Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday called on Indian academic institutions to lay emphasis on quality research work to earn global recognition and build “an educational eco-system comparable with the best in the world”. “There have to be sincere deliberations on various forms towards an educational eco-system comparable with the best in world and the higher education sector must align itself with the global education sectors. Aspiring universities should encourage mobility of persons and ideas across the globe. “Adopting a worldview would help institutions in getting accepted by the global community of higher education and it will add to their academic repute,” Mukherjee said while addressing students at the 62nd annual convocation of Jadavpur University.
The university conferred a Degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) on Mukherjee and former University Grants Commission chairman Ved Prakash. West Bengal Governor and the University’s Chancellor Keshari Nath Tripathi presided over the convocation. Mukherjee also said that free thinking and exchange of ideas can create a scientific temper and cultivate a spirit of curiosity in young minds. “It (the university) has championed the cause of many social and political challenges and it should not waiver from the path while pursuing academic excellence. A good education system is one that empowers and enables an individual with social responsiveness,” he said.
Alleging that the UGC was discriminating between central and state universities in terms of funds allocations, Jadavpur University Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das said such discriminatory nature of the commission was causing financial constraints to his institution. “The nature of UGC funding mechanism – 65% allocation of its annual budget for only 47 central universities and 35% funding for 375 state universities – is a reflection of the discriminatory nature,” he said.
According to him, out of the university’s annual receipts of Rs 291.56 crore in 2016-17, the state government’s contribution was 67.6% while the UGC’s contribution was 19.5%. “Fortunately in the same period, the university itself was able to generate an amount of Rs 15.95 crore or 5.47% of the total budget outlay of the university. So we could carry on our pursuit for excellence in research and academics,” Das added.