India needs national leaders from the fields of science and engineering – PM

Report by Santanu Ganguly, Mumbai: “India today needs national leaders from the fields of science and engineering. Not just politics, sports and cinema” said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh delivering the Golden Jubilee Convocation address at IIT Bombay today.

Dr Singh said India still lags behind many other countries in terms of research and development and there is also a dearth of quality institutes of higher education. He said “this is precisely why our government has taken initiative to expand the opportunities for higher and technical education in India. He also stressed that the investments made on higher education must contribute directly to nation building. Dr Singh said IITs face an immediate challenge of making their curriculam more relevant to our needs

The Prime Minister said the National Mission on Education, using ICT has made significant contribution towards teaching methodology and educational technology. He said, a new Science and Engineering Research Board has been instituted which will financially support and promote basic and applied research.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for HRD Kapil Sibal said IITs have been Centres of Excellence and India is proud of their contributions. He however said the IITs are facing a critical shortage of quality faculty and most of the current faculty is ageing and nearing superannuation, which is affecting academic productivity.

On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee convocation the Degree of Doctor of Science – Honoris Causa was conferred upon noted industrialist Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro Ltd. A total of 2006 degrees, including 175 Ph.Ds were awarded at the convocation ceremony.

Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Chairman of the Boart of Governors IIT Bombay, Dr Anil Kakodkar and Institute Director Prof Devang Mehta were among those present.