President Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said India needs to regain its "space" as an education power so that it becomes a "magnet for the finest minds".
Addressing the nation on the eve of 67th Independence Day, Mukherjee said: "History records that we were the cynosure of the world once."
"Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri comprised the ancient university system that dominated the world for eighteen hundred years beginning Sixth Century BC."
"They were a magnet for the finest minds and scholars in the world. We must seek to regain that space," he said.
Bemoaning the lack of world-class universities in the country, the president said: "A re-ordering of the society can be brought about through the educational system. We cannot aspire to be a world class power without a single world class university."
"A university is the banyan tree whose roots lie in basic education, in a vast network of schools that build the intellectual prowess of our communities; we have to invest in every part of this knowledge tree, from seed, root and branch to the highest leaf," he added.