President Paraná Mukherjee said on Monday that all Indian universities should have at least one centre of excellence and emphasis should be on innovation, research and development to uplift the standards of education in the country, as students in the country have great merit.
The President, who was here as chief guest on the third convocation of Phagwara-based Lovely Professional University, said that while developing these centres of excellence, the major hurdle would be faculty, but the issue would have to be addressed through technology, like using e-class rooms and electronically transmitting lectures by prominent faculty from one university to another.
"Out of the box thinking and innovative measures are the need of the hour", he observed.
The President pointed out that India was passing through a demographic transition and every year, a workforce of around 12 million Indians was being added.
"By 2020, two-third of the working population of the world will be in India. It would be a great advantage if it can be turned into a productive asset. Otherwise, it will be a great liability if we don't equip them with skills required for employment", he said.
Referring to prominent universities of ancient India, like Takshashila and Nalanda, he said these attracted students from across civilizations and illuminated human minds for over 1,000 years.
"Sadly, out of the 200 best universities of the world, there is not even a single university from India at present," he said.
"Many outstanding personalities, who won Nobel prizes, were Indians but working in universities outside India," he said in his candid remarks about the state of higher education in the country. He pointed out that India had to wait for 83 years for a Nobel prize in original research.
Referring to women's empowerment, he said time has come for us to introspect and realize that if a society cannot respect women, it cannot move forward.