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Higher educational institutions must equip youth with 21st-century skills: VP

Higher educational institutions must equip youth with 21st-century skills: VP

November 15, 2021

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday urged higher education institutions to equip the youth with 21st century skills, as he pointed out that the 4th industrial revolution is knocking at our door, and India cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

He also called for the implementation of the National Education Policy in “letter and spirit.”

“Today, the 4th industrial revolution is knocking at our door and it is driven by the knowledge economy and cutting-edge technological innovations. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity and our higher education institutions must equip our youth with 21st-century skills,” Naidu said.

Addressing the 6th Convocation of PES University here, the he said NEP-2020 aims to transform and reorient the higher educational institutions of the country towards the challenges of the knowledge economy.

“The new education policy is a well documented, well researched and well thought of policy document, which has been presented to the country after a long, detailed discussion with all the stakeholders, and every university and educational institution, state and central government institutions, should seriously and truthfully implement the policy in letter and spirit,” he said.

The vice president said there is an urgent need to align our university classrooms to the emerging global trends such as 5G-based technologies which find applications in a wide range of areas including agriculture, medical, administrative, commerce and industrial management.

Commending that two satellites have been built and launched by the students and staff of PES University in association with DRDO and ISRO, he said, the government has brought in far-reaching reforms in the Space sector aimed at boosting private sector participation in space activities.

“I would urge our private institutions and universities to make the best use of this opportunity and to work towards making India self-reliant and technologically advanced in the space sector,” he added.

Further noting that the Drone technologies are another emerging area that offers tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy including agriculture, surveillance, transportation, defence, and law enforcement, the Vice President said the drone services industry is expected to generate over five lakh jobs in the next three years and India with its traditional strengths in innovation, IT and frugal engineering has the potential of becoming a global drone hub in the coming decade.

“We must focus our attention on creating skilled manpower for this sector….. In fact, all our higher education institutions and universities should be alive to national needs and they must review and align their existing courses to the emerging global trends or start new courses in tune with them,” he said.

In the 21st century, the global economy is dominated by knowledge-related activities, he said, adding that India aims to become a multi-trillion dollar economy by 2050 and NEP-2020 sets a target of at least 50 per cent of this to come from knowledge-related activities and skills. Technological universities have a special role to play in transforming India into a knowledge power.

Suggesting universities to lay more emphasis on implementable patents under Intellectual Property rights (IPR) rather than academic patents to give a fillip to economy and industry, the Vice President said India urgently needs to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to R&D and must also strengthen industry-institute linkages for better research outcomes.

“I find that many technical books used by engineering students in India are published by foreign authors. It would be good if our learned academicians could promote knowledge economy by authoring books of global standards on contemporary themes. I say so because Indian authors can better contextualize the engineering course content with regard to Indian socio-economic conditions,” he said.

This would be helpful for the young students as they would be able to better understand and find solutions to the many problems faced by rural India, farmers and other underprivileged groups in the society, he said. “We must also strive to create study material in Indian languages for the benefit of our students. We must promote Indian languages. I would like to see a day when all the technical courses including medicine are taught in the mother tongue of the student,” he added.

Naidu also called upon indigenous publication of academic journals to retain copyright and ownership of knowledge generated in this country, which otherwise is likely to be transferred to the international journals in which our research papers get published.

Highlighting that socially relevant research and technologies are the need of the hour, the VP said in their journey towards excellence, universities also need to address nationally relevant and globally sensitive issues.

“In recent times, two such issues are demanding global attention viz., climate change and sustainable development. Technological universities and national institutes have an obligation to participate in these globally prioritised issues,” he added.

Also Read:Re-orient education system to make students think rationally: Vice President

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