The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has expressed anguish over continued terror attacks in various parts of the world and called upon international agencies such as the United Nations to conclude deliberations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, put forth by India to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms and safe havens.
Shri Naidu urged upon the world community to initiate concerted action to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the face of the earth.
Addressing the 54th Annual Convocation of Bangalore University, in Bengaluru today, Shri Naidu said it was high time that the world takes concerted action to deal with the inhuman menace of terror by alienating those aiding abetting and encouraging terror as a state policy. ‘Mere condemnation and compensation will not suffice. We have to contain and root out terror in all its forms by going to the root cause’, he added.
Pointing out that world over, thousands of innocent people were being killed and still the world community, the Vice President opined that without attaining peace, progress would have no meaning.
Expressing anguish over the barbaric terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, which claimed the lives of several innocent people, Shri Naidu said India stands in solidarity with the Sri Lankan Government and its people in this hour of distress.
The Vice President observed that higher education must transcend the barriers of caste, creed, religion and gender. He pointed that the principles of social equity and gender parity were of paramount concern as far as higher education was concerned. Providing quality education on par with global standards was the need of the hour, he added.
Reminding the gathering about India’s illustrious heritage, Shri Naidu said that India must resurrect the glory of the bygone era and take up the production and dissemination of knowledge on a wide scale through initiatives such as the digitization of higher education through expansion of online courses, massive open online courses (MOOC) courses and distance education..
The Vice President called upon higher educational institutions to promote interactive academic programs with diverse specializations and facilitate convergence of disciplines. ‘The system of Higher education must prepare the youth to be competent enough to serve the current techno-capitalist world system and its knowledge economy’, he added.
Observing that a knowledge oriented paradigm of development would enable India to leverage its tremendous demographic advantage, the Vice President stressed that greater emphasis must be accorded to a skill based education by incorporating a three-pronged strategy of ‘skill, reskill and unskill’ as well as ‘learn, relearn and unlearn’.
The Vice President said there was a need to revamp and reform our higher education system to not only make our institutions global centres of learning but also to ensure that the students were able to meet challenges posed on the employment front.
Expressing his concern that the Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education in India was a mere 27 per cent when compared to USA and China, with 85.8% and 43.4 % respectively, the Vice President called for measures to enhance the Gross Enrolment Ratio.
The Governor of Karnataka and the Chancellor of Bangalore University, Shri Vajubhai Vala, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University, Prof. K.R. Venugopal, the Registrar of Bangalore University, Prof. B.K. Ravi, the Registrar (Evaluation) of Bangalore University, Prof. C. Shivaraju, the Awardees of Honorary Degree, the Members of the Syndicate, Academic Council, Invited Dignitaries, Faculty and Staff Members, Students and their parents were present at the event.
Following is the text of Vice President’s address:
“First of all, let me extend my hearty congratulations to those who are graduating today from this institution which has a reputation for excellence.
Today, you have reached a significant landmark in your academic career as well as in life,which would not have been possible without your dedication and hard work.
Let me also appreciate the faculty members for preparing the students to achieve this goal by providing them quality education, training and guidance.
Swami Vivekananda once said that “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in human being”. I am sure that those of you, who are passing out from the portals of this great citadel of wisdom today, will realize your true potential and contribute your best in the process of nation building.
My dear Sisters and Brothers and youngsters
Today, our universities have to perform multiple roles such as creating new epistemologies, acquiring new capabilities and producing an intelligent human resource pool through teaching and research.
They are vested with the power to provide a new direction to India’s Higher Education System. They hold the sacred responsibility of elevating India to the position it once held, that of being the Vishwaguru, the teacher to the world.
Higher education is instrumental in building up a knowledgeable citizenry which possesses critical consciousness, the most vital requirement of a democratic nation.
The promotion of interactive academic co-existence amongst scholars of diverse specializations, facilitating convergence of disciplines and creation of a platform of critical pedagogy for effective learning across interfaces of established disciplines needs to be re-emphasized. This is after all an era of interdisciplinary learning.
Over the past few decades, several non- conventional areas of knowledge cutting across physical, natural and social sciences have emerged as a result of researches beyond disciplinary boundaries, thus letting disciplines move closer to one another.
The system of Higher education must prepare the youth to be competent enough to serve the current techno-capitalist world system and its knowledge economy.
The ability of a nation to use and create knowledge capital determines its capacity to empower and enable its citizens to explore their innate potentials to the full possible extent.
Today India has the largest number of young people in world and therefore will be contributing the largest labour force to the world economy. Following a knowledge oriented paradigm of development would enable India to leverage its tremendous demographic advantage.
But there are daunting challenges which need to be overcome.
The foremost challenge is to ensure affordability and accessibility of higher education to all.Access parity is at stake due to commercialization of education and commoditization of knowledge.
It is imperative that the principles of social equity and gender parity be of paramount concern as far as higher education is concerned.
It must be accessible to all sections of society and must transcend the barriers of caste, creed, religion and gender.
Pedagogic practices and curricular frameworks must prepare teachers to critique, be critiqued and to learn even at the cost of putting themselves in unfamiliar territories.
The National Knowledge Commission report states that currently the Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education in India is 27% whereas for USA and China, it is 85.8 and 43.4 % respectively.
This statistical representation is a telling indicator of our under-utilized potential pertaining to Higher education.
While there is a need to meet the growing educational needs in the higher education sector, merely adding numbers would not serve the purpose. The need of the hour is to provide quality education on par with global standards, while making rapid strides towards enhancing the Gross Enrolment Ratio.
We know of our illustrious heritage as far as higher education is concerned since time immemorial.
It was in ‘Bharatvarsha’ that world renowned universities like Nalanda and Takshashilaflourished. It was said that there were 1500 teachers for 10000 students in these historic universities. Documentation of knowledge through an excellent team of translators had also empowered scholars from different parts of the world to come there to study, teach and pursue research.
There were great mathematicians like Bhaskara and astronomers like Varahamihira who made India the capital of wisdom.
India must resurrect this glory of the bygone era and take up the production and dissemination of knowledge on a wide scale through initiatives such as the digitization of higher education through expansion of online courses, massive open online courses (MOOC) courses, distance education etc.
The digital revolution must make possible a wider accessibility of higher education for all and greater emphasis has to be accorded to a skill based education by incorporating a three-pronged strategy of ‘skill, reskill and unskill’ as well as ‘learn, relearn and unlearn’.
Laying a robust foundation through the creation of a strong base of natural sciences like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology would promote scientific temper and create a congenial ambience for scientific research. It is also important to patent our indigenous knowledge and medicine.
I have been emphasising upon the need to revamp and reform our higher education system to not only make our institutions global centres of learning but also to ensure that the students passing out of these institutions are able to meet challenges posed on the employment front.
We must transform our higher education system and create world class pedagogical spaces that nurture the intellectual competencies of our students and contribute the best of human resources to the world economy.
Wonderful opportunities are awaiting you and you must make the best possible use of the knowledge and skills you have acquired. You should be lifelong learners and continue acquire new skills to address the complex issues of our time.
I urge each one of you to strive to leave a unique footprint of yours in this world by being a path-breaker.
It is vital in our contemporary postcolonial context that we strive towards the preservation and development of our regional ‘Bhashas’ and the mother tongue. It is important to preserve our linguistic and cultural heritage and diversity.
At the same time, acquiring proficiency in English has become absolutely essential in the global context.
My dear young friends,
As you step out of the institute and start your career, you will find that individual efforts in combination with team work will guide you to greater success and in achieving major milestones in your professional career.
I am sure that this institution will achieve greater heights in imparting high quality education and in nurturing a skilled youth force, fully equipped and capable of taking India to its rightful place at the helm of world affairs as a global leader.
Once again, I congratulate all the graduating students, their parents and teachers and extend my best wishes to this university.