Not a single Indian educational institution is in global top 50, says President Murmu, urging introspection

President of India Droupadi Murmu has emphasised upon the necessity to introspect and explore why Indian educational institutions have not reached the top 50 of global rankings, despite the nation’s knowledge heritage.

Top and above: President of India Droupadi Murmu at the IIT Kharagpur convocation. Photo courtesy: X/@rashtrapatibhvn

During her address yesterday at the 69th convocation of IIT Kharagpur, the president said, “Not even a single educational institution of such a vast country, with the world’s oldest knowledge tradition, is among the top 50 educational institutions of the world. We need to think about it.”

She added, “The race for ranking is not more important than a good education. But good ranking not only attracts students and good faculty [members] from all over the world, but [it] also enhances the reputation of the country.”

The president praised IIT Kharagpur for aligning its goals with the Government of India policy of internationalisation and worldwide ventures. “IIT Kharagpur is working on alliances and collaborations with other global institutions. This step will not only help in establishing IIT Kharagpur at the international level, but will also be a big step towards giving global recognition to the Indian education system,” she said.

“Everyone should have the right to technology”

As education and technology are intricately linked nowadays, the president spoke of the importance of technology as a social enabler. “We believe that everyone should have the right to technology. We believe that the use of technology must be for promoting social justice and equality, rather than [for] increasing disparities in society.”

Citing the example of digital payment systems, she told the convocation audience that technology had simplified life, benefiting even small traders.

“IITs are incubation centres of talent and technology”

Elaborating on the subject of technology, the president said that “IIT Kharagpur has the distinction of being the first such institute in the country. This institution has nurtured great talents in its journey of almost 73 years and its contribution to the development of the country is unmatched.”

The president said that India was scaling new heights, setting new standards and emerging as a major world power today, and that technology was at the centre of it all. “We look forward to finding solutions to the challenges facing the world in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. In this Amrit Kaal of India, the golden age will come only by churning through technology.”

“More women should come forward to study science and technology”

Pointing out that 21 per cent of the students who had received degrees at the IIT Kharagpur convocation were women, Murmu said, “More women should come forward to study science and technology.”

Institute director VK Tewari said that more than 3,200 students were awarded degrees during the convocation. He said that IIT Kharagpur had initiated several national mission projects, and collaborations with institutions like ISRO, DRDO, and ONGC, among others.

President of India Droupadi Murmu with IIT Kharagpur faculty members and office-bearers. Photo courtesy: X/@rashtrapatibhvn

This year, the institution has conferred DSc Honoris Causa to Google CEO Sundar Pichai (in absentia); Sanskrit scholar Mahamahopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami; electrical engineering entrepreneur Ravinder Nath Khanna; and entrepreneur Ajit Jain. The Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Prof Ramchandra Prabhakar Gokam.