Governor K. Rosaiah on Tuesday said the Gross Enrolment Ratio in the country was worrying and far below the world average.
Addressing the 7th convocation of SRM University at Kattankulathur, he said more than 70 per cent of India's population was below 35 years of age. "What is worrying is that our country's GER is only around 12.4 per cent, which is much less, when compared to the world's ratio of 23.2 per cent. Equipping our large human capital with the right skill and knowledge and maximum utilisation of the human potential will make our nation a developed one."
Saying universities and higher educational institutions are the key to develop future citizens of India, the Governor said regulating and revitalising the higher education sector was the need of the hour to provide education on par with international standards.
The Governor conferred honorary Doctor of Science on Subra Suresh, Director of National Science Foundation, U.S.
In his acceptance speech, he told the graduates and young engineers that the present generation was witnessing a new era in science and engineering. "The average citizen need not be an engineer to contribute in this century of science and engineering, but to succeed and collaborate in the globalised world, it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of science and engineering," Dr. Subra Suresh said.
He said that in future, successful scientists and engineers would be those who would be able to integrate science and engineering with economics, humanities, law and culture. He said the NSF, of which he was made president in 2010, received a funding of $7 billion every year from the taxpayer's money and it acted as a promoter of science, research and knowledge. Later, in a chat with reporters, Dr. Subra Suresh, who passed out of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras in 1977, said India's spending on non-defence research and also in higher education from its Gross Domestic Product was very low. However, he said such issues might soon be a thing of the past.
Universities in the U.S. and Europe had existed for a very long time, while institutions like IIT were more recent, but the success and excellence achieved in a short period of time was remarkable, he said.
Mr. Rosaiah handed over medals and prizes to some of those graduates who had secured university-level ranks.
T.R. Pachamuthu, Chancellor of SRM University, presided. P. Sathyanarayanan, president, was also present. M. Ponnavaikko presented the welcome address and the annual report.