Knowledge and innovation are the underpinnings of progress and prosperity in the 21st century, President Pranab Mukherjee said .
“In this age of globalisation, we can derive competitive advantage only from an eco-system that is conducive to new learning, research and innovation,” he said after inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Tiruchirappalli, 325 km from Chennai.
Mukherjee said NITs must work towards promoting scientific temper in their students.
“Yet, given the present socio-economic condition of our country, the thrust of research must be to erase backwardness and wipe out deprivation.”
He said the number of Indian institutions in the top 100 in Asia has increased to 10 this year from three in 2013 and the NITs, in particular NIT Trichy, should take a cue from successful Indian institutions on how to approach the rating system.
He said five Indian institutions were amongst the top 20 universities amongst the BRICS group of nations.
“Featuring in international rankings has several positive spin-offs, in terms of intangibles like boosting the spirits of students and faculty, to more tangible benefits like better placement for students. More importantly, active participation in rankings will propel the development of institutions in the right direction,” he said.
“India has recently become a permanent member of the Washington accord, which is an international accreditation agreement amongst 17 countries for professional engineering degrees.
“India’s entry will enable global recognition of our degrees and increase the mobility of our engineers. It will enjoin our technical schools to adhere to global benchmarks in quality,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Mukherjee offered prayers at the Punnainalur Sri Mariamman temple in Thanjavur, around 60 km from Tiruchirappalli.