Bengaluru, Jan 6: Vice President Mohammed Hamid Ansari is on a three-day visit to Bengaluru.
On Tuesday, the second-day of his visit in Bengaluru, Ansari visited the R V College of Engineering (RVCE) on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee celebrations and also visited the WIPRO office as well as Azim Premji Foundation in the IT city in evening.
Vice President Hamid Ansari visited the campus of global software major Wipro Ltd in the city and interacted with its top management, including chairman Azim Premji and chief executive T K Kurien.
"We were honoured to host the vice president at our Sarjapur campus. Our executives, including Premji and Kurien briefed Ansari on our engagement with the government and services offered to customers worldwide," the company said in a statement.
Ansari also interacted with officials of the Azim Premji Foundation at the campus.
As a not-for-profit organisation, the decade-old Foundation has been working towards making impact on the quality and equity of education across the country, along with related development areas.
On the first day of his tour on Monday, Jan 5, Ansari visited the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), attended the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research and also attended the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Daily Salar Urdu newspaper.
When Ansari landed on Monday afternoon at the old HAL airport in the eastern suburb and drove to northeast suburb to participate in the silver jubilee celebrations of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Science Research at Jakkur, hundred of vehicles were blocked enroute in sequence for 10-15 minutes for free passage to his convoy.
On Wednesday, Jan 7, he will visit Bharat Electronics Limited, before emplaning for New Delhi in the afternoon.
Ansari's convoy causes grid lock in Bengaluru
The already chaotic Bengaluru roads witnessed a grid lock on Tuesday when vehicular traffic was blocked to pave way for the convoy of Vice President Hamid Ansari to pass through main thoroughfares for a function, a police official said.
"For security reasons and as per protocol, we had to block vehicular movement for 10-15 minutes on two main roads in the city centre to clear way for the vice president's convoy to reach the venue on the Mysuru road. As a result, vehicles of all types piled up causing grid lock for about 30 minutes in the Majestic area," the official said.
"As the route to the RV college campus from Raj Bhavan (where Ansari stayed overnight), was through the city centre during peak hour on a working day, we blocked vehicles at a couple of intersections to clear way for allowing his convoy to pass through the area," added the official.
With the main railway station, inter-state bus terminus and the city's bus terminal located in the Majestic area, which is enroute to Mysuru road, main roads were packed with all kinds of vehicles bumper-to-bumper.
"Such grid locks are not new. Whenever we have VVIP movements across the city, vehicles are stopped at intersections and traffic signals to clear roads for their convoy to pass through quickly," the official added, denying that there were traffic jams during Ansari's visit, as vehicles were allowed to use alternate roads.
Ansari calls for curricular and academic reforms
Observing that higher education system in the country continues to be afflicted with problems of access, equity and quality, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari today called for curricular and academic reforms.
"We have made progress in the field of higher education since 1947. Today, India has the third largest higher education system in the world. We have around 652 universities and university level institutes that impart higher and technical education. They also provide affiliation to more than 33,000 colleges and institutes," Ansari said.
"However, our higher education system continues to be afflicted with the three problems of access, equity and quality," he said at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the R V College of Engineering (RVCE).
He said enrolment rates in our higher education institutions had gone up to around 17 per cent, but were still well below the world average of 26 per cent.
"Wide disparities exist in enrolment percentages among the states and between urban and rural areas while disadvantaged sections of society and women have significantly lower enrolments than the national average," he added.
Stating that the higher education sector is plagued by a shortage of well-trained faculty, poor infrastructure and outdated and irrelevant curricula, he said, "The use of technology remains limited and standards of research and teaching at Indian universities are far below international standard."
"Curricular reforms leading to regular revision and upgrading of curricula, introduction of semester system, choice-based credit system, and examination reforms are yet to take place in higher educational institutions across the country," he said.
"Exceptions apart, majority of our higher education institutions perform poorly in the area of quality on a relative global scale," Ansari added.
Pointing out that nearly seven lakh science and engineering graduates pass out every year in the country, Ansari said industry surveys show that only 25 per cent of these are employable without further training.
"The picture is more dismal in other disciplines if a recent, non-official, employability report is to be believed." Ansari said in recent years, the massive expansion in enrolment in higher education in the country has resulted in unbearable burden being put on the physical and pedagogic infrastructure of colleges and universities.
"This is reflected in overcrowded classrooms and distortion of desirable student-teacher ratios, overall shortage of teaching and tutorial space, overloading of laboratory and library facilities, and often a lowering of quality of teaching. All these issues require urgent correctives," he added.
Noting that curricular and academic reforms are required to improve student choices, with a fine balance between the market-oriented professional and liberal higher education, Ansari said,
"Higher education must be aligned to the country's economy and also to the needs of the global market."
"Innovative and relevant curricula should be designed to serve different segments of the job market or provide avenues for self-employment. Emphasis must be given to the expansion of skill-based programmes in order to make our youth employable in the job market," he added.
(With agency inputs)