Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee said India cannot aspire to become one of the top nations in the world and sit at the high table of the international comity without having world class academic institutions.
“We have 712 universities and over 36,000 colleges, but not a single Indian institution figured in the top 200 rankings recently. There was a time when India played a dominant role in the higher education system and we had renowned seats of learning like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri. India now has to work towards regaining that glory of the past,” he said.
The President said as a visitor to large number of institutions of higher learning, he had been convening conferences and emphasising on the need to improve international rankings. Mukherjee said he was happy that the institutions were now taking the ranking process more seriously in a proactive and systematic manner. Thanks to the efforts of the institutions concerned and his constant prodding, two Indian institutions have broken into the top 200 for the first time. He said he was confident that more such institutions would follow the same track. The President said the Internet, mobile phones and TV have transformed the world.
There were no longer any territorial limitations. Technology and e-classrooms can be used to access best of teachers anywhere. This would help address the problem of faculty shortages.
Prez asks not to throw pollutants in Ganga
Kolkata: Stressing on the need to protect the Ganga, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said it must be ensured that no pollutants are thrown into the river as he batted for the Clean Ganga initiative.
Inaugurating a 51-ft statue of Lord Shiva facing the river at Banshidhar Jalan Smriti Mandir at Salkia in nearby Howrah, he said that the river has tremendous influence, right from its starting point to its mouth in the Bay of Bengal.
“The civilisational growth of this vast region was centred around Ganges. That’s why I consider the Clean Ganga call to be one of the most appropriate measures,” he said. The President asked the trustees of the Salkia temple to ensure that no polluting element is thrown in the river.