President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday lamented over the “mediocrity” of India’s educational institutions, pointing out none of even the more “renowned” ones have been able to make it to lists of the world’s 200 best and that for the past 83 years no Indian researcher working in an Indian institution has been able to achieve C V Raman’s feat of winning a Nobel prize.
“Almost like a parrot, I highlight this point because I feel pain,” the President said while addressing the 10th convocation ceremony of Mizoram University, ranked the highest among the universities in North-East India by the NAAC.
“Though our higher education sector has expanded rapidly over the last few years, we have less to trumpet about the quality of our institutes…. While I believe a few renowned Indian institutions can be better placed with a little more methodical approach, a vast majority of our institutions are mired in mediocrity,” he said, urging “teaching pedagogy must be refined, curricula updated, inter-disciplinary approach adopted,… evaluation mechanism reformed…. linkages with other educational institutes” established along with “an interface with industry.”
Congratulating the 721 graduating students (from under-graduates to PhDs) and urging them to “join hands with the youth from the rest of the country,” the President took the opportunity to condemn the recent spate of violence against people from the North-East especially in the country’s capital, terming them “tragic and ugly incidents” and “totally unacceptable events.”
He meanwhile called the Mizo community a “close-knit society marked by a complete absence of class distinctions and gender discrimination.”
While all those who spoke at the ceremony, including West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi who was handed charge of the state less than a week ago, called the occasion a “happy” one, an uneasy atmosphere has pervaded the Head of State’s visit to the remote state over the spate of sackings and transfers of UPA-appointed Governors by the BJP-led government with Mizoram becoming what many term a “dumping ground”.
The state has seen as many as seven different Governors in just nine months, and Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla took a swipe at the chain of events during his speech when he said, as he greeted Tripathi, that “we have the dubious distinction of having the most number of Governors in recent times!!”
Hundreds of students in school uniforms, some draped in traditional Mizo shawls of mourning, had lined the street approaching Raj Bhavan on Thursday as the President’s cavalcade passed by to protest the Governor issue which they in a memorandum termed “dishonourable” and acts of “sheer impunity and disrespect” for the state and its residents.