New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu said today that the youth of our nation must shoulder the greater social responsibility of exercising judgement in looking at social issues. He urged them to adhere to the traditions of tolerance and respect and protect our pluralistic culture.
He was addressing the 68th convocation of Panjab University of which he is the Chancellor, in Chandigarhtoday. Shri. Naidu said that Panjab University had a glorious past and is one of the oldest universities in India, set in a land which has witnessed centuries of civilisation & dedication to spreading knowledge in ancient centres of learning like Takshila.
He expressed his happiness at the University’s relentless quest for academic excellence and the rapid progress it has made in providing quality education to its 15000 students enrolled in about 200 affiliated colleges, 3 regional centers, 6 constituent colleges and one rural center.
The Vice President congratulated Panjab University for having secured the 34th position among all academic institutions in the nation, in the recent rankings under the National Institutional Ranking Framework. He also applauded the University’s focused efforts towards cultivating innovation and entrepreneurship among students. ‘I am very happy that the University has been recognized by the UGC as the “University with potential for excellence in Biomedical Sciences” with facilities for stem cell Research and Drug development’, he added.
The Vice President opined that Institution building is not an easy task and added that it requires vision, passion, competence, commitment, dedicated hard work and the ability to tap into the infinite potential within individuals and a network of institutions. He urged all stake holders of the Panjab University to keep up the momentum of their good work and not let complacency set in.
Shri. Naidu affirmed that India of the future would be powered by the dreams and ambitions, the character and competence of young people. He stated that we will be able to fully realize the vast demographic dividend in the years to come only if we can empower our youth with the right skills and attitudes.
The Vice President proposed that we must rethink and re-orient our educational system in the context of the twenty first century when the concerns of ecology, of human welfare and the welfare of the planet are equally imperative. ‘It is possible only if we turn our system around, including aspects of curriculum and evaluation, towards critical thinking’, he said.
Observing that access to higher education has been improved considerably in our country, Shri. Naidu said that we have to focus upon raising the quality of education and ensuring that we offer the best possible education to our young people.
The Vice President suggested that we have to have institutions which are continuously nourished by five important streams of “inquisitiveness”, “innovation”, ethos that inspire “inspiration”, “integration” which encourages inter-disciplinary and collaborative learning and an “internalized value system”, just like Panjab which is irrigated by 5 rivers
Shri Naidu also urged the youth of the nation to use the means of communication that technology has provided, responsibly. He emphasized that these modern means of communication must be used to facilitate social harmony and to cultivate a culture of healthy and civilized discussion on many of the pressing problems such as class and gender inequalities and the needs of the less privileged in society. ‘We need to address these problems with empathy and sincerity’, he added.
The Vice President also extended felicitations to Dr. K. Sivan, the Chairman of ISRO and one of our country’s foremost space scientists who was being honored by Panjab University with the Vigyan Ratna Award. ‘Dr. Sivan’s outstanding work is an eloquent testimony of India’s extraordinary capability in space science and technology’, he said.
Shri V.P. Singh Badnore, Hon’ble Governor of Punjab, Prof. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University, Prof. Shankarji Jha, Dean of University Instruction, Prof. Karamjeet Singh, Registrar, Panjab University and others were also present at the occasion.