To combat the shortage of trained manpower, the country needs to expand access to higher education and skill development using information technology tools, said A. Kalanidhi, vice-chairman, Commonwealth Science and Technology Academy for Research (C-STAR), here on Wednesday.

Delivering the Prof. Y. Nayudamma Memorial Lecture on the “Prospects of Technology Education in India,” Dr. Kalanidhi, former vice-chancellor of Anna University, Chennai, said India had sufficient manpower resources and talent. But large sections of society had been excluded from the ambit of higher education. “If sufficient importance is given to these aspects, in five years we can say that the sun does not set in India's HR Empire,” he said.

While the inclusion of private players in the sector had helped, there was also some “sluggishness” on the part of the policymakers. The use of information technology tools in teaching and skill training had largely been ignored even though India was globally recognised as an IT hub, he said.

Dr. Kalanidhi said he was shocked recently when the principal of an engineering college had said he did not have an email id.

“Vice-Chancellors are often chosen from this pool of principals. It is no wonder that over 70 per cent of them in the country are not IT-savvy. The other 30 per cent of the universities do not have vice-chancellors,” he quipped.

The Union government was now working on the restructuring of higher education in the country and at this juncture it would be useful to remember Dr. Nayudamma, who had shown vision in the moulding of science and technological research in the country, he said.

A.B. Mandal, director, Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), said the memorial lecture was being organised by the Nayudamma Science Foundation (NSF), CLRI, and the Nayudamma Memorial Science Foundation (NMSF), each year to honour the memory of the former CLRI Director and CSIR Director-general.

K.S. Jayaraman, retired scientist, CLRI, provided a brief profile of Dr. Nayudamma's achievements, and D. Chandramouli, scientist, CLRI, delivered the vote of thanks.