India should once again become Vishwa Guru and hub of innovation and knowledge: Vice President

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New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today called upon for making India Vishwa Guru and the hub of innovation and knowledge once again. “There was a time when India was known as the Vishwa Guru and students from distant countries came for education here”, he said adding that steps must be taken to bring back that past glory. Shri Naidu also stressed the need to reorient the modern education system to make it suitable to the 21st-century requirements.

Speaking at the first convocation of SRM University, Delhi NCR, in New Delhi today, the Vice President asked the youth to become agents of change and come out with innovative and sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by mankind. The youth should strive to build a New India, which was free of poverty, illiteracy, fear, corruption, hunger and discrimination, he said and urged them to play a key role in addressing important issues such as climate change and degradation of natural resources.

Expressing concern over the ill-effects of global warming and climate change, the Vice President stressed the need to avoid reckless exploitation of nature and excessive consumption.

“Sustainability has to be the new mantra. ‘Balance’ is at the heart of sustainability. And that ‘balance’ in all spheres starting with physical well – being is what yoga is all about,” he said.

The Vice President asked the younger generation to embrace nature and learn to live with it, without spoiling it. “We are only trustees of this planet and we must pass it on to future generations in all its pristine and natural splendor,” he added.

Cautioning the youth to be aware of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Vice President opined that there was an urgent need to promote healthy lifestyles and food habits to combat the incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country. The Vice President advised the youth to take an active part in games and sports to stay fit and healthy.

In this aspect, he lauded the Fit India campaign initiated by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and said that such campaigns must take the form of national movements involving everybody, especially youngsters. ‘Fit India is apt, timely and most needed,’ he added.

The Vice President said that integration of India’s traditional knowledge base and modern educational system was important to provide a holistic education. He said that the education system rooted in ethics and Indian values was the need of the hour, especially at a time when India was making progress towards building a knowledge-based society.

Shri Naidu further stated that students must be made aware of the great heritage, culture, and traditions of our country, and that they must learn to treat fellow human beings with respect. The Vice President stressed that education must help them to transform into responsible human beings.

“Apart from remoulding the syllabi and pedagogy, the stress should be on learning-by-doing,” he said.

The Vice President suggested a complete overhaul of the higher education system to transform Universities and colleges into centers of excellence. He wanted higher educational institutions to embrace advancements in technology, change teaching methods according to the needs of the modern requirements and create an environment for innovation to thrive.

Observing that India’s quest to make it a global knowledge hub would be meaningless if it fails to provide the necessary infrastructure for quality higher education in rural areas, the Vice President wanted the government and the private sector to come together work towards bridging the urban-rural divide in higher education and skilling by providing affordable education.

Here, the Vice President advised them to make good use of the increased internet penetration in rural areas and empower rural youth to stand on their own feet.

Following is the text of the Vice President’s address-

I am very happy to deliver the First Convocation Address of SRM University Delhi-NCR.

I congratulate the Founder Chancellor, Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, distinguished members of the board, faculty, staff, and students on having built a good reputation for SRM as a premier technology institute within a very short period.

It is a momentous occasion for this University, its faculty and staff members, family members of the students and most of all for the students who are graduating today.

We are gathered here to celebrate the successful completion of the challenge taken up by the students. I congratulate all students who are receiving their degrees today!

Dear students,

The primary goal of education is to impart knowledge and develop the student into an enlightened individual. Education is not only for employment but for empowerment. It is the responsibility of a university to shape the intellect of the young minds that will one day steer the country towards progress and prosperity.

Access to quality education for all and at all levels is equally essential to ensure inclusive growth and prevent any kind of discrimination.

Time has come for India to once again emerge as the global knowledge hub. For that to happen, the seats of learning, especially the universities, must reinvent themselves as hubs of vibrant intellectual pursuit and as centres of resolute research and innovation

It is important to provide quality higher education that will not only increase the knowledge of the students but also enhance their skills so that when they graduate they become productive members of the society.

Always strive to gain knowledge, embrace technology, and adopt yourselves to the changing global economic and technological scenarios.

Education is central to progress and development. It is a lifelong journey to gain knowledge and attain enlightenment. Real education must enhance the dignity of a human being and empower the students to become responsible citizens.

Promoting social cohesion, brotherhood, compassion, caring for elders and the needy must become the sheet anchor of education. Our education systems should be in line with India’s belief in “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”

Such well thought out, forward-looking, value-based education system is the need of the hour.

We need to reorient the modern education system to make it suitable to the 21st-century requirements.

Ancient India has always had the tradition of holding knowledge in high regard and had built many centers of learning akin to modern-day universities for sharing knowledge.

As you all are aware, the Government of India has put out the draft educational policy in the public for suggestions to provide a holistic education. I urge upon the teachers, educationists, and others to go through it and make their valuable suggestions.

Apart from instilling the spirit of inquiry and quest for knowledge, education system must enable students to become creative and innovative. It must build in confidence in them to take on challenges posed by the competitive world.

Educational institutions must incorporate skilling in their academic planning and allot adequate time and resources. One must remember that a degree without skills has no place in the technology-dependent world.

Dear Students,

As you all are aware, higher education has a significant role in shaping up the future socio-economic structure of the country. A robust, quality professional education is essential to fasten a country’s path towards growth and development.

Delivering quality higher education is one of the major challenges India is facing today.

Estimates suggest that our higher education system is the world’s third-largest in terms of students, next to China and the United States and Very soon, India would be one of the largest education hubs and learning destinations in the world.

Today India needs a world-class higher education system, a mission that is of paramount importance, especially in the light of the burgeoning youth population in the country.

India has one of the youngest populations in the world and the window of demographic dividend opportunity is available for five decades from 2005-06 to 2055-56, longer than any other country in the world.

As per HRD Ministry’s All India Survey for Higher Education (AISHE) report 2018, India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher education in India is 26.3%,

The University Grants Commission has set a target to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 30 percent by 2020 and the draft education policy aims to increase GER to 50% by 2035 from the current level.

We need to bring in significant changes in the higher education system to ensure 50% enrolment ratio in our institutions.

Many factors including the unequal spread of private and public educational institutions, lack of adequate funding for research facilities premier institutions contributed to this low enrollment ratio in many institutions.

As per the recent study published by the Ernst & Young, India is reported to have 140 million young college-goers before 2030. Given the massive number, we as a nation must pursue structural and systemic changes in the education system, to produce better results especially in the field of higher education.

Our quest to make India a global knowledge hub would be meaningless if we fail to provide the necessary infrastructure for quality higher education in rural areas. Increased internet penetration, rise in reach of Information to rural areas provides a great opportunity to bridge the urban-rural divide in higher education and skilling.

Universities or higher educational institutions such as yours must become centers of excellence and create an environment for innovation to thrive.

A complete overhaul of the higher education system is needed to inculcate values, morals and ethics in students. The New Education Policy should focus on the need to draft history with an Indian perspective. Similarly, various aspects of Indian culture, heritage, traditions and customs must also become part of the text-books.

Dear students, you are the future of this nation. It is important for you to inculcate Indian values, understand the great heritage, culture and traditions of our country. You must also learn to treat fellow human beings with respect.

Education must transform an individual into a responsible human being with social, moral and ethical values instilled in him or her, apart from making the person more productive.

Apart from remolding the syllabi and pedagogy, the stress should be on learning-by-doing.

Preserving India’s traditional knowledge base and integrating it with modern educational system is important as we rapidly advance towards building a knowledge-based society.

Everybody must strive to build a New India, which is free of poverty, illiteracy, fear, corruption, hunger and discrimination.

My dear youngsters,

It is a matter of great concern that India is witnessing an epidemiological transition.

Non-communicable diseases are on the increase.

In a 2017 report of India Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it has been observed that the disease burden due to communicable, diseases, dropped from 61 per cent to 33 per cent between 1990 and 2016 and in the same period, disease burden from non-communicable diseases increased from 30 per cent to 55 per cent.

This is a deeply disturbing trend and we must arrest this by educating the youth on the ill effects of the changing lifestyles and food habits.

There is a need to promote healthy lifestyles and combat growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in the country.

We need to avoid reckless exploitation of nature and excessive consumption. Sustainability has to be the new mantra. ‘Balance’ is at the heart of sustainability. And that ‘balance’ in all spheres starting with physical well – being is what yoga is all about.

You must take active part in games and sports to stay fit and healthy. Sports plays an important role in terms of individual development, community development, social inclusiveness and economic development.

I advise everyone, particularly the youngsters to say no to junk food which is causing harm to their health and affecting quality of life. Fit India call given by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi should become a national movement. ‘Fit India is apt, timely and most needed’.

Dear students, all of must become agents of change. You must find solutions to pressing problems such as climate change.

India is a key player in the world in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.

India should show the way to the rest of the world in addressing the challenges of climate change by coming out with innovative and sustainable solutions. You must embrace nature and learn to live with it, without spoiling it. We are only trustees of this planet and we must pass it on to future generations in all its pristine and natural splendour.

I was delighted to know that research scholars and faculty members of this university have taken the initiative to find solutions for diseases.

I appreciate the management and faculty for organizing medical check-ups for the poor and the needy of the nearby area.

All of you have been fortunate to be a part of this wonderful institution. Dear students, a world of opportunity awaits you but you must carry your learning with humility and use it in service of society and nation which will be the true test of learning.

Best wishes to you.

Jai Hind!”