Former president Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday inaugurated a three-day national conference of vice-chancellors and said that universities should try to have a global perspective in the education system.
Organised by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in collaboration with the University of Science and Technology Meghalaya (USTM), this year's summit began with the theme 'Transformative Higher Education for Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
"Our universities should try to make students capable citizens. Being at the top of the education system, universities should try to have a global perspective," Kovind said.
The AIU should play the role of an active stakeholder as transformative higher education requires coordinated efforts by everyone, he added.
The 97th annual general meeting of AIU also took place during the programme.
Delivering the lecture, Bibek Debroy, Padma Shri awardee and chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the prime minister, said, "There must be a certain benchmark level of enrolment that is necessary for an institution of higher education to be viable."
"The government's limited resources are best spent on school education rather than on higher education. There should be professionally viable courses, while the other courses could be subsidised," Debroy said.
More than 500 vice-chancellors, directors of IITs, IISc, and NITs along with educationists and policymakers from foreign countries are taking part in the deliberations.
Offering the presidential address, AIU president and Jadavpur University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said, "There needs to be a shift from informative curriculum to formative and transformative one. The emphasis should be on a participatory board of education."
The challenge now is to transform India's higher education institutions from seats of teaching to seats of learning, he added.
"There has to be collaborative work between research institutions and society. The competition between foreign and Indian institutions should be on a level playing field," Das said.
In his welcome speech, USTM Chancellor Mahbubul Hoque expressed gratitude to AIU and Kovind for choosing the Meghalayan varsity as the partner to host the event.