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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 03.04.2014

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee in his capacity as Visitor, addressed a meeting of the Directors of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) at Rashtrapati Bhavan today ( April 3, 2014). The meeting was organized in follow up to the Conference of Vice Chancellors of Central Universities held in February 2013 and 2014 as well as the Conference of Directors of NITs held in November 2013.

Speaking on the occasion, the President called upon IISc and IISERs to promote a culture of excellence with zero tolerance for mediocrity. He said science, education, research and innovation are the four pillars on which the development as well as the work culture of a nation rests. Scientific temperament cannot happen unless we improve the delivery of education at all levels. IISERs must teach sciences in an intellectually vibrant atmosphere of research.

The President said the Government has announced the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013. One of the key elements of the Policy is to position India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020. The IISERs and IISc have to play a leading role in realizing our dream of scientific prowess.

Pointing out that the number of central institutions nearly doubled, from 55 to 106 during the Eleventh Plan period, the President expressed concern about the quality of education. He said the demographic dividend would be an empty dream if present educational standards are not upgraded. Our youth will end up contributing less to nation-building unless they are imparted quality education and requisite skills.

Following the President’s opening remarks, the Directors of IISc and IISERs made presentations on the agenda items for discussion, namely status of IISc and IISERs; issues which require Government support and preparation of a road map for making IISc and IISERs world class institutes.

Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Dr. C.N.R. Rao, National Research Professor and Shri Ashok Thakur, Secretary, Higher Education also addressed the meeting.

In his concluding remarks, the President said in spite of established institutions like IISc and IITs, India sends more than two lakh students abroad every year for tertiary education. He called upon Directors of IISc and IISERs to explore opportunities not only for our students but also to attract more foreign students to study in India. He said to make India a world power, we must nurture our own talent as well as global talent.

The President said good governance is the key to success in any organization. A flexible governance structure, which is monitorable, creative, and which keeps pace with the best global practices in the field of higher education is required. He called upon the Directors to create a data-base of alumni and induct alumni into positions in the governance structure.

The President said an ‘Industry Interface Cell’, comprising representatives of local industry, industry associations, alumni and faculty must be set up. The IISc and IISERs should also join the IITs and CUs in establishing an ‘innovation web’ to promote linkages between advanced research centres and grassroots innovators. The President urged the Directors to expeditiously expand infrastructure and faculty to ensure that their institutes operate at full capacity. He said such meetings would be held every year.

This release issued at 1420 hrs