Produce men, women of character: Prez to varsities
President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday asked universities to produce men and women of substance and character, and not merely competent professionals.
Addressing a convocation ceremony of Goa University here, he laid stress upon women's empowerment through education as it will have a positive impact on future generation.
Asserting that India is presently at a very challenging phase of its socio-economic transition, Mukherjee said the country needs to galvanise demographic strength, particularly the country's youth.
The president said the centres of higher learning are social institutions and they have to carry out their responsibilities as a social entity.
"A strong connection with the society will provide the edifice for value-oriented learning in them. This will instill in the students a sensitivity that will inspire them to search for solutions to vexed socio-economic problems.
"The onus is on our institutions to produce men and women of substance and character, not merely competent professionals," he said.
Noting that women comprise a high percentage about 60 per cent - of the student population in Goa University, the president said it is important that young women, particularly those belonging to marginal sections, gain increased access to the portals of colleges and universities.
"Women's empowerment through education will have a positive impact on our future generation," he said.
It was Mukherjee's first visit to Goa after assuming the office of the president in July 2012.
He said, "The youthful character of our nation - 600 million people in the age group of 25 years and below has to become our asset in our surge for advancement."
"For that, we need to provide sound training to our youth to build capacity for undertaking skilled work. It will help prepare them for challenging job roles in the global economic community," he said.
Mukherjee said to prepare graduates for a competitive global economy, there is a need to impart quality education in institutions.
"A mechanism is needed in our higher education system that promotes competitiveness," he said. Quoting the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the president asked Goa University to continue to replicate the ideals of humanism and tolerance.
Mukherjee was conferred honorary Doctor of Letters D.Litt) degree by the chancellor of the university, set up in 1985.
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and other dignitaries were present in the function.