A robust ecosystem of research and innovation is crucial for India to sustain its large and vibrant economy and uplift its society, said K. Kasturirangan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and former chairman of the National Education Policy Committee.

Mr. Kasturirangan was delivering, virtually, the convocation address at the Vellore Institute of Technology’s (VIT) 35th annual convocation on Friday.

The former ISRO chief said that students should aspire to deepen and broaden their knowledge, learn to experience the power of collective teamwork and be guided by higher values which they believe in.

With advancement in technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, an increasing number of hybrid jobs where a person’s vocational skills would complement the capabilities of hi-tech equipment could be foreseen, he said.

A higher education system was, therefore, necessary to prepare students for such jobs, he said, and added that vocational education would become an integral part of the larger vision of liberal education.

Noting that students from over 50 countries were studying at the institution, G. Viswanathan, chancellor of VIT, said the Kasturirangan Education Policy Committee spoke about internationalisation, as India needed to attract more students from abroad. Many students went abroad for medical education due to scarcity of seats, he said, adding that he hoped that the Prime Minister would increase the availability of medical seats in the country. VIT vice-presidents Sankar Viswanathan and Sekar Viswanathan and assistant vice-president Kadhambari S. Viswanathan were present.

A total of 7,444 undergraduates and postgraduate students graduated.

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