Drawing attention to the challenges of public funding of higher education, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee advocated the need to design ‘tailor-made’ public-private partnership models, albeit with regulatory oversight of the government. He was delivering the first Convocation address of the Central University of Orissa in Koraput on Sunday.
Mr. Mukherjee said the foremost challenge in the higher education sector in India was also to bring about equity and quality. He pointed to the increasing working age population of the country, and felt that the demographic dividend in the country’s favour for the next three decades owing to declining dependency ratio can be leveraged only if our youth are imbibed with education and relevant skills. He expressed the hope that the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) would contribute to the realization of the advantages of the demographic dividend.
Appreciating the performance of the Central University at Koraput, which he felt had started contributing to the long term benefit for the economic development of the region, Mr. Mukherjee commended the efforts of the new University in launching several need-based programmes particularly for tribal and community development.
Globalisation has a very significant impact on India and it was all the more necessary to ensure relevance of higher education in order to attain excellence, said Mr. Mukherjee.
The Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Orissa Dr. Surabhi Banerjee said the perspective plan of the University was going to define its uniqueness. “It is not going to be yet another university in the multitude of run-of-the-mill academic institutions. It definitely aspires to become a University with a difference which aims at making a difference in the lives of the people.’’
The corpus of a sound, full-bodied and a timeless institution is created only when you prepare the strong cast and frame and instill the flow of quality life into its veins. This was the only way to strengthen the academic stem of the University, she said.
According to Ms. Banerjee, the University was quintessentially conceived as an avant-grade premier institution of the new millennium which calls for a world-driven higher education agenda. “It is indeed an uphill task at this point of time to develop an exemplary academic institution with a pan-Indian perspective which should be optimally wedded to a global vision, because we are now in the process of reinventing and of redefining higher education in a pronouncedly globalised context.’’
As many as 106 graduating students were awarded their degrees at the Convocation. The Orissa Governor M.C.Bhandare and Chief Minister Navin Patnaik also addressed the students at the function. Hindu