President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday asked every central university of the country to adopt five villages the way National Institutes of Technology (NIT) have been asked to, transform them into model villages by providing solutions to a wide range of issues concerning them in order to make India progressive and equal.
Addressing the 12th convocation of Tezpur University in Tezpur, 180 kms from here, President Mukherjee said higher educational institutions in general and central universities in particular must actively involve themselves to make an India which is progressive and equal.
“Central universities have a pioneering role to play in setting standards for higher education across the country. They have to be a catalyst for rejuvenating other institutions of higher learning in their region thereby reducing regional academic imbalance. More importantly, Central Universities have to become a vehicle of social rejuvenation by extending the reach of education through extension work in adjoining areas,” he said.
Mukherjee said universities have to reach out to people in their region by disseminating knowledge, encouraging innovation, promoting environmental conservation and developing skills. “They have to elicit the participation of talented local youth, increase their employability and usher in upward mobility of the deprived sections of the society. Their work must resonate the needs and aspirations of the people,” the President added.
Asking central universities to become breeding ground for creative quests and cutting-edge technological developments, President Mukherjee said India as a developing nation, have to search for solutions to issues like renewable energy, climate changes, drinking water, sanitation and urbanization.
“It is incumbent on our universities to align their research priorities with these challenges. Our universities have to be the breeding ground for creative quests and cutting-edge technological developments. They have to encourage their students to satiate their curiosity and chase their creativity,” he added.
Over 1500 students were awarded degrees and PhDs in the convocation that was also attended by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and union minister of state for sports and youth affairs Sarbananda Sonowal.