Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Saturday said Indian universities should be developed to meet the global benchmarks and be prime movers of change.
Speaking at the 155th Annual Convocation of the University of Madras here, Jayalalithaa said: "We must direct our energies towards developing our universities to meet global benchmarks. These should be prime movers of change."
She said a more just, humane and sustainable society requires the development in each of our students of a personal moral compass and a commitment to ethical decision making.
"It is necessary not merely to achieve personal excellence but also to enable the nation to rise to higher levels of endeavour and achievement. Learning should be a two-way process and should involve the intellect and heart of the student and the faculty. Social commitment on the part of the educationists cannot be overlooked," she said.
According to her, the original intention of setting up the University of Madras by the Britishers was to create an aristocratic institution but ultimately became directly contradictory to it.
"It has endeavoured to create an open and secular system and seeks to deliberately incorporate inclusiveness into the fabric of education. It has broken the shackles of the 'ivory tower' and has thrown open the gates of the once 'elitist institution' to the common people," Jayalalithaa said.
"True education should emphasise achievement of human resource development in its entirety and thereby augment the nation's richest asset. Imparting ethical values, as a significant constituent of education, therefore, is no longer merely obligatory but a constitutional imperative, essential for the development and realisation of the full potential of the human," she said.
Citing an ancient Chinese proverb - 'If you are thinking one year ahead, plant rice; If you are thinking 10 years ahead, plant trees; If you are thinking 100 years ahead, educate the people', Jayalalithaa said her government is doing all the three.
According to her, the state government's mission is to promote human resource development through self-actualised institutions producing high-quality professionals in sufficient numbers and to make Tamil Nadu a global hub for university education.
"The higher education sector in Tamil Nadu is moving at an accelerated pace to meet the demands of the century, in terms of research and development and many schemes have been implemented with this in view," Jayalalithaa said.