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Pranab asks IITs to improve quality of education

Posted on Aug 22 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 22 : President Pranab Mukherjee Friday asked the IITs to explore ways to improve the country's quality of higher education so that India can become a global supplier of skilled manpower.

Speaking at the inauguration of a day-long conference of chairmen, board of governors and directors of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mukherjee described the IITs as "knowledge leaders of the nation" and urged them to "explore how quality of education can be improved".

"There is need for soul searching on what is holding back good governance in institutes of higher learning," said the president as he called upon the council of IITs to draw up a roadmap for governance in line with the best global practices and implement it without delay.

"In spite of our technical capabilities to put the satellites of other countries into space, we are still importing technology starting from security features and papers for Indian currency to defence equipment," he said.

The president advised the council to focus on how IITs can become a source for meeting technology needs of the government and become a harbinger of the vision 'Make in India' and 'Made in India'.

"So far we have been giving attention to industry-academia inter-linkages, but now we also must focus on the government-academia inter-linkages," he said.

The president said constraints such as huge shortage of faculty should be urgently addressed as the vacancy position in IITs varies from 10 to 52 percent, and the overall vacancy in 16 IITs is over 37 percent.

He said India's biggest strength in the coming years is going to be its demographic dividend. "This offers us a unique opportunity to become a global supplier of skilled manpower. For this, we must achieve our target of training 500 million people by 2022".

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