Prime minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged Indian Institutes of Technology to take up the challenge of developing defence and health equipment and user-friendly innovations in railways so that India ceases to be dependent on imports. He was addressing a conference of chairmen of Boards of Governors and directors of IITs organised by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Modi in his speech sought technological support from IITs in realising the vision of “housing for all”. Citing examples of a range of defence and health sector equipments and sensitive and security-related items like currency ink and tear gas which are imported, he said,
“I refuse to believe that India does not have the talent to make these things.” IITs he said need to teach their students the “science of thinking and the art of living.”
The President also emphasised the need for research at these premiere institutes to be attuned to the technological needs of the nation.
Describing IITs as the “knowledge leaders” of the nation, he asked them to explore how quality of education can be improved and good governance brought in to help the institutes of higher learning compete with the best in the world. He called upon the Council of IITs to draw up a roadmap for governance in line with the best global practices and implement it without any delay.
He added that the structure of a good education system rests on four pillars — values, teachers, students and infrastructure. There is no dearth of talent in our faculty or students. Constraints such as huge shortage of faculty should be urgently addressed. Vacancy in IITs varies from 10 per cent to 52 per cent and the overall vacancy in the 16 IITs is over 37 per cent. He said the process of ranking institutes provides a reality check and is an opportunity to introspect the position on a global map.
The Prime Minister conceded that global rankings are important but we should also have our own parameters of rankings to serve as an “inbuilt mechanism for change and improvement.”