Indian universities and higher education institutions need to give equal emphasis to innovation as they give to knowledge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday stressing that life would become a burden without innovations.
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of 'Conference on Academic Leadership on Education for Resurgence' organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The prime minister also emphasised the importance of character building over literacy and called for 'wholesome' education in the country.
"Knowledge and education are not restricted to books. The purpose of education is to enable balanced growth of every dimension of a human being which is not possible without innovation," Modi said.
"Innovation is very important because without it, life seems like a burden. In our ancient universities like Takshshila, Nalanda and Vikramashila, innovation was given emphasis along with knowledge. "I insist that students should give knowledge in classrooms of college, university but they also add them to the aspirations of the country," he added.
Stressing upon the need for "interlinking" the institutions, Modi said no country or person can live in isolation. "Our universities and colleges should be leveraged to find solutions to the challenges facing us. We should interlink institutions to innovate and incubate.
The students should link their classroom learning to the aspirations of the country," he said. Modi also stressed upon the importance of character-building. "Ambedkar, Deen Dayal Upadhya and Ram Manohar Lohiya always emphasised on character-building over literacy.
Swami Vivekananda stressed on wholesome education that makes us a human," he said.
The prime minister stressed the importance of preparing good teachers for society.
"Scholars and students can take responsibility for spreading digital literacy, and generating greater awareness of government programmes that can improve the ease of living. Youth has given 'Brand India' a global identity," he said.
The conference is being attended by vice chancellors and directors of over 350 higher education institutions. It is being organised jointly by University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Shree Guru Gobind Singh Tricentenary University.
The theme of the conference is to deliberate on the challenges facing the Indian education system and to work out a plan for a paradigm shift both in terms of achieving academic outcomes and also in regulation of education.
Some of the topics that will be covered during the conference include improving pedagogy for learner centric education, use of artificial intelligence for customised learning, improving quality of research, bringing synergy among educational institutions, participatory governance models and promoting value education by building in universal values and life skills into education.