President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said that higher education is a privilege not available to a lot of people in our country and appealed to students to help improve the condition of such underprivileged fellow citizens.

Addressing the 26th annual convocation of North Eastern Hill University in Shillong, Kovind also urged the students to give back to the society in whatever way they can.

Elated with the fact that this year 76 per cent of the total gold medal awardees of NEHU are girls, the President said, “In almost all the universities where I have attended convocations, I have observed that girls have been outshining boys. This reflects our society’s progress and points towards our bright future as a developed nation.”

Exhorting upon the stakeholders to focus on ‘University Social Responsibility’ (USR), Kovind said, “To fulfil USR obligations, students of this university may spend time at some villages and also stay the night, if it is workable. They (students) should help the villagers deal with their problems.”

“They may make the villagers aware of the importance of sanitation, literacy, vaccination and nutrition of children. This exposure will not only help the villagers but also make the students more aware and sensitive to ground realities,” he appealed to the fresh graduates.

Stating that NEHU has emerged as a premier centre of learning, Kovind, who is also the Visitor of this central varsity, said, “institutions of higher education like NEHU can be instruments of social and economic transformation and can help Meghalaya in achieving better ranking on Human Development Indices.”

Apart from imparting higher education in all the major disciplines, he said the university is also giving special emphasis on the development of this region which has a significant tribal population.

Altogether, 14,502 students were conferred with their degrees and PhD degrees in their respective subjects.

Stating that there is a lot to learn from the traditional wisdom of the tribal brothers and sisters of Meghalaya, Kovind praised the progressive society of Meghalaya gives primacy to women and that also teaches the value of cleanliness.

“For several years, Mawlynnong has been regarded as the cleanest village in Asia. Speaking of cleanliness, it is worth mentioning that brooms made in Meghalaya from the local broom-grass are in great demand across the country. Pristine waters of Dawki and Umngot rivers reflect not only beauty of nature but also the wisdom of Meghalaya’s people,” the President said.

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