar on the poet, Mukherjee expressed his dissatisfaction over people's attitude towards life.

He said, "In present circumstances, we suffer from calamity of obscurity and thus, we missed the opportunity of offering hospitality to humanity."

"The spirit of India always proclaimed the ideal of unity and the ideal of unity never rejects anything, any race or any culture, he added.

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