President Ram Nath Kovind Saturday said it was the “moral obligation” of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi alumni to give back to the institute and “come back and teach” at IIT — either for a short or long duration. He also urged the institute to “adopt” a school for underprivileged children in order to aid its development.
Kovind was the chief guest at the 48th convocation of IIT-Delhi, which saw 1,941 students receiving their degrees, of which 306 were PhD students. “This is the first time IIT-Delhi has crossed the 300 mark in terms of the number of PhD students graduating during the convocation,” said IIT-Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao.
Speaking at the convocation, Kovind said, “Many of those who studied here in the past were fortunate to have their world-class education heavily subsidised by the tax payer. There is a moral obligation to pay back, and to help those less privileged — in whichever manner the individual prefers. It would be best if this process of paying back enriches education and scholarship at the grassroots of our society.”
“The obligation is on IIT-Delhi authorities to involve and invite alumni, many of whom are well placed in other universities or in the industry, to come back and teach here — even if for short periods or for specific courses. If procedures need to be simplified to achieve this, then efforts must be made in that direction,” he added.
Four alumni — Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi, Managing Director and CEO of Vodafone India Sunil Sood, Professor Soumitra Dutta from Cornell University and Founder of Mission Holdings Saurabh Mittal — were given the Distinguished Alumni Award.
“I would urge the IIT-Delhi authorities and community to adopt and partner a school for underprivileged children and see how they can contribute to its development and the capacity building of its pupils,” Kovind said.
The convocation also saw the presence of 50 students from Navodaya schools — at the behest of the President. Kovind said the IIT system in general — and IIT-Delhi specifically — was the “gold standard of technical education in our country” and the “brand ambassadors of India’s intellectual and technological strength across the globe, from Singapore to Silicon Valley.”
Congratulating students on the occasion, Rao said, “I am sure that you would work for a better world where science and technology are used in socially responsible ways, and in harmony with nature… We are also confident that you will provide the leadership the country and the world expects from you.”