The Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu exhorted universities and higher educational institutions in the private sector to earmark a certain percentage of seats for the poorer sections and subsidize their education.
Delivering the 9th Convocational Address of the Lovely Professional University at Phagwara, Punjab, he said, unfortunately, quality private sector education has become out of bounds for the poor and marginalized sections. “Why should not private universities earmark a certain percentage of seats for students belonging to poorer sections and subsidize their education”, he asked.
The Vice President pointed out that the public sector alone cannot provide quality higher education for all and the private sector must pitch in. He said that industries and the private sector, in general, should supplement the efforts of the government in making quality education available to all. “Our challenge is to ensure the spread of knowledge to every section and every corner of our country”, he added.
Calling for a complete overhaul of our education system, the Vice President said that majority of our colleges have become mere breading centres for producing students with degree certificates rather than individuals with critical analytical skills. He expressed concern that students passing out of colleges were lacking the employable skills.
Quoting poor performance of Indian higher educational institutes, the Vice President stressed the need to improve the standards by leaps and bounds to make them globally competitive. He called for increasing the number of institutions and universities to meet the growing demand of students seeking higher education and to realize India’s target of a gross enrolment ratio of 30% by 2020.
The Vice President said that educational institutions must kindle the entrepreneurial spirit among the students. Our educational institutions must not only prepare students for life long careers but also as good and responsible citizens of the society, he said adding that students must become job creators rather than job seekers.
Lauding the farmers of Punjab for turning the state into rice bowl of India, the Vice President called for making agriculture sustainable through innovative methods. He suggested students studying agriculture must spend time with farmers to have a firsthand understanding of the problems faced by farmers. India must become self sufficient food security to battle the challenges such as hidden hunger, malnutrition, he added.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce, Punjab, Sunder Sham Arora, the Chancellor of Lovely Professional University, Ashok Mittal, the Pro-Chancellor, LPU, Rashmi Mittal and students of the university were in attendance at the venue.