Agartala, June 21 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Friday said e-education and maximum utilisation of talented teachers could improve higher education in India, where quality of education has deficient.
"Some out-of-the-box decision has to be taken to make available talented teachers. We have enough infrastructure in education, but huge shortage of teachers," Mukherjee said, addressing the fifth convocation of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Agartala.
He said: "Students and teachers must be the harbinger of change. We must use upgraded technological devices to achieve development."
Making a fervent appeal, the president said encouragement must be given to innovation, and grassroot innovators must be rewarded.
"Universities and higher educational institutions must be the nucleus of innovative activities and research works," the president said, adding that innovations in all sectors would boost development and the economy.
In his 24-minute extempore speech, Mukherjee said that currently 2.60 crore students are in the higher education sector in India. After the end of the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-13 to 2016-2017), this figure would increase to 3.60 crore.
The president, who gave away medals and certificates to two selected post-graduate students, appreciated the fact that 80 percent of the successful students of NIT, Agartala were girls.
Expressing his happiness over the rate of growth of the Indian economy, he said that till 1979, the average annual growth of the economy was 3.5 percent; now, it is 7.9 percent, much higher than many other countries, the president said.
He also expressed his deep agony over the growing atrocities on women and children in the country. "We must follow the values of our time-honoured ancient civilisation," he said.
The president said that youths must assimilate and make part of their daily life the nine essential civilisational values of love for motherland, performance of duty, compassion for all, tolerance for pluralism, respect for women, honesty in life, self-restraint in conduct, responsibility in action and discipline.
"Our ancient university system had dominated the world for eighteen hundred years, beginning sixth century BC," Mukherjee said, calling upon the universities of India to work hard so that India can return to the days of glory in higher education.
The president, on behalf of the NIT, Agartala, conferred honorary Doctor of Science degree (honoris causa) on Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director general of the Switzerland-based CERN, and Bikash Sinha, a scientist at that institute.
The president was the chief guest at the convocation, which was attended by Tripura Governor Devanand Konwar and Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, among others.
The NIT Agartala, which had turned into a national institute in 2006 from the erstwhile Tripura Engineering College, is ranked at 10th position among the 33 NITs in India, and has also been conferred the status of "Institute of National Importance" by the union ministry of human resource development.