President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday stressed the importance of holistic value-based higher education to tackle contemporary moral challenges.
Addressing the Twelfth Convocation of Rajiv Gandhi University here, the President announced that a meeting of all vice chancellors in the country would be convened in February to review progress in promoting value-based education.
The real yardstick of development, Mr. Mukherjee said, was not the number of factories, dams, roads and power houses built in the country, but people, their values and devotion to the nation’s spiritual and cultural heritage.
Educational institutions must inculcate the core values of love for the motherland, performance of duty, compassion, tolerance for pluralism, respect for women, honesty, self-reliance and responsibility in action and discipline, said Mr. Mukherjee.
The President regretted that India ceased to be the leading seat of higher education after having been the guiding light for well over 18 centuries from 6 BCE to 12 CE. He expressed shock that not one Indian body had been adjudged to be in the top 200 institutions in the world.
Mr. Mukherjee placed emphasis on quality and innovation in higher education and said mere physical enrolment could not spearhead development.
He observed that foreign students must be invited to come to India for higher learning as opposed to Indian students going abroad for studies.
The country had to take advantage of its geographical location and infrastructure and once again establish itself as a hub of international studies.
His advice to Arunachal Pradesh was to carry out inter-disciplinary research on natural-resource management to work out alternative growth models. The thrust had to be on border trade opportunities and integration of the North East economy with the national and global economies.
The President reiterated that Arunachal Pradesh was a crucial State in matters of external relations, particularly the Look East Foreign Policy.