Prof. Dr. T.G.Sitharam

Director & Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
Professor, Civil Engineering, IISc Bangalore (On Deputation)

Office Phone :
+91 361 258 2005 / 2690401
Office Fax :
+91 361 269 2321

Convocation Address at National Institute of Technology Manipur

Respected Director, distinguished guests on the dais and off the dais, Registrar, Deans, Head / Chairpersons, faculty and students of NIT Manipur and parents.

A very good morning to all of you. I am very pleased to be with you on this Convocation of NIT Manipur. It is a profound and defining moment for the students who are graduating. My heartfelt congratulations with a special appreciation to those who have received their degrees and distinctions/awards. But remember, no matter what your marks or divisions or medals you have got, you should certainly contribute immensely to our society and nation. You can do that very well, if you set your priorities right.

I also offer my congratulations to the proud parents whose role in the success of their children is far larger than the children usually believe at this juncture of their lives. My wholehearted appreciation is also to the faculty, staff and leadership of this institution that have aided in shaping your education, thoughts, values and careers ahead.

I want to quote Swami Vivekananda on the topic of education “

  • All the wealth of the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves. Our work should be mainly educational, both moral and intellectual.
  • Educate and raise the masses, and thus alone a nation is possible.

'Education for Life' in addition to 'Education for Living' is the key slogan on this day for graduating students. Do not only look at 5, 4,3,2,1 (five figure salary, four wheeler car, 3 bed room house, 2 children and 1 wife..). Contribute to society and for the needy. You need to develop a right attitude through good values.

In broad terms, your Educational Goals are statements that describe the competences, skills, and attributes that students should possess upon completion of a course or program. They often operate within the interacting domains of knowledge, skills and attitudes. You will step out today with a higher education backed by one of the post-graduate degrees. But that is not enough, you need a right attitude and values in your life.

India’s economic development and transformation is intrinsically linked to its education and skilling. Only an educated country can aspire to be a developed country. We thus need to ramp up the numbers of Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) like your institution particularly in NE part of India. By 2030, India is still will be the youngest nation in the world with nearly 140 million people ready to enter the portals of an HEI. It will be interesting to note that one in every four graduates in the world will be a product of the Indian Higher Education system. Higher Education with an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset is the key to leveraging the demographic dividend for the benefit of the society and community.

The need for increasing HEI numbers is further complicated by the globalization, competition and knowledge-driven economy. ICT tools, Internet and social media have resulted in the explosive growth of knowledge. Knowledge is not only going to drive the Indian economy, but also, it is going to permeate into all the strata of Indian society for a better quality of life for its citizens.

The Indian Higher Education system needs to elevate itself in the knowledge economy by striking a balance between quality and quantity. A multi-pronged strategy is needed. In addition to teaching institutions that primarily focus on skilling and teaching, here is need to promote many more hubs of innovation and research excellence.

I WAS THINKING ABOUT WHAT can I say to you on an occasion like this? Coming as I do, from the Indian Institute of Science and now from IITG, I thought this might be an opportune moment to reflect on the changing face of research. In institutions like my own, the Indian Institute of Science, where research is a prime focus, the distinctions between scientists and engineers are indeed blurred. Computer applications has entered all the areas. Similarly, management professional’s role is critical in all walks of life. Formation of multi-disciplinary teams of researchers and students is very much needed along with Live-in-Labs to focus on transformation and development of India’s villages and towns. In the new world of research, success may require a facility to easily bridge the gaps between disciplines. It may indeed be critical to think of new experiments in undergraduate education, where science, engineering and management merge seamlessly to build a new generation of professionals and researchers. We must ensure that innovation and enterprise are encouraged for both faculty and students. Breaking disciplinary barriers and breaching the concrete walls that separate departments and subjects must be a major challenge for universities in the near future.

You are the agents of change. I am sure each one of you will meet the challenges by imbibing the wholesome values. Value education through Yoga has become critical in this changing scenario. Yoga will add value to your education, Yoga will calm your mind: Yoga will impart compassion in you. Continue to practice Yoga in the future along with your research in higher education.

Faculty members at NIT should establish collaboration from their end with International universities, attract research funds and engage undergraduate and post graduate students in research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Friends, I would like to share with you a few brief thoughts; a few things I have learnt in my life. Believer in yourself and work hard. You can achieve your goals. Aim high and set your goals very high. Productivity requires hard work and total commitment. Focus on your dreams, be prepared to take calculated risks and do not get deterred by failures. In fact, there is no such thing as a failure. Strive to realize your fullest potential and YOU must become agents of change and progress.

Today, Universities are adopting Outcome based education where everything revolves around students and teachers become only facilitators and their role has to change. Famous physicist John Archibald Wheeler once said: "Universities need students in order to educate the Professors". We have to invest in good students and not compromise on the quality of students, to achieve greater success in Higher Education. JEE is one such experiment which is being successful.

I wish each one of the graduating students all the very best again in whatever endeavors you may embark on. May this day in your life be a special one, a significant one and the start of something beautiful. You should simply do what you can do, in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass. All the very best to all of you. Thanks to NIT Manipur for inviting me for this function.

Jai Hind!