Dr. K.T. Jaleel, Hon’ble Minister for Higher Education,

Shri Thomas Chazhikkadan, Member of Parliament,

Shri Raju Abraham, Member of Legislative Assembly,

Shri Suresh Kurup, Member of Legislative Assembly,

Prof. [Dr.] Rajan Gurukkal, Vice Chairman, Kerala State Higher  Education Council,

Prof. [Dr.] Sabu Thomas, Vice Chancellor,

Prof. [Dr.] C.T. Aravindakumar, Pro-Vice Chancellor,

Adv. P.K. Harikumar, Member, Syndicate,

Dear Teachers, Students and Staff,

Sahodaree Sahodaranmare,

Ellaavarkkum Ente Namaskaaram.

  It gives me great joy to inaugurate the Convergence Academia Complex, which has been constructed at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.

       Let me at the outset, congratulate the Vice Chancellorand the Syndicateon their initiative in completing the construction of this Academia Complexto accommodate the various Inter University Centers and Inter school centres, which have been started to foster innovative research. I am happy that that the prize money earned by this university through the Chancellor's Award of 2015 and 2017 could be utilized to complete the construction of this complex, which is the first of its kind in Kerala.

       The Vice Chancellor Prof. Sabu Thomas deserves to be appreciated for his nomination to the European Academy of Sciences and for being made a Fellow of the International Academy of Physical Sciences. I hope this recognition would be an inspiration for students and researchers of the university.

       As we all know, the Mahatma Gandhi Universityhas been giving due importance to inter disciplinary research and studies ever since its inception. Today, the concept of convergence has gained great relevance in every area including education and communication. All of us are aware of how the media for communication had converged to simple hand-held devices and how this convergence has rendered many gadgets irrelevant. Similarly, the barriers of educational disciplines and the very concept of the classroom are changing all over the world. The borders that we had drawn in the conventional maps of academic research are now being redrawn or even completely erased.

       I am informed that the idea behind this Convergence Academia complex is to ensure regular academic and intellectual interaction between researchers of various disciplines. In fact, many universities the world over, design their buildings in such a way that their corridors ensure the frequent meetings of people. Such 'intellectual collisions' can open dialogues, trigger collaborations and encourage innovation. I hope that this complex would also provide such an atmosphere to our students.

       Knowledge, discovery and innovation are factors critical to the development of any society. And, in a knowledge driven society like ours, the quality of higher education has become vital for breathing life into these critical factors. Our society considers higher education as a long term investment for ensuring better democratic governance, improving social cohesion, bringing innovation and for ensuring equity and justice. Therefore, it is not surprising that society expects our universities to provide solutions to day to day problems. Hence, our institutions of higher education should be sensitive enough to create, select and adapt knowledge for the benefit of society.

       At the same time, we see many of our universities being reluctant to step down to basic levels and offer solutions to simple issues. The excuse we hear is that the researchers are in search of higher knowledge, which has to be applied to problems which are much above the basic issues.  But, let us remember the case of Indian Space Research Organization [ISRO], which handles very advanced Space science, and at the same time, uses it to offer help to ordinary people including our farmers and fisher-folk. If a premier research organization like ISRO can step down to the levels and needs of ordinary people, our universities could also replicate such success in the areas they serve.

       But, such success can be attained only if we consider quality as our priority. At the scientific and technological level, India has gone beyond the sky, to touch the Moonand Mars. We have just seen the successful launch of Chandrayan 2, but how many of our State universities and colleges have been able to ensure a long lasting academic cooperation with organizations like Indian Space Research Organization ?  It was to address such issues that we had introduced the Chancellor's Awards for the best universities. I can say that we had moderate success in enhancing the quality of education, but I also feel that we are yet to achieve our goals with regard to establishing high quality research and journals. 

       Our universities should also remember that Knowledge can be en-cashed through their research output. Today, our universities undertake many research projects, and some of them add strength to the academic profile of researchers, but very few get translated into technologies capable of generating income. At a time when universities all over the world are advised to fend for themselves by generating own funds, we cannot afford to sit back and watch others going far ahead of us.

       The reluctance to use appropriate technology is often cited as a problem with many of our State universities. We have moved into the fourth Industrial Revolution, which is bringing   a fusion of technologies and erasing the boundaries of the physical, digital, and biological spheres. It is disrupting almost every industry in every country, and heralding a transformation of   systems of production and even governance through concepts like Artificial intelligence, Block-chain and so on.  These changes are opening before us an ocean of opportunities in terms of education and employment. Our education should attune our society to these new technological and scientific advances, for which universities should take the lead by accommodating the disruptive technologies and by equipping our students to start ventures that would positively affect the lives of ordinary people. Today, Kerala has the best connectivity and a digitally empowered society. What is needed is only an Education that is receptive to such ideas.


       I also feel that the floods and landslides we faced in the last two years must make our universities and experts think seriously about providing valuable inputs to people about how to prevent such disasters. Each university should identify the ecologically sensitive areas around it and convince society about the dangers of construction in such places. I would also suggest a campus level campaign to convince farmers about the seasonal crops suitable and unsuitable for each region. It is through such steps that we move closer to the civil society which has invested its resources to educate us.

       Students are the major stake holders in any university. It is the academic and co-academic brightness of the students   that reflects in the success of every institution. Unfortunately, some of our campuses have become places for political and non-educational activities. We also see political and other outfits exploiting the youthful vigor of our students for undesirable activities.

       Today, the levels to which student politics is linked to the politics of violence is a matter to be seriously looked into and corrected. The tendency of using student politics as a cover for malpractices in examinations is extremely unjust and could be cited as inefficiency of those who manage our institutions. Those who support party politics in campuses often swear by the need for providing our youth, an orientation towards democratic functioning. But, where is the place for terror, violence and utter disregard for the law in a democracy?

       I would conclude by requesting the Mahatma Gandhi University to endeavor to be above such shortcomings by ensuring higher quality in teaching and research and by placing academic activity above everything else. I hope the academic and research atmosphere in this Convergence Academia Complex would be truly conducive to the realization of such a goal.

  I once again greet the academic community of this university and compliment the organizers for conducting this function in a befitting manner.


Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal


Jai Hind