Campuses should be spaces for free expression, ideas: Prez tells V-Cs

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind told Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities that it was their paramount duty to ensure that their campuses emerge as spaces that nurture free expression and ideas.
Stressing that universities and higher educational institutions should play a leading role in addressing the specific challenges faced by the nation and society, he said many of these challenges require creative and innovative solutions.
“Universities should become the laboratories for exposing students to the problems that need to be addressed in
the cause of nation-building,” he said at the conference attended by Vice-Chancellors of Central Universities, Directors of IISERs and IISc Bengaluru.
Calling for having University Social Responsibility or USR, deeply ingrained into the DNA of the academic community, he said “I am aware that universities are increasingly conscious of this and taking necessary steps too. But we need to introspect whether what we are doing is enough or relevant. All of you should make a conscious effort to integrate community-oriented projects as part of your curriculum.”
He asked them to encourage students to take up academic and extra-curricular work with a distinct community orientation.
On the occasion he conferred the Visitor’s Award for Technology Development for the year on Dr Shaon Ray Chaudhuri from the Department of Microbiology, Tripura University for developing Microbial Biofilm Reactor for conversion of dairy wastewater into fertiliser, an official release here said.
The Visitor’s Award for Research in Physical Sciences for 2019 went to Prof Sanjay Puri from the School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University for his pioneering contributions to the filed of non-equilibrium statistical physics.
The Visitor’s Award for Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences for 2019 was conferred on Prof Sibnath Deb of Pondicherry University for his research in health psychology, in particular on child protection and clinical psychology.
President Kovind presented the Visitor’s Award for Research in Biological Sciences jointly to Prof Asad Ullah Khan from the Inter-disciplinary Biotechnology Unit, Aligarh Muslim University and to Dr Pratima R Solanki from the Special Centre for Nanoscience, Jawaharlal Nehru University.