President Pranab Mukherjee today called upon educational institutions to maintain and upgrade the standard of education imparted.
He was asserting that universities need to develop in their students a scientific temper and a curriculum that will encourage the growth of research and innovation.
Speaking at the felicitation function at Suri Vidyasagar College, Suri, Birbhum, where he studied for many years, Mukherjee said that to provide greater access to quality higher education to more students, the financial assistance offered must increasingly offer a mix of scholarships, education loans and self-help plans such as 'earn while you learn' schemes.
" Increasing the reach of education in the country, flexible models such as 'open', and 'distance' learning are far-reaching initiatives and should be encouraged and supported, he said".
"I am told that the response to such initiatives has increased - from around 27 lakh in 2006-07 to 42 lakh in 2011-12. This is a positive development. While information technology has been put effectively at the disposal of distance learning programmes, more innovative use of technology needs to be made so that besides increasing its coverage, modules can be devised that are more user-friendly," he added.
The President further said that we must take full advantage of India's fortunate demographic ratio and that our economy's sustained economic growth would depend on appropriate human capital formation.
"Government of India's 12th Plan Strategy includes a series of initiatives. These include the establishment of more Central Universities, greater emphasis on technical education and distance learning, academic reforms, interest subsidy on education loans, establishment of innovation universities, expansion of existing institutions and a focus on better quality - in research, infrastructure, faculty and curriculum content,' he said".
"The strategy gives due emphasis to greater outreach and more opportunities for all the sections of our society. Governance reforms and restructuring will also be a timely measure. All these initiatives are welcome and outcome oriented. We should support Government's efforts through private partnerships as much as we can and wherever these are possible and feasible," he added.