Education must inspire a thirst to innovate in our students: Vice President

The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today said that education must not only foster scientific spirit and entrepreneurial endeavour in students but also create in them a thirst to innovate.

Addressing the 17th Convocation of University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) in Dehradun today, Shri Naidu called for imparting Entrepreneurial Education in our technical institutions so that a larger number of our graduates do not end up as mere job seekers but possess the confidence and the skills to create businesses, jobs and wealth.

The Vice President said that the world is increasingly turning its attention to India today because of its steady pace of growth which is much faster than most major economies of the world. He added that India also has the advantage of an enormous youth population, with 50% of its population below 25 years of age.

He opined that if this demographic dividend is to be realized and leveraged for inclusive and sustainable growth and development, our youth must be equipped with domain focused education, skills and expertise.

Expressing concerns about the employability of our young graduates, Shri Naidu urged universities and the industry to join hands to groom students to be future-ready professionals.

Observing that routine jobs are now being replaced by Artificial Intelligence and Automation, the Vice President asked educational institutions to be quick on their feet to adapt and evolve. He emphasized that universities must train students to perform tasks that machines simply cannot.

He advised educational institutions to abandon the rote learning methodology and focus more on assimilation of diverse information, problem solving, decision making and analysis. “Design thinking principles should be introduced in schools along with digital skills”, he added.

Observing that the 4th Industrial Revolution is on the horizon and he urged educational institutions to prepare for it by acquiring knowledge and skills to make the big leap forward.

Stressing that India needs to India needs to rethink the entire education system, Shri Naidu cautioned that if we don’t innovate, we stand the risk of falling behind.

Referring to the exalted status of ‘Vishwaguru’ that India enjoyed in the past, he called on Indian universities to strive hard to make India a hub for global learning, once again. He asked Indian universities to aim be among the top 100 institutions in the world.

Highlighting the plethora of initiatives of the government such as NISHTA, ARPIT and DHRUV, the Vice President cautioned that government working in isolation will not succeed in creating a world-class education system. “Each one of our institutions, both public and private, must work in tandem with the government”, he said

Opining that it is not sufficient that we produce graduates who are academically proficient, Shri Naidu said that students must develop not only cognitive skills, but also social and emotional ‘soft’ skills, including cultural awareness and empathy, perseverance and grit, teamwork and leadership, among others.

The Vice President said that culturally, India has been, and continues to be, a cradle of great diversity in all walks of life and added that these rich legacies to world heritage must not only be nurtured and preserved but also enriched.

He urged Universities to strive to bridge the gap between theory and practice and promote research in a big way by networking with industries, R&D labs within India and abroad.

Stressing that India’s strength is in its young people who will play a key role in transforming India into a major economic and technological power, he asked them to remember their social responsibility and to give back to the people of India the fruits of technological advancements.

The Governor of Uttarakhand, Smt. Baby Rani Maurya, Chief Minister, Uttarkahand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat, Minister of Education, Govt. of Uttarakhand, Shri Dhan Singh Rawat, Chancellor of UPES, Dr. S.J. Chopra and Vice Chancellor of the university, Dr. Deependra Kumar Jha were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.

Following is full text of speech –

“My dear students,

I am delighted to be here with all of you this afternoon to share your moment of pride and glory as you graduate from the portals of this great institution.

I extend my heartiest congratulations to each and every one of you on earning these coveted degrees, after several years of toil and hard work. You are truly worthy of the honors and accolades that are being bestowed upon you today.

I also congratulate the proud parents whose children are graduating today. Congratulations are also due to the teaching fraternity for carefully and devotedly nurturing the future of our country in its schools, colleges and universities.

I must also take this opportunity to complement the founders of this University for their vision and pioneering initiative that took the form of this institution, 16 years ago, in 2003. I understand that 15000 plus alumni of UPES are already working in more than 700 national and international companies.

I am happy to know that UPES has two campuses of its own that houses 06 schools. It is truly noteworthy that over 11,000 regular students are pursuing their undergraduate and postgraduate studies in 90 specialized programs that are being run across these schools.

I commend the University for providing industry focused education in high growth sectors of Oil and Gas, Power, Infrastructure, Information Technology, Aviation, Shipping, Automotive, Electronics and International Business.

I am also told that several companies visit the campus annually to recruit students and I am quite pleased to learn that right from the first graduating batch, campus placements of eligible students have witnessed a rising trend.

I was also pleased to learn that in UPES students from all the disciplines go for Industry or Corporate Internships.

It is truly heartening that UPES runs an “Industry Attachment” module for the faculty, named “ABHIGYAAT”. The contemporary industry perspectives are thus brought into the classrooms.

I also commend the institution for having footprints in the 05 continents through MOU’s with nearly 60+ Universities and Institutions.

I am particularly enthused to note that UPES is closely working with “NITI AAYOG” on several projects and is also focusing on Incubation / Entrepreneurship and Start-Ups.

Let me once again congratulate each and every one of you on this momentous occasion.

My dear sisters and brothers,

Today, the world is increasingly turning its attention to India. It is growing at a steady pace, much faster than most major economies of the world. It has an enormous youth population, with 50% of its population below 25 years of age.

We have a potential demographic dividend that is waiting to be realized.

But if this demographic dividend is to be realized and leveraged for inclusive and sustainable growth and development, our youth must be equipped with domain focused education, skills and expertise.

A number of employment reports point out that in the recent times, there has been a fall in employability among young people. We must not fail to comprehend that we live in a world that is evolving and undergoing transformation at an unprecedented rate.

Technological advancement has been the defining factor for determining the pace of progress.

No institution can insulate itself from the unpredictability of technological progression and disruption. The success of institutions is not about what we do in the next few years, but it is our ability to create future-ready professionals.

India needs to rethink the entire education system. We must innovate or stand the risk of falling behind.

Our educational institutions must be quick on their feet to anticipate future trends as well as adapt, evolve and respond to disruptions.

We must abandon rote learning and focus more on assimilation of diverse information, problem solving, decision making and analysis.

Design thinking principles should be introduced in schools along with digital skills.

Students need to be made aware of what is expected in the real life environment and should be guided and mentored.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is on the horizon and I urge our educational institutions to prepare for it by acquiring knowledge and skills to make the big leap forward.

Today we have more than 900 universities across the length and breadth of the country. But none figure in the top 200 universities in the world. Merely adding more and more universities is not enough. Numbers are important, but quality is more important.

To start with, our universities must aim to be among the top 100 institutions in the world, making India a sought-after hub for global learning.

The Government of India is implementing a number of initiatives to improve the quality of education in India, including teacher training programs like NISHTA and ARPIT, the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Scheme, DHRUV and the declaration of 20 institutions as Institutions of Eminence (IoE).

But the government working in isolation will not succeed in creating a world-class education system.

Each one of our institutions, both public and private, must work in tandem with the government.

They need to adopt a systematic approach by comprehensively reorienting the teaching methods, research strategies and setting high academic standards on par with global institutions.

It is not sufficient that we produce graduates who are academically proficient.

Students must develop not only cognitive skills, but also social and emotional skills, also referred to as ‘soft skills’, including cultural awareness and empathy, perseverance and grit, teamwork and leadership, among others.

Education is the foundation for the progress of humanity. Education is not merely for employment, but education is meant to empower, impart wisdom and knowledge, and develop a holistic individual with qualities of head and heart.

India has had a long and illustrious history of holistic education. The aim of education in ancient India was not just the acquisition of knowledge but also of wisdom.

India was the renowned ‘Vishwaguru’, home to illustrious universities of Nalanda, Vikramshila and Takshashila. The ancient Indian education system had produced brilliant    scholars like Charaka and Susruta, Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya, Chanakya, Patanjali and numerous others. They made seminal contributions to the collective knowledge of the world in diverse fields.

Swami Vivekananda once said that “Education is not the amount of information that we put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas.”

Culturally, India has been, and continues to be, a cradle of great diversity in all walks of life, with its myriad languages and dialects, classical dance and music forms, many well-developed traditions of folk arts, exquisite architecture, incredible cuisines, fabulous textiles of all kinds and much more.

These rich contributions to world heritage must not only be nurtured and preserved for posterity, but also enriched.

We should integrate this rich tradition with modern education to help develop creativity and originality of students, and to encourage them to innovate.

My dear sisters and brothers,

Apart from promoting entrepreneurial spirit, education must instill and nurture scientific spirit and the thirst to innovate, among youngsters.

Our universities must strive to bridge the gap between theory and practice and promote research in a big way.

Our universities and institutions must network with  industries, R&D labs within India and abroad.

We must also impart Entrepreneurial Education in our technical institutions so that a larger number of our graduates do not end up as mere job seekers but possess the confidence and the skills to create businesses, jobs and wealth.

My dear students,

India’s strength is in its young people and you hold the key in transforming India into a major economic and technological power.

I sincerely hope that each one of you will remember your social responsibility – a commitment to give back to the people of India the fruits of technological advancements.

I once again extend my hearty congratulations to all the students who are receiving their degrees today. Good Luck to each one of you in your exciting journey in building a more prosperous, equitable, safer and cleaner India and the world.

My best wishes would be with all of you as you embark on this exciting world of almost unlimited possibilities.

Thank You!

Jai Hind!”

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