Education was not a one-stop arrangement and students should pursue knowledge throughout their life to attain excellence, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday said. She also urged students to contribute for rural development, asking them to 'invoke' the Mahatma Gandhi in them. The Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles was addressing students at the Annual Convocation of the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) here.
"Education is not a one-stop arrangement...If you seek knowledge for the rest of your life, you will attain excellence," she said.
Education was not limited to an institution, Irani said noting that the Convocation Day was not the end of the students' relationship with their institution but the beginning of a new chapter. Around 1,700 students, including research scholars graduated from the city-based deemed varsity on Tuesday, with the Union Minister giving away the certificates and medals to the meritorious. Irani, a former HRD Minister, pointed out that while a total of 331 research papers were published in the country in 2006, the number increased to 3,301 in 2016 and lauded premier varsities in the country like IIMs and IITs for the turnaround.
"This was possible as institutions like VIT, IITs and IIMs made a concerted effort" in this connection, Irani said. She urged students to explore the possibility of incubating start-ups in their institutions. Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Irani said the Father of the Nation had "revolutionised the thought of democracy across the world" and inspire many across the country.
"Gandhi believed that the soul of India lies in our villages," she said and exhorted the students to "invoke the Gandh in you" to help rural India develop. Earlier, G Viswanathan, Chancellor of the University, urged more public spending in the education sector. He suggested the government should offer free higher education, at least for women to reach its goals. India had more potential to become an education "superpower," he added.