New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said education is the key to achieve economic growth.
"If we have to attain a growth rate of 9 percent per year, as has been envisaged during the Twelth Five Year Plan period, we must put in place enabling factors, most prominent of which is quality of higher education," President Pranab Mukherjee said Thursday.
He was addressing a conference of directors of National Institutes of Technology (NIT) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The two-day conference has been convened by President Mukherjee to discuss steps required to improve the quality of technical education and faculty development at the NITs.
The president said India's economy is third largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity and the growth rate is second only to China.
He also expressed concern over quality of education.
"It is not difficult to see where our institutions stand today vis-a-vis the best in the world. In two reputed international rankings of universities - the QS Ranking and Times Higher Education Ranking - not a single Indian university or institution finds place in the top 200," Mukherjee said.
However, a few Indian universities appear in the top 50 for certain subjects.
English departments of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University figure in the top 50 English departments in the QS World University Rankings 2013. IITs in Delhi and Bombay figure in the top 50 departments of Computer Science and Information Systems.
The highest ranked Indian institution in the QS Ranking is IIT Delhi, at the 222nd position. Only eleven Indian institutions, including seven IITs, have earned a rank in the QS list of 700.
The president stressed on creating centres of excellence in the NITs.
"At least one or two departments in every NIT must be turned into Centres of Excellence. Formal linkages must be built with the industry so that there is regular flow of inputs from the experts on course curriculum and research," he said.
He added that shortage of faculty is a serious problem across all institutions and vacancies must be filled on priority.
"India's biggest strength in the coming years is going to be her demographic dividend. More than fifty percent of our population is under 25 and soon one fifth of the world's working age population will be in our country," he added.
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