The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that the time has arrived for India to re orient present education system to inculcate values, morals and ethics in students and to re-established itself as a knowledge and innovation hub. He called for a complete overhaul of the higher education system so that it caters to the fast changing requirements of the 21st century. ‘Apart from remolding the syllabi and pedagogy, the stress should be on learning-by-doing’, he suggested.
Addressing the 32 Convocation of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), here today, the Vice President asked the students to work with dedication and sincerity to realize their dreams. He presented degrees and diplomas to more than 2 Lakh students who were graduating from the main campus of IGNOU and various regional centres today. He urged the students to prove themselves to be worthy of the certificates, diplomas and degrees they had received.
Shri Naidu stressed that everybody must strive to build a New India, which was free of poverty, illiteracy, fear, corruption, hunger and discrimination. Saying that quality assurance was important for improving higher education sector, he called for stringent measures to address excessive commercialization and poor governance in private and government-funded institutions respectively.
The Vice President said that Higher education must transform an individual into a responsible human being with social, moral and ethical values instilled in him or her, apart from making the person more productive. He further said that the quality assurance and accreditation mechanism must acknowledge the transformative role of education in a broader sense and facilitate in widening the horizons of Indian higher education system.
Saying that India was placed in an advantageous position because of the demographic dividend, the Vice President opined that ensuring skill development and imparting latest training in various vocations to the youth was necessary to make them a skilled workforce.
Shri Naidu opined that preserving India’s traditional knowledge base and integrating it with modern educational system was of great importance as we rapidly advance towards building a knowledge-based society. Shri Naidu also wanted framers of our education policy to focus upon teaching in local languages along with inculcating the spirit of volunteerism in students by way of activities such as NCC, NSS and others.
Observing that Information and Communication Technology brought a paradigmatic shift in the education sector, Shri Naidu called upon institutions such as IGNOU to impart ICT skills to students apart from regular academics so that they can apply them in areas of their engagement – such as agriculture, industry, business or service. He observed that online education is the best mode of learning as it has the potential to reach the unreached in every corner of the country via internet and help in improving the literacy rate.
Mentioning that India’s rich cultural heritage, Ayurveda and Yoga had earned global recognition, Shri Naidu said that 177 countries adopting a resolution at the United Nations declaring June 21 as International Day of Yoga was a testimony to India’s growing influence in the world. He instructed universities and educational institutions to promote India’s vast body of indigenous knowledge especially in the fields of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Shri Naidu said Ayurveda, which has its origins in the Vedic culture as an indigenous system of natural healing has once again emerged as a major source of knowledge on diagnosis, treatment and healing. ‘However, to ensure patient safety and efficacy, every system of medicine should be evidentiary and based on thorough research and widespread clinical trials’, he cautioned.
The Vice President urged the students to uphold ethical values at all times and remain committed to preserving India’s culture, traditions and heritage. He asked them to give utmost priority to protecting nature. ‘Promote culture and protect nature for a better future,’ he added.
The Vice President lauded the efforts of the University for making knowledge acquisition accessible to many learners, who otherwise were unable to attend regular institutions of higher learning. He opined that IGNOU was effectively serving the educational needs of the learners by breaking the barriers of distance through different mediums – the print, audio, video, online delivery as also interpersonal interaction.
The Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, Prof. Nageshwar Rao, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, Prof. Ravindra Ramachandra Kanhere, the Registrar, Directors of the School of Studies, Heads of Divisions and Units, Faculty and Staff Members of the university and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Following is the text of Vice President’s address:
I am extremely happy to be here among you today at the 32nd Convocation of IGNOU which was founded on the cherished philosophy of ‘democratization of education’ and ‘reaching the unreached’. This university has made knowledge acquisition accessible to many learners, who otherwise were unable to attend regular institutes of higher learning.
It is effectively serving the educational needs of the learners by breaking the barriers of distance through different mediums – the print, audio, video, online delivery as also interpersonal interaction.
I am happy to learn that IGNOU is the largest university of the world in terms of student enrolment and programs offered. Over the years, IGNOU has received national and international acclaim.
I am glad to learn that IGNOU has developed a network of over 3500 Study Centres, 56 Regional Centers and 11 Recognized Regional Centres for Indian Army, Navy and Assam Rifles across the country, apart from 26 Overseas Study Centres. Indeed, IGNOU has made its presence felt both nationally and internationally by providing quality education through Open Distance Learning system.
I am delighted to learn that IGNOU today has cumulative student strength of over 32 lakhs students, who are pursuing more than 241 academic programmes.
On this momentous occasion, I congratulate all the 2.02 lakh students of IGNOU who are receiving their certificates, diplomas and degrees from this esteemed university. I also wish them all the best in their future endeavors and to be the worthy of the certificates, diplomas and degrees they have earned.
Dear students, please remember that your learning does not end with the acquisition of an educational degree. Learning is an ongoing process and you need to upgrade knowledge on a daily basis to face a highly competitive world. As you all are aware, India was once known as Vishwaguru and students from across the world used to come here and study in reputed learning centres like Takshashila. Following foreign invasions and colonization, we lost that pre-eminent position.
India has a rich treasure of ancient knowledge. The knowledge contained in our traditional scriptures, like Vedas, Upanishads and other ancient texts was passed on from generation to generation and made India the spiritual leader of the world.
We have inherited a vast body of indigenous knowledge through Yoga and Ayurveda. The practice of Yoga helps in leading a healthy and balanced life style. In view of its beneficial effects, as many as 177 countries adopted a resolution at the United Nations declaring June 21 as International Day of Yoga. I feel that there is a need to promote Yoga in our educational and training institutions.
Ayurveda has its origins in the Vedic culture as an indigenous system of natural healing. Unfortunately due to prolong foreign rule in the country the practice of Ayurveda got sidelined and neglected. Now Ayurveda has been emerging as a major source of diagnosis, treatment and healing. However, to ensure patient safety and efficacy, every system of medicine should be evidentiary and based on thorough research and widespread clinical trials.
Dear youngsters, the time has come now for India to re-establish itself as a knowledge and innovation hub. For that to happen, we have to completely overhaul our higher education system to cater to the fast changing requirements of the 21st century in different sectors. Apart from remoulding the syllabi and pedagogy, the stress should be on learning-by-doing. According to the latest All India Survey on Higher Education (2017-18), there are 903 universities and the total number of colleges stands at 49,061. Currently, the total number of students enrolled in our colleges and universities is about 36.7 million.
Although our GER has improved to 25.8 per cent, it lags behind the global average of 33 percent and those of the emerging economies like Brazil (46 percent), Russia (78 percent) and China (36 percent).
With Indian economy on the rise, all of you will have plenty of avenues and opportunities and you should seize them. But remember that there is no substitute to hard work. Set goals and persevere to achieve them. As exhorted by the former President, dream high and aim high. But work with dedication and sincerity to realize your dreams and a build a New India, which shall be free of poverty, illiteracy, fear, corruption, hunger and discrimination.
Looking at your young and enlightened faces, I am reminded of Swami Vivekananda’s famous exhortation: “Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.”
Now your ideal should be as said in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: “Asato Ma Sad Gamaya, Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya, Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya–Lead us from ignorance to truth, Lead us from darkness to light, Lead us from death to deathlessness”.
As India is rapidly advancing towards a knowledge-based society, it should preserve its traditional knowledge base and integrate it with modern educational system of the country.
India is placed in an advantageous position when compared to many other countries because 65 per cent of our population is below the age of 35 years. By ensuring skill development and imparting latest training in various vocations to the youth, India can cater to the global requirements of skilled workforce, apart from meeting the demand within the country. I am sure that the National Policy on Skill Development and Entrepreneurship will address all the challenges of skilling, while the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) will help standardize and integrate the skill component of the people with the formal learning arrangement.
We are now living in an Information and Communication Technology-driven world. With 46% people having access over internet and 92% over mobile phones, imparting ICT- enabled education has become the sine qua non of the modern society. In fact, ICT revolution is triggering a paradigmatic shift in the education sector.
As you all are aware, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) platform is set to bring a revolution in the arena of learning and knowledge dissemination. In India, SWAYAM MOOCsplatform has emerged to be the World’s Largest Online Free E-Learning Platform Portal. It is designed to achieve access, equity and quality in education at all levels and areas. Again under the SWAYAM PRABHA programme high-quality educational programmes are telecast through the DTH channels. Further the MHRD under its National Mission on Education through ICT (NME-ICT)has initiated the e-Pathshala. The interactive e-content covers around 70 subjects across all disciplines of social sciences, arts, fine arts, humanities, mathematics, linguistics and languages.
The use of ICTs has made lives of millions of Indian comfortable now in most areas of their engagement—be it agriculture, industry, business or service.
Quality assurance is important for improving higher education sector. The root cause of the problem in private and government-funded institutions is commercialization and poor governance respectively.
Higher education should transform an individual into a responsible human being with social, moral and ethical values embedded in him or her apart from making the person more productive. Thus, the quality assurance and accreditation mechanism should acknowledge the transformative role of education in a broader sense and facilitate in widening the horizons of the Indian higher education system.
I glad to learn that IGNOU has already launched several skill development programmes through Open and Distance Learning and ICT-enabled modes and has integrated skill component in its flagship Bachelor Degree programme under the Choice Based Credit System.
I must laud IGNOU for creating a wealth of academic e-content through its eGyanKosh- a National Digital Repository to store, index, preserve, distribute and share the digital learning resources. I am also happy to learn that IGNOU proposes to launch several online academic programmes soon and has also initiated a new Centre for On Line Learning for giving an impetus to this mode of learning.
Quality assurance is important for improving higher education sector. The root cause of the problem in private and government-funded institutions is commercialization and poor governance respectively. While the problems have to be tackled differently, a single standardised solution may not ensure improvement in quality across Higher Education institutions.
Finally, before concluding, I would like you all to remember the four pillars of learning that UNESCO had suggested.
These are (1) Learning to know (2) Learning to do (3) Learning to be and (4) Learning to live together.
You should be able to access new knowledge and use it for your advancement and the welfare of the people around you, you should develop new skills all the time and ultimately realize the hidden potential within you. Be what you aim to be. The last aspect is perhaps the most important one in our contemporary world – Learning to live together and celebrate the infinite diversity in the world.
I would add that you should uphold ethical values at all times and remain committed to preserving India’s culture, traditions and heritage. Also, please give utmost priority to protecting nature. In other words, promote culture and protect nature for a better future. My best wishes to you all in your future endeavors!