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Earning high salary not enough, students must work for society: President Mukherjee

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New Delhi: Students graduating from premier institutions like IITs and NITs should not restrict themselves to merely earning good salaries and leading a comfortable life but should take steps to help their communities based on sound knowledge, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Wednesday. Delivering the first convocation address of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Delhi, he said the success of these young men and women would be measured by the amount of good solutions they provide to their community and nation once they step out in the outer world.

“I would like to advise you that the skills which you have acquired, the knowledge which has been instilled in you…that need not necessarily be settled for a comfortable life or a high salary package to promote the product of a particular multi-national company where salesmanship is important. But surely, an engineering graduate from institutions like NITs and IITs are something more than that. Your success will be measured not merely by how much you are earning and providing comfort to your family and to other members of your family but much more,” he said.

“How many papers you are reading, what initiatives you are taking in research, what benefits and facilities you are providing to your community based on scientific and technological knowledge. That will be the measurement (of success) of the students coming out of first grade engineering and technical institutions,” he said.

Mukherjee said after the convocation ceremony today the students will be on their own in the competitive world but they should never feel nervous.

“The knowledge that you have acquired and the skills that you possess will make you capable to face the problems and challenges of the outside world with courage and conviction,” he told the students who graduated in various streams of engineering like computer science, electronics and communication engineering.

Mukherjee, who has himself been a teacher before he took the political plunge, asked the young minds to keep their feet on ground as he told them that knowledge will give them the power to live with “modesty and humility.” “Never believe you have learned everything in life… In real life, you will learn everyday..it is an eternal process,” he said.

The President said with almost 50 per cent of India’s population in the average age group of 25 years, it was a great asset for the country that can be converted into tremendous wealth and opportunities.

During the event, NIT Director Ajay K Sharma chronicled the journey of the institution beginning from 2010 even as the President awarded gold medals and the Director’s medal to the toppers.

Talking about the progress of the country vis-a-vis its human resource development, Mukherjee said India has developed “remarkably” after Independence and the country can soon count itself amongst the advanced countries of the world. “What gives me confidence is capability, skill and talent of our centres of higher education,” he said. He also talked about various initiatives started by the government like the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Digital India for the progress of the country.

Mukherjee also talked about having a competent faculty for the educational institutions.

The President said the centres of higher learning have the onerous responsibility to mould the nation-builders of tomorrow. “They must support the scholastic pursuit and capacity development of students in an efficient manner. They must promote continuous growth and learning. Special capacities must be infused through the education system for nurturing students for a life-time,” Mukherjee said.

He said educational institutions should develop capacities with regard to three important elements like becoming adept at using technology, having the urge for cutting-edge research and innovation and laying emphasis on holistic personality development.

“Students must learn to gather the vast knowledge from outside and apply to their own learning framework to develop innovative designs and models. As budding engineers and scientists, they must keep track of the fast changing needs of society and attempt at solving problems keeping the human aspect in view,” he said.

The President said the future direction of technical education in India will be guided by frontline engineering institutions like IITs and NITs. Mukherjee lauded NIT, Delhi, saying the institute has carved a niche for itself in a short span of time and he complimented the management for its foresight, the faculty members for their sincerity and dedication and the staff and other employees for their hard work and commitment.

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