'Higher edu campuses must aid to boost free expression'

'Higher edu campuses must aid to boost free expression'

(PIB/PTI Photo)

Even as the police crackdown on protesting students of various universities triggered nationwide outrage, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday stressed on the need to create spaces in higher education institutions for free expression and ideas.

Addressing the closing session of a day-long conference of the central university, Vice-chancellors and directors of other centrally funded institutions, including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, he noted that freedom of expression and ideas in the campuses will help address challenges being faced by the nation and society.

“Many of these challenges require creative and innovative solutions. It is your paramount duty to ensure that your campuses emerge as spaces that nurture free expression and ideas, where experimentation is encouraged and failure is not ridiculed but is seen as learning,” the President said.

Universities and the higher educational institutions should play “a leading role” in addressing the specific challenges faced by the nation and society, he added.

Kovind's remarks came two days after a police crackdown on the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Uttar Pradesh during their protest against the amended citizenship law on Sunday.

During the inaugural session of the conference earlier in the day, President presented the 5th visitors award to the winners.

“As leaders of universities and institutions, all of you are also mandated to develop leadership qualities in your students. Beyond classrooms and labs, students should be encouraged to take up socially-oriented ventures through the NSS or other clubs,” Kovind said in his address after presenting the awards.

Those universities which are located in backward regions have “a special responsibility” of working with the communities around them, he underlined.

“You cannot also ignore the industry. Developing meaningful linkages between the academic community and local industry should be a top priority. Students must be encouraged to emerge as job-creators rather than job-seekers,” he added.

The Visitor’s award for research in humanities, arts and social sciences was presented to Pondicherry University faculty member Sibnath Deb while JNU's Sanjay Puri received the award for research in physical sciences from the President

The AMU's Asad Ullah Khan and the JNU's Partima jointly received the Visitor's award for research in biological sciences. The Visitor’s award for technology development was conferred on Tripura University faculty member Shaon Ray Chaudhuri.

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