Only 9.11 per cent of women and 12.45 per cent of men pursuing higher education in the country

In line with the Chief Minister’s Vision 2023 plan, efforts were being taken to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in the State from 18 to 25 per cent by the year 2025, though it being higher than the national average of 13 per cent, said Minister for Higher Education P. Palaniappan.

Addressing the 46th convocation of Madurai Kamaraj University here on Saturday, Mr. Palaniappan who is the Pro-Chancellor, said that Tamil Nadu government was taking concerted efforts to improve higher education. Some of the efforts in this direction were allocation of Rs.100 crore for infrastructure development in government colleges. The government had been taking initiatives to support autonomy in educational institutions. A sum of Rs.16.5 crore had been allocated to 10 universities to establish Curriculum Development Centre, Smart Classrooms, Foreign Language Laboratory, Entrepreneurship Training Centre and Skill Development Centre.

This year, 22 arts and science colleges, three engineering colleges and 10 polytechnic colleges were started. As many as 400 new courses had been started in 62 government colleges, 252 faculty members appointed, and an additional 1,062 appointments ordered.

India had a very old tradition of learning methods, the Minister said, quoting about Taxila University and how it remained a very important centre of learning several centuries ago.

Only 9.11 per cent of women and 12.45 per cent of men were pursuing higher education in the country. The teacher-student ratio in India was less compared to the United States of America, he said.

Governor and Chancellor K. Rosaiah gave away degree certificates to successful candidates and administered the pledge.

Delivering the convocation address, Mylswamy Annadurai, Project Director, ISRO, Satellite Centre, Bangalore, said that by receiving the degree the students should not assume that it signalled the end of education but as a starting point for earning more. Quoting profusely from old Tamil texts and literature, he said that team work was a very significant measure to achieve desired results in any field.

Most of the achievers in various fields hailed from very humble economic background and had most of their education in the regional language and in government schools and colleges. “The ultimate aim of education is to create a world for all to live and create responsible citizens.”

Speaking earlier, Kalyani Mathivanan, Vice-Chancellor, began her address quoting South African leader Nelson Mandela’s words: Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. She asked the students to equip themselves to emerge successfully against different and unexpected social and economic environments amid rapid changes taking place in the economic, social and political institutions. “The value systems are bound to challenge your own reference values and question your own system of thinking,” she said.

As many as 138 candidates received their Ph.Ds and 72 were presented with prizes and medals for their academic achievements. A total of 56,577 candidates who did their courses in various affiliated colleges and through distance education would be getting their degrees in absentia, and among them 31,208 would be women and 25,369 men.