Education should nurture freedom of thought, innovation: Prez

President Ram Nath Kovind today said the objective of education should be to nurture freedom of thought and innovation within the students, besides building capacities for a professional career.

Addressing the 49th convocation ceremony of the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University (VNSGU) here, he said students should also be taught "to respect sentiments of others as well as work for the welfare of society."

Praising girl students for bagging more medals and awards than boys, Kovind said it is "a good sign for the country" that women are moving forward in all spheres.

"Higher education and innovation have a special place in preparing the country's youth in nation-building. The objective of education should be to nurture freedom of thought and innovation within the student community, besides building capacities for a professional career and to teach them to respect the sentiments of others and to work for the welfare of the society," the president said. "We should prepare such students. They would take the country forward," he said.

"I am especially happy to learn that out of 1.41 lakh students (in the university), the number of girl students is 82,000, which is much higher than boys. A good number of daughters have bagged medals and awards . The university and parents of these girls should be praised for this feat. Daughters are moving ahead in all spheres, which is a good sign for the country," Kovind said.

Girl students bagged 62 out of 82 medals and 54 out of 71 awards presented on the occasion. Kovind said he was happy to learn that a large number of tribal youths are students of VNSGU.

The university has a crucial responsibility, as it is located in a city where people from all over the country come to "get a job and they work to improve the future of India," he said.

The president noted that the VNSGU is named after renowned Gujarati literary figure Narmadashankar Dave or Veer Narmad, who was not only a poet and writer but also a social reformer.

"Veer Narmad was a nation builder who shaped Gujarati and Indian identity and worked for female empowerment, widow remarriage and similar causes," he said. Praising Surat, which he termed "mini India," Kovind said the city was earlier known as "Suryapuri" and Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang had mentioned it as a "trade city" in his travel account.

The president also praised Gujarat, which he said has given India personalities such as Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. "This state has also given us industrious prime ministers like Morarji Desai and Narendra Modi. They all have guided the country in difficult times. In true sense, India's development story is incomplete without Gujarat," he said.


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