Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President at the Second Convocation of Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on 8th August 2019.

Indore, Madhya Pradesh | August 8, 2019

I am indeed delighted to address all of you on the occasion of Second Convocation of Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya.
At the outset, let me congratulate all the degree and medal recipients. I also convey my greetings to all the parents on this memorable occasion.
The efforts of 135-year-old Shri Vaishnav Committee and the Group of Trusts, Indore in establishing Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya (SVVV) to impart quality education are worthy of appreciation.
Over the years, the role of the private sector in Indian higher education has increased significantly and many outstanding private institutions across the country have contributed towards providing quality education to people.  
However, higher education in the country continues to face many fundamental challenges of access, equity, affordability and quality. Although India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world in terms of enrollment, next only to China and the United States, its Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at 25.4% significantly lags behind other countries like China, which, currently, has an enrollment ratio of 43.39% and USA, which has 85.8%.
Also, there is a wide disparity in GERs across states, urban and rural areas and gender. We need to address this issue on a war footing. Quality of faculty and infrastructure need to be further enhanced.
I am confident that the private universities and institutions will play an instrumental role in overcoming these challenges through the creation of knowledge networks, research and innovation centres, skill development programs and support for faculty development.
With technology making deep inroads in our day-to-day lives, there is a greater need today than ever before to align academic curriculum in accordance with changing technological developments. As a matter-of-fact, we not only need to keep abreast of the latest technological trends, but strive to stay ahead of the curve for the country to reach greater heights.  
To this effect, I would like to impress upon all academic establishments and the UGC, AICTE to completely revamp the curricula and teaching methods, utilize latest IT tools and promote the culture of research in a big way. We need to upscale the research facilities to produce world class publications in reputed international journals. Research is an area where we are lagging behind and serious efforts are needed to bolster the culture of research and innovation in the country.   
Another area that needs a huge boost is the collaboration between academia and industry. In fact, the industry must earmark CSR funds for promoting collaboration with the academia and research activities. The students coming out of our institutions should be innovative and creative to meet the requirements of the technology-driven world. In essence, a stronger collaboration between academic institutions and industry must evolve.
India is very soon going to have the largest population of youth in the world. This is India’s demographic dividend. India can become the human resource centre of the world. We cannot any longer continue with status quo. We must turn our educational institutions into centres of excellence with global standards.
As we all are aware, India was once known as ‘Vishwaguru’ and was home to the world’s best universities. Our universities and educational institutional institutions must again attain such heights and figure in top-ranking global academic institutions. For that to happen, all stakeholders in the educational field must make relentless and dedicated efforts.
The potential of demographic dividend can be realized if every segment contributes in its capacity to the fullest. In order to benefit from the capabilities of our youth, educational institutions must also involve them in community development activities. There is a need for inculcating the qualities of sharing and caring among youngsters. They need to have empathy for others, particularly for the vulnerable and marginalized sections of the society.
My dear students, your hard work of years has today culminated into an academic degree. Don’t look at this degree as an end to your education. Rather, it should serve as a catalyst for further pursuits of knowledge. Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world. Change is the only constant.
And to keep up with this change, learning should not be seen as an end but as a means to achieve greater heights in life. You should continuously update yourself with the latest technologies, innovations and the changes in the world. Belief is one of the most powerful tools behind the success of a person—be it personal or professional.
Dear students,
My advice to all of you is to think of the nation first. No doubt, you must all be dreaming of building a great career ahead. Work hard with determination to realize your dreams and strive dedicatedly to build a New India. Let us collectively fulfill the aspirations of more than a billion people.
India today stands at the cusp of a tremendous demographic opportunity. 65% of India’s population is under 35 years of age. For this demographic dividend to be effectively realized, quality education with necessary skills, knowledge and creative thinking is essential to build India into a 21st century innovation hub. 
Education is not just the accumulation of knowledge from textbooks. Albert Einstein once said that education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from text books. Sometimes, asking the right questions is more important than having the right answers.
Dear students, you must not deviate from the righteous path and remain committed to upholding ethics and morals at all times. As you step out of the portals of this institution, many of you might look for employment and many others might decide to pursue further studies. Irrespective of what you intend to do, one thing is clear---opportunities are aplenty and make yourself capable of utilizing these opportunities to the fullest possible extent.
At the same time, I must remind you that the society expects a lot from today’s young generation. The scope and opportunities are unlimited. You would find a very different sense of accomplishment and contentment, when you make a difference in someone else’s life, especially if that person is not as fortunate as you. Above all, the interest of the nation must remain uppermost in your minds.
With these words, I once again congratulate the graduates who have received medals and degrees and call upon them to serve the humanity to the best of their capabilities and strive for the growth of our nation and welfare of our countrymen.

Jai Hind!