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It is imperative that we safeguard and promote equity in higher education: Vice President

New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that it is imperative that we safeguard and promote equity in higher education and ensure inclusion of women, minorities, and differently abled persons, providing them a barrier free higher education environment. He was addressing the gathering at the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi, Kerala today.

The Vice President congratulated the institution, its staff and students on the auspicious occasion and expressed hope that the wealth of experience gained by the institution would help them lead many more youngsters towards wisdom & enlightenment.

Shri Naidu applauded the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), for the many contributions to education they have made under the enlightened leadership of their founder, the visionary Saint Kuriakose Chavara. The Vice President said that Saint Kuriakose Chavara did not consider holiness as living aloof from the society, but as engaging in the society in a constructive manner.

Stating that education is not only for employment but for enlightenment, enhancement of knowledge and empowerment, Shri Naidu said that education should aim at the holistic development of all faculties of ‘head’, ‘hand’ and ‘heart’. ‘It should provide the knowledge, skills and attitude required for the 21st century’, he added.

Speaking about India’s stature as the Vishwaguru to the world, the Vice President said that scholars, students and knowledge seekers from all over the world came to the great universities of Nalanda and Takshashila in search of knowledge and wisdom. He said that education is the foundation for growth and development, both of individuals and society.

Explaining the true Dharma of education, the Vice President said that education is the process by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, and intellect is sharpened. He went on to say that education is the ability to break free from dogmas and abhorrent social practices such as discrimination and casteism.

Shri Naidu said that true education would equip the youth to contribute to the material progress of the country as well as to maintain India’s cultural and spiritual heritage. ‘Every child, rich or poor should be equally equipped to fully explore these possibilities and reach the zenith of their capabilities’, he added.

Highlighting the importance of research and development, Shri Naidu said that we should strive to create an enabling atmosphere in the higher educational institutions to promote research and innovations.

The Vice President said that education would flourish only when all those with a stake in its success work closely together. He urged civil society groups, community organisations, parents, teacher associations, professional bodies, women and youth groups to work together to strengthen education.

Speaking about the need to focus sharply on the “quality” of education, Shri. Naidu cautioned that unless we improve the learning outcomes, the system will be functioning at a sub-optimal level.

The Vice President said that our youngsters would have to live and work in a more automated and disruptive world driven by technology. He opined that our higher education system must be forever ready to update and upgrade.

Expressing his pleasure at inaugurating the ‘Vijnana Veedhi’ project by distributing 500 Kindles to 100 educational institutions in Ernakulam under the aegis of the NGO ‘Vidyadhanam’ of Prof. K.V. Thomas, MP, Shri Naidu expressed hope that the Kindles would help kindle curiosity and foster innovation in young minds.

The Vice President dwelled upon the transformative role played by Technology in knowledge gathering and said that technology helped to truly democratizes education. ‘I am happy that Kerala has been at the forefront of digital literacy movement’, he added.

The Vice President said that India was undergoing a digital revolution. Observing that technology had to a large extent succeeded in taking the fruits of progress to the last mile, he said that it had further concretized transparency and accountability and had enhanced the participation of people in governance.

Shri Naidu urged educational institutions to utilize the unending possibilities of technology to provide better, more accessible and inclusive education. He also said that along with technology, one must have the caring mentorship of the teachers and parents who can guide the learners and facilitate gaining knowledge as well as wisdom.

Applauding Kerala for doing very well in terms of economic indicators and infrastructure, the Vice President said that it was Kerala’s people who had made the state unique. Citing Kerala’s life expectancy statistics, educational achievements, and sex ratio, he said that Kerala’s progress was exemplary. ‘Kerala has also been a welcoming home for all religions’, he added.

The Governor of Kerala, Shri Justice (Retd.) P. Sathasivam, the Mayor of Cochin, Ms. Soumini Jain, the Member of Parliament, Shri. K.V. Thomas, the Member of Legislative Assembly, Shri Hibi Eden and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

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