Universities should foster plurality and coexistence, not prejudice and hate: President

Bombay (Mumbai): President Pranab Mukherjee says there should be no room for intolerance, prejudice and hatred in educational institutes. In fact, educational institutes should act as flag bearers for coexistence of multiple views.

Addressing a special convocation of the University of Mumbai to confer Honorary Doctor of Law to famous agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan, (March 17) he said the higher education sector has a crucial role in national developmental effort.

“We should embrace free conversation and even argument, leaving behind narrow mindsets and thoughts. The lesson for a modern Indian university is to ensure that this great tradition finds new life and vigour within its precincts,” President Mukherjee said.

The President also received the first postal stamp released here on the occasion of the university completing 160 years this year.

He  said higher education institutes must act as flag bearers for coexistence of multiple views, thoughts and philosophies. “There should be no room for intolerance, prejudice and hatred within spaces of our educational institutions.”

The Indian President, a history post-graduate himself, said ancient India was known for the high-level philosophical debates and discussions it nurtured.

“India was not a mere geographical expression but it reflected an idea and a culture. Conversation and dialogue are part of our ethos and life. They cannot be done away with.

Universities and higher education institutions are the best fora for free exchange of views,” he said.

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Emphasising on the importance of higher education on the economy, the President said, “The quality of training provided to students employed by the economy determines the level of its competence.

“Induction of quality manpower is the first point of contact the economy has with the higher education system,” he said.

President Mukherjee said courses in the campuses must be aligned to the needs of the industry.

“It will be beneficial to have corporate experts advising academic managers on industrial requirements in the course curricula,” the President said.

President Mukherjee said a good education system is one that can help develop social responsiveness in students.

“Ways should be devised to integrate student engagement with society in the academic framework,” he said.

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