New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Stressing the need to improve the quality of higher education, President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said many higher educational institutions were not within the practical reach of aspiring students.
"The density of educational institutions in India increased from 10 to 14 institutions per 1,000 sq km during the eleventh plan. But it is disheartening that many places do not have a higher educational institution that are within the practical reach of aspiring students," Mukherjee said while addressing the 90th convocation of Delhi University.
"To make education accessible to more students, efforts must be directed at bringing higher education closer to our population... particularly in remote corners of the country. We must remove the imbalances in the reach of higher education across states, regions and sections of society," he said.
Mukherjee added: "It is necessary to promote a culture of excellence in our universities. A beginning in this direction would be to identifying at least one centre in each of the universities. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and each university could join hands for creating such centres within one or two years."
"Out of the 260 lakh students who were enrolled at the under-graduate level and above in 2011-12, only one lakh or 0.4 per cent registered for Ph.D. Innovation has to be aggressively promoted by our institutes of higher learning, apart from research and development centres," the president said.
About central universities, he said that "close to 51 percent of posts of professor are lying vacant" in these universities.