The 69th Republic Day was celebrated with all grace and joy at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus. The UoH fraternity gathered at the GB Maidan for the flag hoisting, parade and cultural activities.
Prof. Appa Rao Podile, the Vice-Chancellor, UoH hoisted the National Flag and delivered the Republic Day speech.
Dear Members of University of Hyderabad fraternity,
Greetings to one and all assembled here on this Republic Day. As an independent republic, India has made several achievements and there are many more that we need to achieve. We are happy that the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education has been increasing over the past 15 years, but there are also increasing concerns on the availability of the ‘quality’ manpower for various sectors. Finishing schools, specialized training modules, imparting right kind of skills etc., in other words, skilling has become necessary to provide the right kind of human resources for the innumerable jobs available in different sectors, especially in private industry. On the other hand, the government has identified the need for Make-in-India and Start-up India where we, as a nation, shall grow, compete and demonstrate the power of the nation to the entire world. The industry, on the other hand, probably, is rightly concerned about the quality of manpower to take up the challenges finally to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and give boost to the nation’s development.
As a country, we are at a crucial juncture where the academic institutions need to learn to work closer with the industry, understand their needs, develop mutual confidence, involve them in our teaching and research endeavors more vigorously than what has been done so far. We need to find ways to work together and bridge the gap. Let us be geared up in that direction.
In that direction, we have inducted industry experts on our School Boards in Management, Computer Science, Life Sciences and other Schools. I am sure other Schools will also come up with such proposals. Further, the University has taken a major step to set up a Technology Industrial-Liaison Entrepreneurship-Unit (TIE-U) and to setup a Section 8 Company with the objective to promote interactions with industry and to nurture the entrepreneurship culture in the University. I wish the faculty and students take advantage of this newly created platform in the University and be the leaders in this area in our country. The University is committed to promoting this culture and become a model in the country.
Our University has now recruited regular faculty for the Department of Education and Education Technology and is in the process of recruiting faculty for Department of Music. Both these disciplines would bring further diversity to the courses offered by our University.
In another major development, our Academic Council has recently discussed the steps to further improve the quality of teaching, research and evaluation to ensure that we continue to remain among the top-ranking institutions in the country.
This 44th year of establishment of our University may be a very crucial year. I say this because we are now competing with about 60 other public-funded institutions for a special recognition as “Institution of Eminence”, which will bring grants and increase our responsibility to reach to the top-ranking institutions of the world. Only 10 of these 60 institutions will get such recognition. Let us hope for the best. I understand the outcome will be known towards July 2018.
To transform an institution of excellence to that of eminence, we have to be disruptively innovative, as incremental innovation would not be sufficient. The things that our University should focus in this regard would be efficiency, commitment, quality, transparency, accountability and zero tolerance to corruption. Let us dedicate ourselves to take our University to the next level i.e., eminence from the current level of excellence.
Our tag line is “Global Standards – National Needs”.
It was always a pleasure when I get to meet and talk to several of our alumni working in India and abroad. They are proud of being the alumni of this University. Ours is one of the fastest growing young Universities in the world. Our alumni have ideas and innovative plans to support their alma mater. We wish to respect their contributions in shaping this University. We have an alumnus nominated on our Executive Council. We also have consciously picked up another accomplished alumnus on our Academic Council. Some of our Schools have alumni on our School boards. We welcome much more of such participation for the betterment of this University.
Accreditation of the Institutions is heavily biased towards research output, research grants, quality of publications, etc. Since we have no other option than to comply with such practices, all of us should focus on these aspects on a regular basis. Let us work towards high quality publications, policy papers, and book publications through reputed publishers – all with innovative ideas.
Before I conclude, I wish to touch up on three points which have been a major concern to me as Head of this University.
Notwithstanding many feathers in our University’s cap, I am very much pained and deeply concerned by the fact that our campus has been turning into a garbage dump, with almost all areas and lakes being polluted with bottles and plastics – in their broken form and in pieces, brazenly exposing the nature lovers to grave dangers. Unfortunately, this deplorable situation persists despite the University administration working hard to make it a clean campus under ‘Swatch Bharath’ and various other programs. But, let this be a collective responsibility to preserve our campus, which is considered a major lung space in twin cities. Let us go for an Area Adoption Program (AAP), with voluntary participation by the students and staff – it will be successful.
The suggestion in this regard is a teaching faculty with a few members of Non-teaching staff and students can make a Volunteer group, with special identity. We can form many such groups. If these groups can channelize free time, once or twice a monthly clean-up drives at weekends can yield good results. University could be a role model in the country.
I would like to share with you that there exists already a team of enthusiastic students under the name ‘WILD LENS’ and other teams comprising students of Integrated Studies under the Green Revolution Certificate program, who are working hard towards seeing our campus clean and green.
I would request the Dean, Students’ Welfare, to take necessary steps to involve the students and the staff in this solemn deed. Let us all get serious with the clean-up drive and ensure that the areas like Peacock Lake, Buffalo Lake, Parrot Lake, White Rocks, High Rocks, and Mushroom Rocks remain clean and lively. With this initiative, let us rid our campus of garbage and liquor bottles, and make it a healthier place to live in.
In the next Independence Day celebrations, the best Volunteer team / group will be acknowledged to show our commitment for the clean and pollution-free campus. I request the UHTA, UHNTEA, UH Staff Union, Students’ Union and all other student organizations to join hands for such an initiative. Let the lead be taken by UHTA with DSW as Chairman to oversee the activity.
Please remember we got wonderful support from Government of Telangana to conserve our lakes and also to beautify them. As a mark of respect for this gesture from the Government, we need to show our commitment as well.
It was an uncomfortable situation when the foundation courses, as part of the ‘Choice-based Credit System’, were not made available to the students well before the beginning of the semester in both the monsoon and winter semesters that caused inconvenience to the students. We shall ensure in future such things do not recur, especially when we are marching towards Eminence. The University would like to work towards reduced impediments in administration, with increased participation of the stakeholders in the e-governance project that can help us in many ways. E-governance project is aimed at increasing efficiency, transparency and accountability of the system. Let us make it a successful project in the year 2018.
The leadership qualities of students, often, take shape in the University when they are amidst of diverse groups, such as ours, which is a “Mini Bharat”, with variety of activities. I was hoping and optimistically look forward that the dynamic student leaders of our campus to debate, evolve and implement constructive steps to organize the mess facility in different hostels. We need committed leadership to take help of hostel administration to bring changes in the hostels and messes. We need to provide better quality food with affordable basics. University has been spending on infrastructure, wages for the staff and related things. But, the mess facility, which is entirely in the hands of students, has not been satisfactory for the hostel boarders. I wish the student leaders put their heads together, undivided on ideologies, and discuss it as part of the common agenda. Chief Warden and DSW will continue to guide and also extend their support to students if the leadership comes forward with concrete steps in this direction. Students can do well only when they eat well. Let our student leaders rise to the occasion.
We have reasons to pat our back for the wonderful performance of our students in hackathons, campus placement, presentations in national and international seminars. Our faculty and students won laurels both at national and international level. Research work published from University of Hyderabad is well cited. You will be happy to know that our citations as per google scholar is more than 2.5 lakhs. There has been a steep increase in the number of patents filed by our University. Let us remember, we can do even better than what we have done so far.
At the end, I wish to alert everyone in the University that we will have no place if we take things easy in discharging specified duties. Let us take a pledge that “we shall work together to enhance the quality of all services at University of Hyderabad”.