While female graduates dominate the lists of toppers and medalists at convocations, the enrolment of girls in higher education system in the country is relatively low and an area of concern, President Ram Nath Kovind said Monday.
"I must point out relatively low enrolment of girls in higher education system, particularly in the eastern institutions. This is not only an area of concern, but also a paradox since girl students tend to do well in school examinations outscoring boys. When allowed the opportunity, girl students maintain this in higher education as well," he said.
Kovind was addressing the gathering at the launch of the Ministry of Human Resource Development''s national rankings of higher educational institutions for this year.
"Since I have been travelling to convocations of universities across the country, I have been happy to find that female graduates dominate the topper lists and that of medalists. Many families deny girls this chance and we need to address this as a society and a country," he said.
The president said recent expansion of higher education in India has widened access and improved equity.
"Even so, the quality remains a concern. While there are islands of excellence, both in the public and private sectors, overall standards are uneven. As our higher education infrastructure continues to grow, and as enrolment rises, it is important to lift the bar," the president said.
Kovind said a nuanced approach is essential to ensure that higher education not only fulfils individual aspirations, but also achieves national goals and priorities.
"It is critical that there is a significant Indian presence in global rankings of leading universities and higher educational institutions in the very near future. We live in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution amid a knowledge society and an innovation economy.
"We cannot realise our potential without the requisite education infrastructure - measured both by numbers and standards. That is why the keen sense with which institutions participate in the India Rankings mechanism should persist and be escalated to striving for and achieving rankings among the global best," he said.
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