Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the inauguration of the new campus of the Central University of Kerala and dedicating the educational institution to the nation, in Kasargod, Kerala on April 29, 2018.

Kasargod, Kerala | April 29, 2018

"I am extremely delighted to inaugurate the new campus of the Central University of Kerala at Tejaswini Hills and dedicate the educational institution to the nation.

I extend my greetings to all the eminent educationists, faculty members, non-teaching staff, students and the civil society of Kerala on this momentous occasion. I also take this opportunity to congratulate the academic and administrative leadership of the university.

At the very outset I would like to convey my deep sense of appreciation to the people of Kerala for making the State a pioneer in education and social development. Enlightened leadership of persons like Sree Chithira Thirunal, inspiration from reformers like Sri Narayana Guru and a long history of investment in education by missionaries and local social reform bodies has made Kerala almost a fully literate society. Yet there are persistent challenges too.

Kasaragod district is rich in culture and history. It was part of Dakshina Kannada before state reorganization which took place on November 1, 1956. Kasragod was part of Kannur district until 1984 and since then it became the northern most district of Kerala. Kasaragod has several popular arts and traditions like Theyyam, Poorakkali and Yakshaganam. It is rich in languages and reflecting the multi lingual tradition, Kasaragod is also known as Sapthabhasha Bhumi.

The presence of Central University of Kerala in Kasaragod is a blessing for the people of North Malabar. The region requires a thrust in education, health and infrastructure. I am sure that the presence of the Central University of Kerala will not only meet the educational requirements but also contribute towards improving the quality of life in Kasaragod in particular and Kerala in general.

Opening of a new campus today will hopefully open new vistas for the students and the faculty as they continue their quest for academic excellence and ensure that this institution on the Tejaswini Hills spreads its ‘tejas’ or illumination far and wide, transforming the world view and also the world.

Sisters and Brothers, education lays the foundation for the progress of a nation. Higher education, in particular, plays an important role in building a knowledge-based society of the 21st century. All the higher educational institutions, including Central Universities have an onerous responsibility in transforming the country into an focal point of knowledge and innovation.

If you recall, India was once known as “Vishwaguru” and people from across the globe used to come here to study and acquire knowledge and expertise in different domains. However, the situation changed following foreign invasions and the British rule and India lost its pre-eminent position in the field of education. Today, the country has a chance to re-emerge as a global powerhouse in the field of education. But this requires tremendous transformation from reorienting the syllabi to improving the infrastructure with the sole objective of imparting world class quality education.

Although there are more than 800 universities in India, none of them figures in the top-ranking educational institutions in the world. We cannot adopt ‘business as usual’ approach if we want to change the situation. From private educational institutions to Central Universities like yours, every academic organization must work in a mission mode to revamp the educational architecture in tune with the requirements of the 21st century to make India a leading nation in the field of education and innovation. Owing to the scope and pace of change, society has become increasingly knowledge-based and the institutes of higher learning and research are the main vehicles for cultural and socio-economic development of individuals, communities and nations.

Even though, India has the third largest higher education system in the world, its Gross Enrolment Ratio is only 25.2%. Considering the huge demographic dividend the country is blessed with, it is imperative that higher education system should expand qualitatively and quantitatively for the betterment of the nation and society. Ultimately, it should aim at the creation of a new, inclusive society, non-violent and non- exploitative, consisting of highly cultivated and motivated individuals inspired by love for humanity and guided by wisdom.

Education is not only for employment and the purpose of education is to enlighten, empower and develop a holistic individual whose moral compass will never swerve from the righteous path. Education must build character, caliber and capacity, besides promoting rightful conduct.

Dear students, always remember that you are inheritors of a great culture and heritage with a rich civilizational history. You should be the torch bearers of our culture, traditions, ethos and customs. There is nothing wrong in adopting and assimilating good practices from elsewhere, but always remain rooted to our age-old culture and heritage. Here, I would like recall the famous words of the Father of the Nation : “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any”.

Higher Education has profoundly changed in the past two decades. While it may not yet be possible to think of higher education as a global system, a considerable convergence can be seen among the world's universities and higher education systems. As a result of globalization, our graduates need to be competitive not only in a local or national context, but in an increasingly global market. In this ‘global village’ our graduates as future leaders need a new kind of intercultural understanding, respect for common rules and fair play, an understanding of different interests, views and ways of thinking, and the ability to analyze and synthesize.

I am glad to know that since its inception in 2009, Central University of Kerala has carved a niche for itself by giving impetus to education in this backward region. The students’ enrolment went up from 17 in 2009 to 1426 during the year 2017-18. It is projected to achieve student enrolment of 5000 by 2022. Coming from 16 States, the students represent the national character of this university.

I am happy to know that the university is providing the best teaching and learning environments to the students. The right atmosphere will facilitate their creativity to flourish. I would like the University to give thrust to research in a big way as also establish linkages with industry so that the courses are in tune with the requirements of the industry.

As we all know, today’s universities are models of teaching excellence, research, innovation and collaboration. The barriers to the advancement of education must be removed to fulfill the full potential and for the students to take full advantage of their educational opportunities and credentials. For bringing about a substantial change and development, the solution to major challenges require strong involvement not only of the government and the institution, but also of all stakeholders including students and their families, teachers and community as a whole.

I was informed that the University was accredited to the NAAC in the year 2016 and awarded B++ in its first cycle of evaluation. The NIRF ranking is between 100 and 150 and rated in top 5% of all educational institutions of our country. While appreciating these recognitions, I would like to remind all the stake holders to be conscious of improving the NAAC grade in the next cycles.

The university must implement specific teaching and learning strategies and design mechanisms and instruments to improve the quality of education. With diminishing resources and increasing competition, the challenges may seem insurmountable. Nevertheless, the institutions must continue their efforts to foster quality teaching and improve student learning outcomes. The Central university of Kerala has still a long way to go. While on the one side there is a great need to have dedicated teams with focused vision and mission to take the current activities to surmountable heights, on the other hand, we continuously need to be open-minded for reaching new heights.

Thank you all once again for your esteemed presence and attention on this eventful occasion!