Manipal, December 08: President Pratibha Patil urged the students of Manipal University to use their ideas and innovations for the betterment of the society. While delivering the Convocation address at the Kasturba Medical College Greens of the University on Wednesday, she said that peaceful and prosperous nations were indeed, predicated on an educated and well-informed population.
In an inspiring speech, the President reminded the students that the large youth population had a unique demographic advantage in terms of manpower availability for building the nation. “The energy of the youth and their enthusiasm must be guided into productive work,” she said.
While impressing upon the students to their best, the President also pointed out the responsibilities of universities. She said, “Universities have a responsibility to nurture the future citizens of the country”. While she had a word of advice for the students, the president also made it clear that the education system in the country must look at the holistic development of the youth.
Making a mention of Manipal University, she said, “Today, Manipal is one of the leading academic and education institutions in the country. I wish the University of Manipal a bright and prosperous future”.
She emphasized on three aspects for the overall development of the youth. The first point she made was about gaining knowledge through education. “Merely learning for passing exams in not enough, you should comprehend various topics though a critical and analytical process. Quest for learning and a questioning mind, push the frontiers of knowledge, and will result in delving deep into subjects, researching and innovating”.
While on the point of knowledge, she said it was incomplete without values. “It is a value system that can prepare the younger generation to become responsible citizens who contribute to the welfare of the society, and to the advancement of the human race. Values provide an anchor in life as well as the ability to take decisions, however difficult. They make you strong and capable of withstanding the trials and tribulations of life. Concepts of peace, harmony and tolerance must be learned here”.
She added; “We are a democratic nation, which means there must be willingness to listen to the other’s point of view, and to have respect for differing perceptions. The education system must strengthen adherence to secularism, inclusiveness and pluralism. These are the great values enshrined in our Constitution and developed by our civilization. These give strength and sustenance to our diverse multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual society”.
She also emphasized the importance of team spirit, discipline and physical fitness. “Sports play an important part in developing these qualities. It will teach how to accept success and defeat,” she said. “And, for all that the universities have an important role to play”.
“It is important that Universities have an environment conducive for the healthy growth of the students, so that their talents can blossom and they become positive individuals. Our nation has made significant strides. We also responded creatively to advances in electronics, communications and computer technology and resultantly, India has emerged as a major player in these fields. To maintain a leadership role in the knowledge economy, we must focus on innovation and remain competitive”.
“Today, we are the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity, and one of the fastest growing economies of the world. However, we have to address many constraints and remove many roadblocks on our growth trajectory. For a nation which is the seventh largest in geographical terms, and the second largest in terms of population, our existing physical infrastructure is inadequate”.
Technology carries with itself the immense power to bring about revolutionary changes. Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said, “Who indeed could afford to ignore science today? At every turn we have to seek its aid.... The future belongs to science and those who make friends with science.”
She lamented the decline in research capacity. Pointing out to the green and white revolutions in the country, she said that it was a result of a sound base of research “Our scientists and researchers must look at bringing in new revolutions for enhancing productivity on a sustainable basis,” she said.
“Education involves a process of learning and sometimes unlearning as well. Learn what is good and useful to society, and unlearn what is harmful to you and society. There is one aspect that concerns me, and that is the rising habit of drug consumption among students. Drugs debilitate life and when students take to drugs they are drawn away from academic and intellectual pursuits, often disturbing campus life. There should be a campaign to make students aware of the ill effects of drug consumption.
Gold medal winners
She gave away the PHd awards to research scholars and gold medals to students.
The gold medal awardees for 2009-10 were:
Best outgoing BE graduate (MIT) Rahul Sharan.
Best outgoing B Pharm Graduate (MCOPS) Sudha Korwar.
Best outgoing BDS graduate (MCODS,Manipal) Low Li Fong.
Highes aggregate marks in Bachelor of Hotel Management (WGSHA) Sarmishtha Revanoor.
Best outgoing BSc nursing graduate (MCON) Eby Basil.
Best outgoing BA journalism and Communications Studies graduate (MIC) Prashit Sthapit.
Best outgoing graduate student of Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences (MCOPS) Mudassir Mustafa Alloo.
Best outgoing BSc Biotechnology graduate (MLSC) Mihir Kekre.
Best outgoing BBA graduate (Manipal Institute of Jewellery Management) Spandana KN.
Best outgoing M Pharm postgraduate (MCOPS) Patel Hirenkumar Natvarlal.
Best outgoing MS communication postgraduate (Manipal Institute of Communication) Nisrin S Aziz.
Best outgoing MS information Science postgraduate (Manipal Institute of Information Science) Keerthi MS.
Best outgoing MBA postgraduate (MIM). Karishma Mehtha.