The Vice President of India, M Venakiah Naidu today called upon all universities to promote University Social Responsibility on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and encourage students to take some form of social service so that they become responsible citizens of the country. “Involve yourself in a positive, meaningful and constructive manner in nation-building,” he added.Addressing the 28th Convocation of Pondicherry University, the Vice President asked students to attach primacy to academics and use their precious time at institutions for enhancement of knowledge and advancement of their career.Urging all youngsters to develop a positive attitude and to always remain socially relevant, the Vice President asked them to participate in programs such as Swachh Bharat, Beti Bachao- BetiPadhao, and other programs in a big way to transform them into people’s movements.Asserting that Universities must not remain the proverbial ‘ivory towers’, he said that they must be intimately connected with the social life of the people. He suggested that the curriculum must be reoriented to allow the student to spend half the time in the classroom and the remaining time in the field to have a firsthand understanding of the living conditions of the people in rural areas.Pointing out that academics of all higher education institutions must not only be rooted in the socio-economic context but must also flower and spread the fragrance of knowledge across the globe, the Vice President said that Universities must expand the universe of knowledge and ensure that it is not fragmented but composite, integrated and connected with life.
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.Shri Naidu said that the fourth dimension– learning to live together – was the most important in the present global context. He also highlighted the need for “emotional intelligence” of a student 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 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.Shri Naidu while asserting that blind opposition to any language was bad, said that everybody must try to learn as many languages as possible while learning his or her mother tongue. “There should be no imposition and no opposition to any language,” he reiterated.Drawing the audience’s attention to UGC’s guidelines “MulyaPravah – 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.
The Vice President advised Universities to teach morals and ethics to students daily, and encourage them to undertake any form of physical exercise or Yoga to stay fit and healthy.Lt. Governor of Union Territory of Puducherry & the Chief Rector of Pondicherry University, Dr. Kiran Bedi, the Chief Minister of Puducherry, Shri V. Narayanasamy, the Minister for Electricity, Education and Agriculture, Shri R. Kamalakannan, the Minister for Revenue, Industries and Commerce, Transport, Information Technology, Forest, Wakf Board and Minority Affairs, Shri M.O.H.F. Shahjahan, and Vice-Chancellor Prof. Gurmeet Singh, distinguished Members of various University bodies and others were present at the event.