President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday stressed the importance of international rankings, and said Indian institutions should take “seriously” the ranking process by international rating agencies. Speaking at the Founder’s Day ceremony of St Stephen’s College, he also asked the institutions to encourage research and innovation.
“We have so many institutions but when various international standing rating agencies come, I feel dismayed and sorry that out of these large number of institutions, Indian universities don’t find place among the top 200 world class universities. The placement record of our IITs is the highest, IIT graduates are not suffering from lack of employment.. Some of the universities have excellent faculty members, students are brilliant. So how is it that when the ratings come, we are nowhere there. While having discussions, we found out. it is not lack of merit but it’s a sort of technical gap. If we have the mission, commitment and skill, we will be able to do so,” Mukherjee said, addressing the present faculty and alumni.
Among the noted alumni were Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar Verma.
Expressing happiness at being invited to speak at the 135-year-old institution, Mukherjee urged the students to contribute to solving problems of the nation. Citing examples of Indian Nobel prize winners like economist Amartya Sen, Mukherjee said, “They received Nobel prizes not working in Indian universities but working somewhere else. That means we haven’t been able to create the atmosphere which will encourage research, innovation and which will ultimately take this nation forward.”
Donning his hat as an economist, Mukherjee said India could not sustain on just “jobless growth”. “In the recent years, employment generation which should have been according to the growth is not taking place. Last year’s employment generation is the least in the previous seven years. You cannot have merely a jobless growth,” he said.
He said only by providing the youth with the necessary skills, education and training, the world job market could be made available to them. The President added that otherwise “the demographic dividend would turn into a liability”. Mukherjee also underscored the importance of balancing environmental concerns with development agendas.
“We also have to solve the problem of energy deficiency without disturbing the environment,” he said.