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Govt working towards more advanced, research-oriented higher education system: Modi

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RAJGIR (BIHAR): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asserted that he wanted India to re-emerge as the world’s “most prominent knowledge centre” with an “advanced and research-oriented” higher education system.
Modi, while inaugurating the new Nalanda University campus here, called upon students to always remain curious and courageous.
The varsity is named after the world-renowned ancient seat of higher learning, which was razed by invading armies in the 12th century.
The PM said Nalanda bore testimony to the fact that “knowledge cannot be destroyed by fire”, and that India was looking forward to playing its role in the 21st century, “which belongs to Asia”, by becoming a developed country by 2047.
He underscored that history was proof that all developed countries became economic and cultural leaders only after they made a mark in the field of education.
“Our country, too, enjoyed such a status in the ancient times when seats of learning like Nalanda and Vikramshila were flourishing,” said Modi, who also made a mention of the International Yoga Day celebrations, due in a couple of days, to stress that India was continuing with cultural exchanges on a global scale.
“It is my mission that India re-emerges as the world’s most prominent knowledge centre. To this end, the spirit of innovation is being inculcated into our children from a very early age. More than one crore children are getting exposed to latest technology at ‘Atal Tinkering’ labs. The Chandrayaan and Gaganyaan missions are also boosting their interest in science,” he said.
Modi also pointed out “till about a decade ago, we had only 100 startups. The number has swollen to more than 1.30 lakh. We are also filing a record number of patents and publishing research papers. Our government has announced a special fund of Rs 1 lakh crore to give a fillip to research and innovation”.
“It is our endeavour to build, in India, the world’s most comprehensive and complete skilling system, and advanced research-oriented higher education system. The efforts have started showing results. Our universities’ global rankings have improved. Till a decade ago, only nine educational institutions had QS rankings. Now, the number has reached 46,” the PM asserted.
Modi, who reached the venue after spending a few minutes at the ruins of the ‘Nalanda Mahavihara’, expressed delight at having got the opportunity “within 10 days” of return to power for a record third term in office.
He also highlighted that the country has “lived, through ages, a sustainable model in which progress was achieved while taking care of the environment”.
The prime minister informed that on an average, India has witnessed setting up of one university every week in the last 10 years, along with establishment of an industrial training institute (ITI) every 10 days.
“There has been a new Atal Tinkering Lab every second day, two new colleges every day. We have 23 IITs. The number of IIMs has reached 21, from only 13 a decade ago. During the period, the number of AIIMS trebled to 22 and the number of medical colleges doubled.
“Major reforms are going on in the education sector. The National Education Policy has given flight to the dreams of our younger generation. Our universities are collaborating with counterparts abroad. Internationally renowned centres of learning are setting up their campuses in our country,” Modi said.
He exuded confidence that the country’s future generations will lead the world, and India will become a global hub for knowledge and education.
“Today, once again, the world is looking at India and its youth… The world wants to move along with this land of Buddha, the mother of democracy,” the PM said.
The ancient Nalanda University, which existed since the fifth century, attracted students from all over the world. It flourished for 800 years before being destroyed by invaders in the 12th century, according to experts.

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