Alumni obliged to pay back to their alma mater: Kovind

Sunday, November 5, 2017

President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said alumni of all reputed institutions of education have a moral obligation to pay back to those seats of learning and help the less privileged acquire knowledge.

"All great universities of the world have a deep and thriving engagement between old students and the institution. They invite alumni to contribute, not merely in terms of financial assistance but more in terms of knowledge sharing and time," Kovind said while addressing the 48th convocation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) here.

"In the case of IIT Delhi alumni group, this can be done in several ways. Many of those who studied here in the past were fortunate to have their world-class education heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. There is a moral obligation to pay back, and to help the less privileged -- in whichever manner the individual prefers," he added.

The responsibility to involve the alumni -- including for teaching, even for short term -- in this case was on the IIT Delhi, which should simplify the rules for its facilitation, if need be, suggested Kovind.

He also appraised the premier technology institute as the "gold standard of technical education" in the country and for forming the "bedrock of India's engineering capabilities".

"They (IITians) have been brand ambassadors of India's intellectual and technological strength across the globe, from Singapore to Silicon Valley," he said.

The President also expressed his happiness at the fact that the IIT Delhi has been churning out more postgraduates than undergraduates now, describing it as an indicator of the institute's "strong focus on research and development".

This was the first time the institute had invited 50 Navodaya Vidyalaya toppers (25 boys and 25 girls) from across the country to generate interest among them about the culture of institute and the learning possibilities there.

Kovind also referred to a number of inventions at the institute in his speech including "Nanofilters", the low cost tool to protect us from air pollution, and "Smartcane", a smart version of the normal cane for visually impaired people by using ultrasonic technology.

During the convocation, the institute awarded 1,941 degrees, including 306 Ph.Ds, up from last year's 264.

The IIT Delhi also awarded four of its alumni for their "distinguished" contribution to the society.

The awardees were: Kiran Bedi, currently Lt Governor of Pondicherry; Sunil Sood, MD and CEO of Vodafone India; Saurabh Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Mission Holdings; and Soumitra Dutta, Dean, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University.

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