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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 22.10.2013

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee attended the annual convocation of North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) today (October 22, 2013) at Shillong.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said the delivery of higher education in India cannot be allowed to continue in a routine fashion any longer. There has to be an elevated level of urgency amongst the administrators and academicians to introduce innovative changes in the institutions. Core problems have to be addressed expeditiously. A culture of excellence has to be promoted by allowing adequate flexibility in different aspects of academic management. One or two departments in every university that has core competency in a particular discipline, has outstanding faculty and has the potential to be developed into a centre of excellence, has to be adequately supported. In this context, he specially mentioned the Centre for Cultural and Creative Studies in NEHU, which is working towards realizing the artistic and cultural aspirations of the people. The Centre is collaborating with the indigenous community to preserve, project and promote the rich diversity of the North East. With the help of UGC, it is setting up a North-East India Centre for Diversities to showcase the rich diversity in the region. He urged the authorities to give their support to turn this department into a centre of excellence in a time bound manner.

The President said according to many international surveys, Indian universities are not reckoned amongst the top universities in the world. These rankings are based on certain specific criteria. The standards of our universities are much higher than what the rankings suggest but the Universities have not been able to adequately present our cases for a higher ranking.

Pointing out that it is over 80 years now since an Indian University produced a Nobel Prize winner, namely Dr. CV Raman, the President said that Dr. Amartya Sen, Dr. S. Chandrashekar and Dr. Hargobind Khorana were all graduates of Indian Universities but got their Nobel Prizes while working in US Universities. The President said we in India have the best teachers, students and the talent but we are not coordinated well. If we can make the right call at the right time, we will get the necessary response.

Citing the example of IIM Kolkata, the President said he was able to provide assistance to its Finance Lab as Finance Minister and he was informed just a few days back by IIM authorities that a recent Financial Times survey has ranked IIM-Kolkata as No. 1 in Finance and No. 2 in economics among the top 70 global business schools that offers Masters in Management programme.

The President said the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) has acted as a centre of empowerment of the people in North-Eastern region. He expressed his happiness over gender parity in the student population, with a 1:1 male-female ratio and the fact that women outperform men beyond the ratio. He said NEHU has fulfilled an important objective of India’s higher education system.

The President inaugurated an Innovation Club and witnessed an exhibition of Traditional Herbal Practitioners at NEHU. He also witnessed the NEHU Professors’ Patents Exhibition on the occasion


Also present at the Convocation were Dr. K.K. Paul, Governor of Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Prof. Andre Beteille, Chancellor of NEHU and Prof. P. Shukla, Vice Chancellor of NEHU.

This release issued at 1420 hrs