India can become the hub of knowledge and innovation and universities have to play a leading role in fostering a climate of creativity, inventiveness, and enterprise, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday.
The universities must not only become the centres of cutting-edge research but must also establish close linkages with the industry, he said, speaking after inaugurating a new Amenities Centre at the University of Hyderabad (UoH).
Observing that the need of the hour was to channelize the energies of the youth in constructive, nation-building activities, he advised the youth to join the forces of growth and shun negativism.
Pointing out that the nation was passing through a critical juncture and was facing many challenges, he advised the youth to come up with innovative solutions to tackle the pressing problems from coronavirus to climate change.
“This is the time for all sections, particularly the youth to be at the forefront of making India stronger on all fronts….,” the vice president said.
He urged the youth to be the torchbearers in eradicating Illiteracy, combating diseases, meeting challenges in the farm sector, ending social evils and discrimination of any sort like atrocities on women, and eliminating corruption to build a new and resurgent India.
In his first physical public interaction after the announcement of the COVID-19-induced lockdown in March, Naidu expressed happiness that the new education policy proposes a National Research Foundation to oversee research in the country and accords priority to skill-based education by imparting “21st-century employability skills”.
Observing that the education sector, like others, also faced unprecedented disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said it has brought forth new challenges for both teachers and learners.
With educational institutions world over resorting to online teaching and learning, there was a need to study and adopt the best practices by institutions like the University of Hyderabad, he said.
Expressing concern that only a few Indian Higher Education Institutions figure in the world rankings, he said multidisciplinary universities should strive to be among the best.
“It is a matter of concern that only a few Indian Higher Education Institutions figure in the world rankings Bombay and IIT Delhi and IISc figure in the QS rankings in the top 200. Our multidisciplinary universities should pull up their socks and strive to be amongst the best,” he said.
For achieving better rankings, Higher Education Institutions must promote the culture of innovative research and focus on quality publications in the top journals and not just numbers, the vice president stressed.
He appreciated the UoH for achieving the status of institution of eminence.
Recalling that institutions in the country, including at Nalanda, Takshashila and others attracted students from across the globe, in the ancient times, he appealed to the students and faculty of the university to focus on education and improving the levels of standards.
Naidu said he was happy to attend the event as it is his first physical public interaction after the announcement of COVID-19-induced lockdown.
The Prime Minister guided the nation with his vision in facing the pandemic and the country is, comparatively, in an improved situation, he said.
He lauded the role of doctors, scientists, sanitation personnel and others and also the governments at the Centre and states in fighting against it.
Observing that the casualties due to the infectious disease are less in India which is attributed to climatic conditions or physical activities by some people, Naidu urged that a healthy lifestyle, discarding junk food, be adopted.
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