Address by Governor at the 5th Graduation Day Ceremony of Sree Vidyanikethan Engineering College, Tirupati
Address by Shri Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the 5th Graduation Day Ceremony of Sree Vidyanikethan Engineering College, Tirupati on Saturday, 9th July 2016
Padmashree Dr M. Mohan Babu, popular film personality, former Member of Parliament and Chairman of Sree Vidyanikethan Educational Trust, Shri Vishnu Manchu, CEO, Sree Vidyanikethan Engineering College, Dr P Krishnamachary, Principal, other dignitaries on the dais, off the dais, alumni, Heads of Departments, faculty, invitees, graduating students, parents, ladies and gentlemen,
I am very happy to be with you and to share your joy on this memorable day in your life.
At the outset, I would like to congratulate each one of the graduating students, who have completed their degree programme from this prestigious institution.
I would also like to thank my esteemed friend Dr Mohan Babu for inviting me to this institution.
The Sree Vidyanikethan Educational Trust established by Dr Mohan Babu has emerged as an institution with excellence because of its thrust on quality of education. The infrastructure in this Campus and the natural beautiful ambience provided by the neighbouring hills makes it a perfect place for learning. This institution has an additional advantage. Chairman Dr Mohan Babu is an acclaimed star known for his superb dialogue delivery. As students of this institution, you get many opportunities to hear him in person!!
I am pleased to note that the Sree Vidyanikethan Group runs two International Schools and one College each, for Pharmacy, Management, Nursing and other institutions that provide quality education to more than 12000 students.
However, I was most impressed to note that the Trust provides free education to the needy and the poorest of the poor students to the extent of 25 per cent of its student intake.
I congratulate the Sree Vidyanikethan Education Trust and particularly Chairman Dr Mohan Babu, the CEO, the Principal, teachers and staff of the institution on this occasion.
Dear Graduating Students,
Graduation marks the completion of an important phase in your life. You all have worked hard to acquire knowledge, technology and skills through the programme of the Institute.
While achieving the degree, you might have undergone pressures, ups and downs and anxious moments. On this significant day in your life, you would be experiencing a certain joy and happiness to see your perseverance, hard work and commitment being translated into achievement of your goals and objectives.
This is a day of fulfilment for the parents of many of you; who invested their hard earned money in educating you. In many cases, your parents must have sacrificed their personal happiness and pleasure to make sure that you get the best of education, that leads to a better future. This day, therefore, belongs to them in equal measure.
I also compliment the faculty members of this institution who worked hard to impart quality education to build knowledge, develop skills and inculcate values in their students to take our country forward.
Many of you will now enter the professional field to become part of an active and skilled work force and will also add to the technical prowess of our nation. Some of you might continue your studies elsewhere, and yet others might pursue Post Graduation and Research in foreign universities. I am sure, the knowledge and the values you imbibed here, will guide you wherever destiny will take you.
More than 2000 years ago, Lord Buddha had said and I quote, “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it”. (Unquote)
Now that, you have been presented your degrees, you are going to the actual field of work on your own, without having your mentor and teacher around. But here again, the last words of advice given by Gautama Buddha to his disciple will guide you. Bhagwan Buddha had said ‘Atta Deep Bhava’ – Be Your Own Light.
You have graduated at a time when India stands on a cusp of Change. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has made our international diplomacy participatory. All of us have seen the response and the reception the Hon’ble Prime Minister has received in the countries of the world; be it in the United States, England, Australia, China, Japan or others. It clearly shows that the perception of the world towards India has changed remarkably. India has emerged as the fastest growing economy in the world.
Our engineers, our doctors, our entrepreneurs, our professionals and our researchers have raised the flag of India not just in the Silicon Valley, but in many other countries of the World.
This change of perception is taking place at the most appropriate juncture when India has emerged as the most youthful nation in the world. It is estimated that by 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, that is 8 years younger than the average age of a Chinese or an American.
As youths of this country, you are going to be the drivers of our economy and development. Our success in taking advantage of the demographic dividend, depends upon how we convert our youths into productive human resources through education, skills and values.
Education in general and technical education in particular, has always been seen as an instrument of transformation for economic, social and political development of the country.
We have always emphasized the role of science and technology in solving the problems of society.
India’s contribution to the field of innovation in science and technology and in many other areas has been remarkable.
Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya is considered as the greatest mathematician of medieval India. He was born in the 12th century in modern day’s Karnataka State and lived in the Sahyadri region in the present day Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. It was he who first accurately calculated the time taken for the Earth to orbit the Sun, as 365.2588 days. Again, Indians gave the world the concept of zero. We gave the world Yoga, we gave the world Ayurveda. At one point of time we were leaders in many spheres of life.
No wonder, Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists of all time, philosopher and mathematician said, “We owe a lot to Indians who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made”. (unquote)
It is through innovation, research and development that we can bring positive transformation in society and address many of its problems including poverty, disease, unemployment and hunger. You, as graduates of this Institution, have the responsibility for ushering in societal transformation using the knowledge of science and technology which you have acquired.
In my capacity as Chancellor of 20 Universities in Maharashtra where 3 million students are pursuing higher education, I often wonder why our universities and colleges do not feature anywhere among the top universities in the world.
For many years, not a single Indian institution was there in the list of top 200 universities of the world. Fortunately according to the QS World University Rankings of 2015-16, we have two Indian institutes in top 200 of the world. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is ranked at no. 147 and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi is ranked at no. 179. Apart from this, IIT Bombay is ranked at number 202. But a lot more needs to be done to improve the ranking of Indian institutions of higher learning and our universities at the global level. For this purpose, all engineering colleges will have to lay utmost stress on the quality of education. They must also take the international rankings seriously and try to improve their own ranking.
Let me tell you something about where we stand.
Last year, I presided over a meeting of top intellectuals and business leaders on improving the standards of engineering education in Maharashtra.
I was shocked to hear that a Survey conducted by an IT firm found that the average mathematical and problem solving ability of a 21 year old engineering graduate from India was lower than the average 15 – year old in OECD countries, that is Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.
We were shocked. It was then decided to identify 50 engineering colleges in Maharashtra and to make a serious effort to bring them on par with the College of Engineering, Pune which has been transformed into an IIT-like institution with the help of mentoring arrangement with IIT Bombay.
I am very happy to inform that the students of the College of Engineering, Pune successfully launched the 1 kg indigenously made Swayam Satellite in association with ISRO and they are now preparing for the launch of another satellite with financial assistance from Government of Maharashtra.
I will call upon the trustees of the Sree Vidyanikethan College of Engineering to think of evolving a mentorship arrangement with an IIT like institution and transform itself into a top institution in the country.
The issue of faculty shortage is affecting the quality of education across the country. I do feel that investment in recruiting teachers should not be seen as expenditure. We must not allow teaching positions to remain vacant. We must invite experts from industry, laboratories and foreign universities on short-term basis to give the students an international learning experience. I will be happy if the best and brightest graduates return to this institution as teachers.
Academic curricula must be dynamic and it should have an industry-focus. An industry interface cell must be set up to establish linkages with the local industry and industry associations.
On this momentous day when you are set out on your journey into the real world, I call upon each one of you to take a pledge to make the full use of technology for the benefit of mankind and to see that the use of technology spreads happiness, prosperity and general well-being amongst the people of this country.
The government has initiated the ‘Start-up India’ campaign to promote financing for start-ups and offer incentives to boost entrepreneurship and job creation. The success of this initiative will depend on how innovatively we can use the technology as well as human resources available in our country. I urge you, the young graduates, that instead of looking for job opportunities, you should aim to become entrepreneurs and create jobs. India doesn’t need job seekers, we want job givers and job creators.
The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana launched by the government has so far offered loans worth Rupees one lakh crore to small entrepreneurs. I will call upon the institution to organize expert talks for students to inform them about the various programmes, policies and initiatives of the government, offering assistance to the youth for starting industries and enterprises.
I want to see this institution producing entrepreneurs and thought-leaders in all disciplines.
Dear friends and teachers,
In his letter to his son’s School Teacher, American President Abraham Lincoln had asked the teacher, and I quote, “In school, teach him, it is far more honorable to fail, than to cheat…….teach him to have faith in his own ideas even if everyone tells him they are wrong.” (unquote)
There are three messages for all of us in this letter. We must be honest in all our dealings; we must accept failures and defeats with grace. Most importantly, we must have faith in our own ideas.
Our forefathers said, that if the wealth is lost, nothing is lost; if health is lost, something is lost, but if character is lost, everything is lost.
Knowledge and innovation are the pre-requisites of progress and prosperity in the twenty-first century. In this age of globalization, we can derive competitive advantage only from an eco-system that is conducive to new learning, research and innovation.
Vidyanekethan must work towards promoting scientific temper in its students.
The institution must also promote research. However, the thrust of research and innovation must be to erase backwardness and wipe out deprivation. You have the power and the potential to make a positive change in the lives of the people of this country.
Swami Vivekananda had said, and I quote: ‘The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle of life, which does not bring out the strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – Is it worth the name? (Unquote)
Friends, while leaving the portals of this institution and going elsewhere, you must take pride of your great culture and civilization.
Hu Shih, who was China’s Ambassador to the United States during 1938- 1942 and who subsequently became the Vice Chancellor of the Peking University had famously said, and I quote:
“India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries, without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.” (Unquote)
Time has come to rejuvenate and recapture the past glory of this country through your work.
On that note, I once again congratulate you on your Graduation and wish you very well in your future career and life. I also wish the Sree Vidyanikethan, Godspeed in its future endeavours.
Jai Hind !