At a function organized to commemorate the centenary celebrations of Ramjas College, President Pranab Mukherjee addressed a select gathering in the Yellow Drawing Room of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President while speaking to students and educationists, dealt with the importance of quality research work in universities and educational institutions.
It is not the first time that the President has drawn the attention of educationists to the importance of quality education. We are now in the seventieth year of our independence. That is a long time. Like all other walks of life, we have made much progress in education sector also. Education is the key to progress and development. We have expanded education vastly and carried it to far off nooks and corner of the state and the country. The rate of literacy has gone up and educational institutions from primary or kindergarten level to the highest research institutes level have come up. A large number of new areas have been brought under study and in that sense India has made her mark among the developing countries. This is also true of professional education like medicine, engineering, biochemistry, space science, etc. Our students do not need to go to foreign universities to attain higher education in any field. This all has helped us tremendously in carrying the country forward. We have been able to harness huge youth talent for creative contribution in the field of education or skills. This is all commendable and thanks to the Governments which had vision and energy to put that vision into practice. Education has been brought to rural India where the rate of illiteracy was very high. At the same time we have paid special attention to the education of female students in our educational institutions. The Government has been very frugal and sympathetic towards the students of backward classes by sanctioning scholarships in their favour. The result is that a wave has spread among the backward segments of society to send their kids to schools especially the girl child. All this bodes well for our country and its future.
But the President has regrets on some count which he has been expressing of and on. He is worried why our universities are not producing researchers of great eminence who could contribute strongly not only to the fame of the country but more importantly to improve the living standard of the people of this great country. We have no dearth of talent in our country but we are short of the conducive atmosphere in our educational institutions especially the institutions of higher study and research. The President has rightly asked why we have not been able to produce scientists and intellectuals who could have won a Nobel Prize after C.V Raman won it 80 years ago. Why do our brilliant students seek jobs in corporations or other business concerns and do not devote themselves to research studies. If they devoted to research, they could make enviable contribution to the progress of the nation. It is so because they do not find conducive atmosphere in the universities or the institutions of excellence and specialization. This is a big drawback.
There is no denying the fact that the research quality in our universities has come down considerably. Until two years back, none of our university could find place in the top 200 universities of the world. That is not something to make us proud. Given the population of our country and also given the high level of institutions, we should have produced top scientists and technocrats who would have made contribution to the knowledge as has been done by many eminent westerners. It is true, that some of our scholars have proved their worth and risen to top positions in international corporations and have proved their worth to the satisfaction of their employers. This has happened because they found very conducive atmosphere there. Had the same atmosphere been prevailing in the country, they would not opt to go out and not serve their motherland.
The President advised that students, faculties and the administration shall have to work together to give new energy and direction to research studies in institutions of excellence in the country. Researches have to be people-oriented meaning such as would help people of India become prosperous. Obviously, knowledge being the key to prosperity should be put to right use at right place. We have the requisite infrastructure and if some more is needed that too can be provided but the question is that the level of research should go up.