Jayalalithaa heaps praise on Higher Education Department
The Higher Education sector in Tamil Nadu is moving at an accelerated pace to meet the demands of the century in terms of research and development, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said here on Saturday.
Delivering the convocation address at the University of Madras, which held its 155 convocation, she said her government’s mission was to promote human resource development through institutions that produced high quality professionals so that the State would become a global hub for university education.
Citing an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “If you are thinking one year ahead, plant rice, if you are thinking ten years ahead, plant trees, and if you are thinking 100 years ahead, educate the people,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said her government had done all three. She was committed to providing good governance and to implementing lasting reforms.
The University of Madras, she recalled, had produced two Nobel laureates – C.V Raman and S. Chandrasekar – and two Presidents of India – Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam -- and has well lived up to its ideals. She listed the various initiatives taken by the Higher Education department ranging from upgrading infrastructure facilities in universities to promoting sharing of academic experiences by inviting professors from foreign universities.
“We must direct our energies towards developing our universities to meet global benchmarks. Universities should be prime movers of change,” she said. Learning should be a two-way process that should involve the intellect and heart of the student and the faculty.
In all, this year, 980 students were awarded PhD degrees, 107 of them got ranks and gold medals, while 71 were given prizes. The university had organised the convocation function after more than two years, because of which, there were almost double the number of candidates who were given degrees.
While the rank holders were called on the stage, others were conferred their degrees on their seats.
University of Madras Vice-Chancellor R. Thandavan presented the achievements of the university’s students in the last two years.
The Chief Minister unveiled the 150th year commemorative arch at the University and initiated the planting of 25,000 saplings on the campus.
All Ministers, including the Minister for Higher Education P.Palaniappan, participated in the event.