Universities of Takshashila, Nalanda can provide inspiration to deal with today's challenges: Prez

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New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) In dealing with present-day challenges, one can draw inspiration from the ancient universities of Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi which had set high standards of teaching and research, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Wednesday.

Addressing the fourth annual convocation of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, he said Indian scholars of today should try to create an original body of knowledge which would be useful in dealing with contemporary global challenges.

'In dealing with today's challenges, we can draw inspiration from universities in Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi which had set high standards of teaching and research. Scholars and students from all across the world came to those centres to attain specialised knowledge,' Kovind said at the convocation ceremony.

That ancient system, which had many elements of modernity, produced great scholars such as Charaka, Aryabhata, Chanakya, Panini, Patanjali, Gargi, Maitreyi and Thiruvalluvar. They made invaluable contributions to medical science, mathematics, astronomy, grammar and social development, he said.

Today's Indian scholars should try to create such an original body of knowledge which is utilised for dealing with contemporary global challenges. JNU is among those select institutions of higher learning which can reach globally comparable excellence,' the President said.

About the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the whole world is in a state of crisis because of it.

'In the prevailing scenario of epidemics and pandemics, the National Education Policy, 2020, states that it is critical for higher education institutions to take the lead in undertaking research in areas of infectious diseases, epidemiology, virology, diagnostics, instrumentation, vaccinology and other relevant areas,' Kovind said.

'Related social issues also need to be studied, preferably with multi-disciplinary approach. In this endeavour, universities like JNU should be at the forefront in developing specific hand-holding mechanisms and promote innovation among student communities,' he added.

The President said all shades of Indian culture are reflected in JNU.

'Names of buildings, hostels, roads and facilities on the campus are drawn from Indian heritage. This represents a cultural and geographical picture of India at its best. This Indianness is JNU's,' he said Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' requested students to stick to Indian values and update, upgrade and educate themselves.

'Whatever has been learnt so far should now be used to inspire others towards nation building,' he said and mentioned the vision and mission of NEP2020 that reflects impactfulness, inclusivity, national and international interests being addressed as part of the policy.

'This is the step of India for being a leader of education in education,' the minister said.

As many as 603 students were awarded Doctorate of Philosophy from 15 different schools and centres in various disciplines.

Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, who attended his last convocation in the capacity with his tenure coming to an end in January, presented the academic report of the university.

He emphasised on the establishment of two new schools, School of Engineering and Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship along with four new special centres.

Chancellor V K Saraswat urged students to participate in nation building by nurturing entrepreneurship, integration of rural-urban landscape and sustainable development in the country.

'The country looks up to the youth for economic development, social cohesiveness and innovation needed for 'EK Bharat Shreshtha Bharat'. After obtaining immense knowledge from universities like JNU, young scholars should be able to create jobs in tier-two or tier-three cities and contribute towards job creation,' he said. PTI GJS NSD NSD