Aim to Increase Higher Education Enrollment to 50 per cent: AICTE

Dr. T.G. Sitaram, Chairperson of AICTE was speaking at the 124th convocation ceremony of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).
Aim to Increase Higher Education Enrollment to 50 per cent: AICTE

Pune: Dr. T.G. Sitaram, Chairperson of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), addressed a critical issue in India’s educational landscape during the 124th convocation ceremony of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).

"Around 25 crore students enroll in schools each year, but only 28.3 per cent pursue higher education," Dr. Sitaram noted. "In developed countries, this percentage is around 85 per cent. As India moves towards becoming a developed nation, we need to aim for at least 50 per cent enrollment in higher education by 2035. This will require the establishment of more universities capable of accommodating a larger number of students."

Despite India's commendable fourth-place ranking in global research and innovation, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) outshines the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in research output, Dr. Sitaram highlighted.

Each year, approximately 15,000 students graduate from IITs, with an even greater number from top engineering colleges in major cities. These institutions’ graduates are making significant strides in research, he added.

The convocation ceremony featured SPPU’s Vice-Chancellor Dr. Suresh Gosavi, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr. Parag Kalkar, and Acting Registrar Dr. Vijay Khare. Dr. Sitaram emphasized the potential for students to contribute significantly to research and innovation.

"India has been supplying the world with excellent engineers and managers for over three decades," he said. "There is scarcely a global company without Indian talent. The new National Education Policy (NEP) aims to reduce the number of students going abroad for education by enhancing domestic standards."

AICTE's recent collaboration with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) has resulted in the AICTE-Inter Institutional Biomedical Innovations Program (IBIP), fostering interdisciplinary education, research, and innovation between engineering and medical institutions.

In his address, Dr. Gosavi emphasized the graduates' role in globalizing India. "Every graduate should serve as a brand ambassador for Savitribai Phule Pune University," he stated. The ceremony honored 71 students with 117 gold medals across various disciplines.

Dr. Sitaram urged students to master contemporary technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, emphasizing that these technologies are not just future prospects but are currently in use. He stressed that educators must also expand their expertise to include new technological skills to keep pace with advancements.

In conclusion, Dr. Sitaram underscored the urgency of expanding educational opportunities and adapting to technological advancements. As India strives to become a developed nation, achieving a 50 per cent higher education enrollment rate by 2035 is essential.

This ambitious goal will require the establishment of more universities to accommodate the growing student population, ensuring that India continues to excel in research and innovation on the global stage.

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