Former president of India Pranab Mukherjee concluded his final lecture at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad on 16 November. For the last three months Mukherjee has been conducting lectures as a visiting faculty at the premier business school where he taught the course ‘Public Policy for Inclusive Development of India’ under the aegis of the JSW School of Public Policy.
The former president has been conducting lectures for the last three months where he held 12 out of total 22 sessions on the course.
On 17 November, Mukherjee’s last lecture on ‘Articulating Policy and Institutional Agenda for Future Transformation of India’ was held at Ravi J. Matthai Auditorium where members of the press and students from different educational institutes were also invited.
Mukherjee is the second former president to have taught at the premier B-school as a guest faculty, after APJ Abdul Kalam.
‘IITians Prefer Plush Jobs Over Research’
During his lecture, Mukherjee turned the audience’s attention towards important education institutes such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and National Institute of Technology (NIT) among others. He said that while students graduating the institutes are bagging premium jobs there is a dearth of interest among students towards research and innovation.
“Over 36,000 degree colleges along with first class institutions like IITs, NITs, and others are producing quality graduates. In 2015 India was fourth next to Japan, UK and US with more than 24000 post-doctoral students. IIT grads land plush managerial jobs by the penultimate year of their course. I have no grudge of them getting good jobs. However, I ask the directors of IITs and heads of other institutions – how many of these students are focussed on research and innovation?”Pranab Mukjerjee, Former President of India
He further said that since 1930, not a single Indian scientist working in Indian institutions has bagged the Nobel Prize.
“It doesn’t mean that Indian students lack talent. We should encourage research among students and teachers. And for this I must stress that 6 per cent of our GDP must be invested in education. By 2022 India needs 500 million skilled persons,” Mukherjee said.
IIM-A Students Enriched by Mukherjee’s Wisdom
The Quint spoke with IIM-A students about their experience learning from the former president of the country.
Vinayak, a second-year doctoral student who is researching on public policy, said it was an enriching experience learning from the best.
“He brought 50 years of his experience as a parliamentarian to the class which was something special. In the last three months we had over eight sessions where in he brought in a lot of personal anecdotes of his interactions with great leaders. This gave us a great insight to the intricacies of the policy world which we never get access to.”
Varsha Murli, a PGP student at IIM-A, said that the best part about the former president’s lecture was that he encouraged all sorts of questions on the government.
“Our generation doesn’t sugar coat our questions and we had so many to ask. He even answered questions related to the UPA government when he was in the Cabinet, and he didn’t mince words. At the age of 83, to teach public policy to students which is not exactly textbook knowledge is quite phenomenal, because he sheds light on the actual realities at policy-level in the classroom . He even assessed our presentations and asked each group to provide one major idea that he will go through. If the idea has merit, he will pass it through for policy building.”Varsha Murli, PGP Student, IIM Ahmedabad