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The Vice President calls upon youth to adhere to the traditions of tolerance and respect and to protect our pluralistic culture

India of the future would be powered by the dreams and ambitions, the character and competence of young people: Vice President; 

We must rethink and re-orient our educational system in the context of the twenty first century;

We have to turn our system around to inspire critical thinking among students.

Attends Convocation of Panjab University.

open view news reporter

The Vice President of India, Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu said today that the youth of our nation must shoulder the greater social responsibility of exercising judgement in looking at social issues. He urged them to adhere to the traditions of tolerance and respect and protect our pluralistic culture.

He was addressing the 68th convocation of Panjab University of which he is the Chancellor, in ChandigarhtodayShri. Naidu said that Panjab University had a glorious past and is one of the oldest universities in India, set in a land which has witnessed centuries of civilisation & dedication to spreading knowledge in ancient centres of learning like Takshila.

He expressed his happiness at the University’s relentless quest for academic excellence and the rapid progress it has made in providing quality education to its 15000 students enrolled in about 200 affiliated colleges, 3 regional centers, 6 constituent colleges and one rural center. 

The Vice President congratulated Panjab University for having secured the 34th position among all academic institutions in the nation, in the recent rankings under the National Institutional Ranking Framework. He also applauded the University’s focused efforts towards cultivating innovation and entrepreneurship among students. ‘I am very happy that the University has been recognized by the UGC as the “University with potential for excellence in Biomedical Sciences” with facilities for stem cell Research and Drug development’, he added.

The Vice President opined that Institution building is not an easy task and added that it requires vision, passion, competence, commitment, dedicated hard work and the ability to tap into the infinite potential within individuals and a network of institutions. He urged all stake holders of the Panjab University to keep up the momentum of their good work and not let complacency set in.

Shri. Naidu affirmed that India of the future would be powered by the dreams and ambitions, the character and competence of young people. He stated that we will be able to fully realize the vast demographic dividend in the years to come only if we can empower our youth with the right skills and attitudes.

The Vice President proposed that we must rethink and re-orient our educational system in the context of the twenty first century when the concerns of ecology, of human welfare and the welfare of the planet are equally imperative. ‘It is possible only if we turn our system around, including aspects of curriculum and evaluation, towards critical thinking’, he said.

Observing that access to higher education has been improved considerably in our country, Shri. Naidu said that we have to focus upon raising the quality of education and ensuring that we offer the best possible education to our young people.

The Vice President suggested that we have to have institutions which are continuously nourished by five important streams of “inquisitiveness”, “innovation”, ethos that inspire “inspiration”, “integration” which encourages inter-disciplinary and collaborative learning and an “internalized value system”, just like Panjab which is irrigated by 5 rivers

Shri Naidu also urged the youth of the nation to use the means of communication that technology has provided, responsibly. He emphasized that these modern means of communication must be used to facilitate social harmony and to cultivate a culture of healthy and civilized discussion on many of the pressing problems such as class and gender inequalities and the needs of the less privileged in society. ‘We need to address these problems with empathy and sincerity’, he added.

The Vice President also extended felicitations to Dr. K. Sivan, the Chairman of ISRO and one of our country’s foremost space scientists who was being honored by Panjab University with the Vigyan Ratna Award.  ‘Dr. Sivan’s outstanding work is an eloquent testimony of India’s extraordinary capability in space science and technology’, he said.

Shri V.P. Singh Badnore, Hon’ble Governor of Punjab, Prof. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University, Prof. Shankarji Jha, Dean of University Instruction, Prof. Karamjeet Singh, Registrar, Panjab University and others were also present at the occasion.

The following is the full text of the speech:

इस प्रसिद्ध विश्वविद्यालय के 68वें दीक्षांत समारोह के अवसर पर आप सभी महानुभावों के बीच आकर प्रसन्नता का अनुभव कर रहा हूं। अविभाजित भारत के लाहौर शहरमें, सन् 1882 में स्थापित इस विश्वविद्यालय की समृद्ध शैक्षणिक और वैचारिक परंपरा रही है। विभाजन के बाद 1956 में यह विश्वविद्यालय चंडीगढ़ में स्थानान्तरित करदिया गया। आधुनिकभारत के सबसे पुराने विश्वविद्यालयों में से एक, यह विश्वविद्यालय उस क्षेत्र में स्थित है जिसने शताब्दियों तक मानव सभ्यता को विकसित होते देखा है। जहां के तक्षशिला जैसे प्राचीन शिक्षण संस्थानों ने सदियों तक पीढ़ियों को ज्ञान के प्रकाश से प्रकाशित किया है। इस विश्वविद्यालय की ख्याति को रूचिरामसाहनीऔरशांतिस्वरूपभटनागर जैसे प्रतिष्ठित शिक्षाविदों ने संवारा है। इस विश्वविद्यालय ने हमारे राष्ट्रीय जीवन में महत्वपूर्ण योगदान दिया है। हमारे पूर्व राष्ट्रपति डॉ. शंकर दयाल शर्मा, पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री डॉ. मनमोहन सिंह तथा स्व. श्रीइंद्रकुमार गुजराल साहब, वरिष्ठ मंत्री श्रीमतीसुषमा स्वराज जी, वरिष्ठ प्रशासक श्रीएन.एन. वोहरा तथा श्रीमतीकिरण बेदी, नोबल पुरस्कार से सम्मानित प्रोफेसर हरगोविंद खुराना, प्रो. यशपाल, अंतरिक्ष यात्री कल्पना चावला, डॉ. दीपक पेंटल, न्यायमूर्ति हंसराज खन्ना तथा न्यायविद सत्यपाल जैन जैसी अनेक प्रतिष्ठित हस्तियों ने यहां से शिक्षा ग्रहण कर, समाज और राष्ट्रीय जीवन में योगदान दिया है।

Dear students and faculty members,

You are all heirs to this rich intellectual tradition established over a period of more than 100 years.  I am happy to note that the university continues to sustain this quest for academic excellence and is taking rapid strides in providing quality education to its 15000 students enrolled in about 200 affiliated colleges, 3 regional centres, 6 constituent colleges and one rural centre. 

The recent rankings under the National Institutional Ranking Framework have put Panjab University at the 34th rank among all the academic institutions in the country.  I am happy to note that it is ranked 21 in the top 100 universities in India.  It is also very heartening that it figures at rank No. 2 in the top 75 institutions as far as pharmacy is concerned.  I am told that it has been placed at the 9th rank in the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation achievements 2019.  I compliment the VC, faculty and the entire staff of Panjab University for these commendable achievements.

Dear Students and faculty members,

This is an institution with a glorious past and has emerged as an institution of great repute.  All of you are continuously shaping this institution through your thoughts and actions. 

Institution building is not an easy task. It requires vision, passion, competence and commitment. It requires dedicated hard work and the ability to tap into the infinite potential within individuals and a network of institutions.

It is not a static unmoving phenomenon.

Institutions are built when there is a shared vision among all the stakeholders especially all the teaching faculty, the research community and the other supporting staff. In short, all of you are partners in the progress of this institution. I am sure each one of you will keep up this momentum and not let complacency set in. Nor should you do anything that will sully the image of this institution.

Dear students and faculty members,

Today’s convocation is a milestone, a culmination of all your efforts and a celebration of your achievements. For the students, this is a moment of fulfillment as well as a moment of excited anticipation of the future. 

For the teachers, it is a moment of reflection, a moment to recount the memorable moments of interaction with young minds, of imparting knowledge skills and attitudes.

For the parents of the students, it is also a moment of deep satisfaction for the parents to see their children graduate and successfully complete a major phase of their educational journey.

Today is also a special moment when you are honouring Dr. K. Sivan, Chairman ISRO one of our country’s foremost space scientists.  

It is a special celebration because it points to the new limitless opportunities that await all the young people today.  Dr. Sivan’s outstanding work is an eloquent testimony of India’s extraordinary capability. His achievements in space technology show how there are virtually no limits to our achievements if only we can set our sights clearly on our mission and work diligently by acquiring and using our knowledge for the good of humanity.

Many of you are probably aware that nearly 65% of our population is under the age of 35 years.  Tomorrow’s India will be powered by the dreams and ambitions, the character and competence of young people both those who are now in our educational institutions as well as those who are not able to join these institutions. 

If we can empower our youth with the right skills and attitudes, we will be able to fully realize the vast demographic dividend in the years to come. That is indeed a big challenge before the country today.

The youth must be fully equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century with confidence and contribute to the shaping of a new world.

But how can we really equip the young people – which includes the young students present here – to contribute in the best way? It is possible only if we turn our system around, including aspects of curriculum and evaluation, towards critical thinking. What Swami Vivekananda had said is most relevant in the contemporary context: “The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for life, which does not bring out the strength of character, spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name?”

We must rethink and re-orient our educational system in the context of the twenty first century when the concerns of ecology, of human welfare and the welfare of the planet are equally imperative.

For the students receiving their degrees on what is a momentous occasion in their lives, these ideas have a great meaning and resonance.  It is certainly a privilege and an achievement to attain degrees of higher education at a premier university. Along with this justified sense of pride and achievement, there is also a sense of hope and expectation of what the future will bring.  And it is also a time for planning the next stage of life, and of working in the competitive environment we see around us.

There is also a greater social responsibility that youth has to shoulder. There is a need to exercise judgement in looking at social issues and be part of the traditions of tolerance and respect that are characteristic of our pluralistic culture. The means of communication that technology has provided us should be used to facilitate social harmony and to cultivate a culture of healthy and civilized discussion on many of the pressing problems such as class and gender inequalities, and the needs of the less privileged in society, which we need to address with empathy and sincerity.

We have expanded access to higher education in our country and today, more and more students are studying in our educational institutions than ever before but what we have to still focus on is to raise the quality of education and ensure that we offer the best possible education to our young people.

How do we build a quality institution? Like Punjab which is irrigated by 5 rivers, we have to have institutions which are continuously nourished by five important streams. What are these streams that create and nurture excellence?

First, a quality institution must foster “inquisitiveness”, a spirit of discovery, research and exploration, a quest to expand the frontiers of knowledge. 

Second, the institution must actively support “innovativeness”, a creative, path breaking, out-of-the box thinking ability.

Third, the institutional ethos must be “inspirational” that promotes excellence and a willingness to become active lifelong learners.

Fourth, the academic approach should be “integrational” which encourages inter-disciplinary learning and collaborative learning across geographies and disciplines.

Fifth, the institutional climate should exemplify an “internalized value system” in the way faculty members work together and interact with students and how the governance structures promote openness, mutual respect and collegiality.

I would urge the Vice Chancellor and his team to keep these facets as an overarching framework to forge ahead in their future efforts to make this prestigious university a knowledge hub we can all be proud of.

I am glad to know that the university is focusing on several verticals in the domain of innovation and entrepreneurship and is also taking a leading role in consolidation and integration of knowledge clusters in the region.

This is certainly a step in the right direction and needs further emphasis in the years to come.  I also compliment the university for entering into Memorandum of Understanding with more than 100 universities and research institutes both within India and outside. This exchange of ideas is bound to be very fruitful to propel Panjab University into higher orbit of academic excellence and leadership in the years to come.

I am very happy that the University has been recognized by the UGC as the “University with potential for excellence in Biomedical Sciences” with facilities for stem cell Research and Drug development.

I do hope all of you will collectively strive to create a brighter future for the university and build on the strengths you have inherited from your predecessors whose tireless efforts have made this such a premier institution of higher learning in the country.

As the Chancellor of this University, I look forward to learning of your endeavours and achievements.  I wish you all the very best.

Jai hind!

28/04/2019

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