Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that Universities cannot and should not remain the proverbial ‘ivory towers’ and said that they must be intimately connected with the social life of the people.
Addressing the 28th Convocation of Pondicherry University, the Vice President wanted academics of all higher educational institutions to be rooted in the socio-economic context but must flower and spread the fragrance of knowledge across the globe. He said such a connection would result in great synergy and help in unleashing the untapped energy of our people.
Observing that any university that aims at academic and research excellence must keep itself in the forefront of the knowledge revolution, Vice President Naidu said that it would be possible only if the university keeps its doors and windows open to new trends and innovative ideas from across the globe.
The Vice President called for reorienting the education system to match the needs of the 21st century and at the same time wanted it to be rooted in Indian values and ethics. He said a holistic education that refines human beings and expands not only the intellect and skills but also the essential human qualities like empathy, compassion, respect, tolerance and positive thinking was the need of the hour.
The Vice President urged all institutions such as the Pondicherry University, to give equal importance to all the four pillars of learning suggested by UNESCO such as Learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together is equally important.
Vice President Naidu said that the fourth dimension– learning to live together – was the most important in the present global context. He also highlighted the need to emphasize on “emotional intelligence” of a student in order to enhance his/her ability to be a good human being, a balanced, rational and sensitive person who uses knowledge for the common good of humanity.
Referring to Sri Aurobindo’s views on living education, the Vice President said that education has to be holistic and it must be enlightening and empowering. “It should not be merely for employment,” he added.
Drawing the audience’s attention to UGC’s guidelines “Mulya Pravah – Inculcation of Human Values and Professional Ethics in Higher Educational Institutions”, the Vice President asked institutions to strive to create the following five systems:
1. The learning process for holistic development
2. Impeccable governance
3. Effective institutional management
4. Well laid system of rewards and chastisement
5. Institutional climate where ‘rights’ enjoy and ‘wrongs’ are discouraged.
Pointing out that “Vishwa Vidyalayas” create, connect and transmit knowledge across generations, across geographies, the Vice President said that expand the universe of knowledge, which was not fragmented but composite, integrated and connected with life.
In this context, the Vice President appreciated the varsity for helping out the local community by providing job oriented skills through their community college initiative.