President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed concern over the limited options available in India for meritorious students to pursue quality higher education and called for the creation of world-class academic facilities in the country to retain the bright minds.
"Many meritorious students opt for higher studies abroad. We have to retain them by offering world-class education in our own country. "Unfortunately, superior quality institutions which meet the expectations of the bright students are few," Mukherjee said at the platinum jubilee celebrations of the College of Engineering Trivandrum here.
Noting that no Indian engineering college or university was ranked among the top-200 varsities in the world, Mukherjee said, it was in sharp contrast compared with ancient times when Indian universities like Takshashila attracted students from different parts of the world.
"Efficient management took our ancient universities to great heights before they declined by the 13th century AD. Today, we languish behind many nations." The acid test for our academic institutions is to produce a large cadre of scientific and technical manpower without sacrificing quality, Mukherjee said, adding that engineering programmes must be periodically evaluated based on industry trends.
"Intellectual collaborations amongst Indian institutions and with institutions abroad can provide impetus to knowledge generation and sharing. Expertise in key areas must be developed by associating with other knowledge-generation institutions," he added.
Mukherjee also stated that education has a pivotal role in growth of the nation. Talking about India becoming a permanent member of the Washington Accord, the President said, "The onus is on our engineering colleges to adhere to the requisite accreditation standards."
Washington Accord is an international accreditation agreement for professional engineering degrees which is entered into by the bodies responsible for accreditation in the signatory countries. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced that students graduating from the College of Engineering Trivandrum would get a special commemoration certificate along with their graduation certificates to mark the platinum jubilee celebrations of the institute.
Earlier, addressing the first convocation at the Central University of Kerala at Kasargod, he said the country was faced with a scarcity of good teachers in universities and this challenge was to be met by filling up vacant positions and attracting the best talents.