As one of the youngest nations, it was imperative that the Indian youths’ energy was harnessed for national development and education could be used to that effect, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Wednesday.
“India is in the midst of multiple transformations. We are an old civilisation but have a young population. In the first half of the 21st century, we will have the largest population of youths in any country in the world,” Kovind said during the inaugural function of the golden jubilee celebrations of Jesus and Mary College (JMC) here.
“It is crucial to harness the energy of our young people and use it to make our country a developed society. Education is fundamental to this effort — calling for both access to education and quality of education,” he said.
The President said that with the fast changing nature of technology, many jobs were soon going to fall into obsolescence and that it were the centres of higher learning like JMC which would help people adapt to these changes.
“The nature of our economy and of the very concept of a workplace is also changing. The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the advances in digitisation and robotics will together make certain types of jobs obsolete and also create many new opportunities.
“How our society copes with these dramatic changes will be dependent on how our leading institutions of higher learning — institutions such as Jesus and Mary College — will respond,” Kovind said.
To meet the challenges that lie ahead, he said, our education system needs to be “nimble and dynamic enough”.
He praised the missionary-run college, saying that education of women was crucial for society.
“Education of girls is much more important than we realise. An educated girl contributes to the economy and at work. She also ensures that other children in her family, as well as the family she may be married into, are educated,” he said.
Blood and organ donation drives held by the college in the past were also lauded by the President, who confessed to being “deeply moved” by the students’ sense of compassion.