Bengaluru: Days after the Jawaharlal Nehru University was rocked by violence, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said educational campuses must not become safe havens for the politics of hate and violence to thrive. He also said academic endeavors and co-curricular initiatives must attain primacy in universities and not factionalism and divisive tendencies. There is no doubt that there is space for every shade of opinion and every point of view in our universities, Naidu said in his address at the silver jubilee celebrations of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) here. The Vice-President's comments come in the backdrop of the violence at the JNU on Sunday night when masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus, leaving several injured. "Our children, when they leave the portals of the educational institutions must be enlightened citizens who will take an abiding interest in protecting our democracy and preserving the fundamental values that are enshrined in our constitution. But our campuses must not become safe havens for the politics of hate and violence to thrive. Academic endeavors and co-curricular initiatives must attain primacy in our universities and not factionalism and divisive tendencies", Naidu said. Stressing the need for focus on research and development, the Vice President said that at present India was spending less than 1 per cent of its GDP on R&D. This must change. Research, especially Science and Technology research, is resource-intensive, time-consuming and risky. We as a society, must be prepared to bear with this risk, he said in his address, a copy of which was released to media. Further noting that it was a matter of grave concern that Indian universities rank low in both research and teaching, Naidu said, though the number of Higher Education Institutions has surged in India since the 2000s, the number of students undertaking PhDs has not shown a corresponding hike. There are over one lakh India-born PhDs in universities around the world. We must attract at least some of this talent back home through better opportunities and incentives so that they may help fast-track the progress of our R & D sector, he said. It was a matter of grave concern that the latest India Skills Report suggests that only 47 per cent of Indian graduates were employable, the Vice President pointed out and said, therefore, along with education, necessary skills, including life skills, should be imparted to the students. Complementing the accreditation framework developed by NAAC, Naidu said he was certain in the time to come, NAAC will act as a friend, philosopher and guide to our Institutions of Higher Education, constantly raising standards and benchmarks for quality and excellence. Earlier, the Vice-President visited Poornaprajna Vidyapeetha here, where Vishwesha TheerthaSwamiji of Pejawar Mutt, who passed away last month, has been interred and paid floral tributes. The Swamiji was a true embodiment of the teachings of Srimad Bhagavadgita and his was a life dedicated to purifying the cultural, religious and social values of our present-day society, he said. Naidu also visited the mechanised kitchen facility at "Adamya Chetana", that serves food to thousands of school children. It was founded by late Union Minister Ananth Kumar and his wife Tejaswini.
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