It is well behind compared to United States and Germany, says President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday called for increasing substantially the gross enrolment ratio of students in higher education.

Addressing the first convocation of the Chennai-headquartered Indian Maritime University (IMU), Mr. Mukherjee said there had been a phenomenal expansion of physical infrastructure of higher education with over 735 universities and 37,000 colleges. Yet, the enrolment ratio of students in higher education in India was well behind that of countries such as United States and Germany.

On the potential of shipping industry, the President pointed out that only about 10 per cent of the country’s trade was carried out through Indian ships.

Global seafarers

The country’s share of global seafarers was only 6 per cent.

The ships manufactured domestically carried even less cargo. “If India is to emerge as a major economic power in future, it would require substantial stepping up in the out-turn of quality maritime personnel and addition to our ship-building capacity.”

Tracing the country’s long maritime history, the President referred to the establishment of the IMU in 2008, which, he said, was the youngest of the Central Universities.

Teething problems

Acknowledging that the university had faced several teething problems, he said there had been a “high rate of turnover” of faculty and administrative staff over the last five years and many of the faculty positions were yet to be filled up. However, he was confident that the IMU had a “bright future” ahead and it should aspire to become a Centre of Excellence in the medium term.

Mr. Mukherjee presented gold medals and certificates to 10 students – Ruthu Shree Ragavan; Shalini Jayadev; Radha Krishnan R; Ghanshyam Dhakar; Subhajeet Sarkar; Geyas Ahmed; Anupam Suraj; Gadgil Ashwin Amol; Subodh Kumar and Ankush Kumar Gupta.

Participating in the convocation, G.K. Vasan, Union Minister for Shipping, said the government had planned to open campuses of the university in all maritime States including Karnataka, Goa and Odisha.

He urged the university to attract more students to pursue studies in maritime field.

K. Ashok Vardhan Shetty, Vice-Chancellor of the IMU, said 1,339 candidates from the 2009-2010 batch till October 2013 were awarded undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees and PG diplomas. Of them, School of Marine Engineering accounted for 619 students; Maritime Management - 309; Nautical Sciences – 302; Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering – 99 and Maritime Laws – 10.

Regretting the delay in holding the first convocation, he said the University would become a Centre of Excellence in 10 years.

V. Krishnamurthy, Chancellor of the IMU, and K. Rosaiah, Governor, took part in the convocation.

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