Pune: President Pranab Mukherjee today made a strong plea for making the best use of demographic dividend by going in for massive skill development programme to provide working force to the entire world in the years ahead.
"By 2025, two third of the working population in the world will be living in India. We can provide working force to the entire world if we can impart them required skills. We should take up the skill development programme for 500 million by 2030 in all seriousness," he said, speaking as chief guest at the Golden Jubilee celebratations of the Bharati Vidyapeeth.
He said if the country's youth could be nurtured and made capable to become world class manpower, they will help drive India's ascent in the comity of nations.
Making a strong pitch for improving quality of education, Mr Mukherjee also advocated new models of education delivery like massive open online courses, noting that they have benefits of speed, scale and efficiency.
He lamented that despite India boasting of hundreds of universities and other institutions of higher learning, not a single one of them has been recognised as world class.
He expressed concern over the "vast disparity" in the standard of education provided by several private institutions in the country.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too pitched for skill development to turn India into a strong nation.
Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao presided over the function in which glowing tributes were paid to former Maharashtra Minister Patangrao Kadam, who is founder and chancellor of the Bharati Vidyapeeth.
Former Union ministers Sharad Pawar and Sushilkumar Shinde too hailed the work done by Kadam in various fields including education and cooperation.
After the function, the President had a meeting with his predecessor Pratibha Patil, which was described as a courtesy call.