The education system in the present times is facing myriad of challenges in the form of access, affordability and quality. According to President Pranab Mukherjee the technology-led models can be the solution that we so desperately seek in education and skill delivery.
In his second convocation address at the Central University of Karnataka, about 650 km from Bengaluru Mr. Mukherjee said,” As about 400 million students are likely to seek education at different levels by 2016 and about 300 million youth have to be imparted skills by 2022, to my mind, technology-led models could offer a viable solution.” According to him, the world’s leading universities applied technology model to provide quality education to their students. In India the students come from diverse socio-economic background and location and therefore a rich course content and flexible programs could work well for the nation.
Mr. Mukherjee stated,” Interactive massive open online courses, which had come up in a big way since it was started in 2008, can power vocational training and improve delivery of skills knowledge.” He acknowledged that mobile phone technology can be a big asset in formal and vocational education and stressed that apart from imparting skill training the education content from the best institutes can be made available to students on mobile.
Mukherjee stated that,” Though e-platform cannot substitute classroom teaching, it can play a complementary role. ICT (information and communication technologies) tools like the national knowledge network (NKN) have to be used for collaboration of ideas, knowledge and academic resources.”
India, being a developing country, needs some innovative solutions to the issues like climate change, renewable energy, drinking water, sanitation and urbanization. Thus the research priorities of the universities across the nation must be aligned to solve these problems. According to Mr. Mukherjee,” Our universities have to be breeding grounds for creative pursuits and cutting edge technology. They have to inculcate scientific temper and a spirit of inquiry in their students. Research promotion at the under-graduate level could facilitate this objective.”
This institute was set up by the central government as one of the 16 universities in 2009 and caters to the students of the state’s northern districts that formed the part of the erstwhile Hyderabad-Karnataka region of the Nizam Kingdom. This region is considered quite backword in socio-economic development.
President further lamented the fact that the Indian institutions of higher learning lag behind in the international rankings. He insisted that these institutes must adopt a proactive approach to present their credentials better. The better would be the rankings of these institutes the higher would be the chances of boosting morale and job prospects of the students. It would also attract quality faculty and bright students.
Mr. Mukherjee said,” It is a matter of satisfaction that for the first time, two Indian Institutions have figured amongst the top 200 universities this year. I hope other institutes would follow suit. Nascent universities like yours through a sustained effort at better academic management can soon be in the reckoning.”
While advocating a flexible approach he said that world class education was feasible only with world class faculty. He admitted that faculty shortage and attracting meritorious students were two major challenges being faced by the state and central universities across the nation.
He further added,” Faculty development must be a top priority in our institutions. Theoretical framework of any discipline undergoes rapid change as new concepts emerge replacing older ones. With foresight and eagerness our teachers can stay abreast of the latest developments in their fields.” He stressed upon universities the importance of the adjunct faculty from the industry and research centres, as they are quite capable of providing an industry orientation in the higher education pedagogy.
He said,” Specialists from abroad could inject new ideas. The Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN) is a welcome step in this direction. “
The university has 1,200 students, nine schools, 16 departments and two post-graduation centres. The university waives off fees for the girl students from the economically weaker sections.
The president gave away post-graduate degrees and medallions to meritorious students in the presence of Governor Vajubhai R. Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries.