Students coming from all parts of India and from all strata of society study in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in an atmosphere of equal opportunity for excellence. Students aspiring for very different career paths come together at JNU. The University represents blending of inclusion, diversity and excellence, said the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind while addressing the 4th annual convocation of JNU today (November 18, 2020) through a video message. Union Minister of Education, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ was the Guest of Honor on this occasion.
The President said that all shades of Indian culture are reflected in JNU. Names of buildings, hostels, roads and facilities on the campus are drawn from the Indian heritage. This represents a cultural and geographical picture of India at its best. This Indianness is JNU’s legacy and strengthening it is it’s duty.
The President said that excellent faculty of JNU have been encouraging free debate and respect for difference in opinion. Students are treated as partners in learning which is how it should be in higher education. The University is known for vibrant discussions which also take place outside the classrooms, in the cafeterias and dhabas at all hours.
Referring to the glorious past of teaching and research in ancient India, the President said that in dealing with today’s challenges, we can draw inspiration from universities in Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi which had set high standards of teaching and research. Scholars and students from all across the world came to those centres to attain specialised knowledge. That ancient system, which had many elements of modernity, produced great scholars such as Charaka, Aryabhata, Chanakya, Panini, Patanjali, Gargi, Maitreyi and Thiruvalluvar. They made invaluable contributions to medical science, mathematics, astronomy, grammar and social development. People from other parts of the world translated the works of Indian scholars and used the learning for further advancement of knowledge. Today’s Indian scholars should try to create such an original body of knowledge which is utilised for dealing with contemporary global challenges. JNU is among those select institutions of higher learning which can reach globally comparable excellence.
Speaking about the Covid-19 pandemic, the President said that today the world is in a state of crisis because of this pandemic. In the prevailing scenario of epidemics and pandemics, the National Education Policy 2020 states that it is critical for Higher Education Institutions to take the lead in undertaking research in areas of infectious diseases, epidemiology, virology, diagnostics, instrumentation, vaccinology and other relevant areas. The related social issues also need to be studied, preferably with multi-disciplinary approach. In this endeavour, universities like JNU should be at the forefront to develop specific hand holding mechanisms and promote innovation among student communities, he added.
In his video message, Shri Pokhriyal congratulated the students on receiving the PhD degrees and for being the brand ambassadors of education in the world. He urged students to adhere to the Indian values and inspire others towards nation building based on their learning so far. He also spoke about the vision and mission of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which reflects impactfulness, inclusivity, national and international interests. NEP is a step towards India becoming a global leader in education, he added. He congratulated JNU for achieving high NIRF ranking continuously. He also mentioned about HEFA fund received by the University that will help in infrastructure development and research/innovation projects. He further emphasized on Atal Innovation Centre and several start ups being set up by the university that will contribute towards achieving the objectives of Make in India, Digital India and Atmanirbhar Bharat. Minister appreciated JNU for its initiative towards women upliftment by starting NCC program for women.
Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar, Vice-chancellor of JNU presented the academic report of the university and emphasized on the establishment of two new schools, School of Engineering and Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship alonwith four new Special Centres, namely, Special Centre for Disaster Research, Special Centre for National Security Studies, Special Centre for the Study North East India, Special Centre for e-learning. JNU has started Atal Innovation Centre with the support from NITI Aayog and several start-ups have incubated in the university. Several products have been developed within the University such as Learning Management System (LMS) by Students from School of Engineering and cloud based biological data analysis platform by start up company. HEFA fund will help in the development of University infrastructure and research/innovation programs. JNU is in harmony with HEP2020 policy and goals to achieve excellence in education. Master’s program in Ayurveda Biology has been introduced keeping in view of the holistic development of the youth. He stressed upon use of digital technology in various academic activities including digital JNU entrance exam. He proudly mentioned about the unveiling of Swami Vivekanand Statue in the University that will inspire the students of University to attain knowledge and education.
Dr. V.K. Saraswat congratulated all the graduands for obtaining doctoral degrees from JNU. He urged students to participate in nation building by nurturing entrepreneurship, integration of rural-urban landscape and sustainable development in the country. He mentioned that country looks upto youth for economic development, social cohesiveness and innovation needed for EK Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. He urged students to contribute constructively in various disciplines such as science, health, economics, literature, arts etc. After obtaining immense knowledge from high universities like JNU, young scholars should be able to create jobs in tier 2 or tier 3 cities and contribute towards job creation. He mentioned about the vision of NEP2020 for academic institutes and industry to work together for development of new innovations and products for Atmanirbhar Bharat.
A total of 603 students were awarded Doctorate of Philosophy degrees from 15 different schools and centres in various disciplines despite covid-19 pandemic situation in the country.