‘We must focus on treading the path of individuality and independent thinking,’ says LG Manoj Sinha in address
Srinagar: The Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) conducted its maiden convocation on Monday to felicitate its alumni and students who had shown excellent performance in the past many years.
The event was held at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on the banks of Dal Lake here in Srinagar on Monday, and was presided over by the University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof DP Singh along with the Lieutenant Governer of J&K, Manoj Sinha, who is also chancellor of the university.
Though the university was established way back in 2005 at Awantipora in south Kashmir, it was yet to hold any convocation for its students and alumni who had passed out over the past fifteen years. Earlier, in 2016, the university had planned to hold its first convocation but due to the situation of unrest, the event was cancelled.
This year, the university finally held its first-ever convocation, which was attended by hundreds of alumni and students of the varsity. Nearly 163 students were conferred with gold medals with a large number of undergraduate, graduate as well as doctorate students granted their degree certificates.
Wearing academic robes while holding their heads high, the alumni and students were felicitated with gold medals and degree certificates by both the Chief Guests, Dhirendra Pal Singh (DP Singh) and the Chancellor Manoj Sinha during the event.
For the award of gold medals, the Registrar of the university announced the recipients and for the conferment of degrees, the deans of various departments of the varsity announced the number of students under each course. Notably, the Chief Guest and Chancellor along with the Vice-Chancellor and deans of various departments wore similar academic robes, though with a difference in colour.
On the occasion, Manoj Sinha congratulated the graduating students and gold medalists for their academic performance and the faculty members of the varsity for shaping the young minds.
“The first convocation should have been held in 2011 but unfortunately that did not happen. Given this gap of time, many students might be working in some blue-chip company or pursuing higher courses. But I would like to tell them, your families must be extremely proud of your accomplishment. Convocation marks the end of an intensive period of your journey, and I always believe convocation is not the end, it is the beginning,” Sinha said.
Sinha emphasized on imparting Outcome-Based Education in educational institutions to strike a balance between the available manpower and the industry requirement, which could be achieved by strengthening coordination between different colleges and industries.
He called upon the student community to come forward and contribute towards making an Atma-Nirbhar, or self-reliant, Jammu and Kashmir. “We must focus on treading the path of individuality and turn ourselves into a powerful and independent-thinking individual to create space for innovative ideas and creativity within our own self,” he said.
Developing of a student-centric instructional model, he added, will ensure good performance of students in each field with their performance being actively measured and accordingly steps being taken for improvement in quality and efficiency as per industry and enterprise requirements.
DP Singh in his address lauded the varsity for giving utmost importance to research and innovation. “The centers for research and innovation established in the university, like Design Innovation Centre, Watson-Crick Centre for Molecular Medicine, and Mantaqi Cetre for Science and Society are in line with the New Education Policy. I am glad to know that this university has given equal importance to research in Humanities and Social Sciences by setting up centers of Spiritual Studies, Comprative Civilisations, West Himalayan Studies, Languages and Philosophy,” he said.
Describing Kashmir as the beautiful place on earth, Singh said that the students staying and learning here were lucky he and considered himself privileged to have had an opportunity of speaking to the young people of the valley.
“I congratulate all the students as well as their proud parents and faculty. For any student, convocation is not just a formal day to receive the degree; rather, it marks the beginning of an entirely different worldview. Your university’s environment and interactions with its faculty must have provided you with both professional and ethical values necessary to lead a professional and rewarding life ahead,” he said.
In a short span of fifteen years, he said, IUST had established a strong reputation for excellence and for focus on modern market-oriented education by forging linkages with many international institutions. During this span, the number of programmes has increased by 10 times, which is appreciable, he said. Also, the number of permanent faculty has increased more than 10 times from 21 in 2005-06 to 231 in 2020, he added.
Singh stressed on the implementation of recently announced National Education Policy (NEP-2020), saying that it proposes an India-centric education system with a vision to develop global citizens. “The NEP-2020 intends to universalise education from pre-school to secondary level. The policy envisages broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic under-graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combination of subjects, multiple entry and exit points, etc,” Singh said.
Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Mushtaq A Siddiqi, thanked the Chief Guest and Chancellor besides students, faculty members and other dignitaries present on the occasion, among whom were National Conference (NC) President and Member of Parliament, Dr Farooq Abdullah, and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Mayor, Junaid Azim Mattu.
“I’m highly thankful to LG Manoj Sinha who has been very supportive of the endeavours of the university. I pay my hearty congrats to students and appreciate them for their success at a time when most of the students aren’t between us due to Covid-19 pandemic. We started with meager financial resources, but the university was founded with a broad vision that laid down a plan to make the varsity an institution of innovation, excellence and dialogue across many disciplines. It is that vision that has made this university attain so many milestones in such a short duration,” he said.
None of this would have been possible, he said, without the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff.
He informed that the Islamic university currently runs with 19 academic blocks and has spent two-hundred crore rupees in the last five months for infrastructure and development of the varsity. However, he said, the varsity is still without a Science block and for this he requested the government to approve funds for its construction.
Besides this, Siddiqi said, there was no convocation complex in the university due to which the varsity had to hold their maiden convocation outside the university.
’’Many universities across India have constituent medical colleges. We, too, are demanding a constituent medical college affiliated with the university. If the government deems it right, it may consider to bring the recently set up Govt Medical College (GMC) Anantnag under the jurisdiction of IUST, which would be a welcome step and will contribute to the realisation of NEP-2020 at the ground level,” he added.