The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has said that a sweeping up-gradation of India’s higher education sector calls for deepening of private sector involvement.
President while attending the 11th Convocation of Symbiosis International University said that leading global universities like Harvard, Yale and Stanford have evolved out of private sector initiative.
He said, “India’s private sector is engaged in several key areas like health, transport and financial services. In education too, private institutions play an important role as they account for nearly sixty per cent of total enrolment at the tertiary level. Yet at the same time, a disparity exists in the educational standards of the private system. Measures are therefore necessary to ensure better service delivery, benchmarks and excellence.”
The President said in the past, our seats of higher learning like Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri were global leaders. These universities attracted scholars from round the world. Today, instead, bright Indian students – around two lakh every year – go abroad seeking higher education. It is a matter of introspection as to how we can bring our centres of higher learning back into the fold of leading institutions in the world.
The President said high economic growth is central to a developing country like ours as it is a panacea for ills like poverty, deprivation and backwardness. Creation of growth is increasingly happening through knowledge-based sectors. Given that knowledge will spur greater progress in the future, it is critical for us to prepare a pool of skilled and capable manpower by focusing on education.
The President said that higher level institutions have a larger role to play in the society. Their engagement with social issues has to be at a much deeper level. Some major initiatives aimed at inclusive development have been launched recently. The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana envisages the adoption of villages for holistic development and their transformation into model villages for wider replication. He called upon Symbiosis University to take active part in this programme.