Sonipat (Haryana), March 21 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said the capacity to innovate in India was discouraging in comparison to other nations.
Making a fervent appeal for innovation, Mukherjee, who was in Haryana to inaugurate a global conference on the future of Indian universities, said: "So far, India's performance indicators in the capacity to innovate are discouraging in comparison to India's major competitors."
He said the progress of nations is determined by their capacity to innovate.
Inaugurating an international conference on 'The Future of Indian Universities: Comparative Perspectives on Higher Education Reforms for a Knowledge Society' at O.P. Jindal Global University near Sonipat, Mukherjee said varsities and research centres should become fertile grounds for innovation.
The president suggested setting up of industry incubation parks, enhancing the coverage of research students by fellowships, promoting inter-disciplinary research through inter-university and intra-university collaboration and empowering the centres of excellence.
Mukherjee stressed the need to involve Indian scholars working overseas for important research and teaching positions as short-term assignments in Indian universities.
"This would facilitate dissemination of knowledge and cross-fertilization of ideas," he said and also stressed the need for equipping the universities to encourage grass root innovators and ask them to play the role of mentor.
He stressed the urgent need to raise the quality of teaching, faculty and research in the universities of the country.
Taking a serious note of the fact that none of the Indian universities were among the top 200 universities in the world, the president called for serious introspection and added that "it is not at all acceptable".
He asked the ministry of human resource development, University Grants Commission and the universities to work together in achieving qualitative improvement in the educational system so as to make it as good as the best in the world.
Mukherjee called upon the private sector to play a larger role in the education system and replicate its success in several key sectors like health, transport and financial services.
He said India has a young population and the demographic profile of the country could be a boon. He also said it would be a boon if their potential was harnessed, failing which it could lead to "terrible and negative consequences".