The President called for imparting skills through proper training and education to the country's large workforce, which accounts for two-third of its population.

The President said standards of education in the country must be improved and education made affordable for meritorious students from all backgrounds.

"There is also need to create a large pool of good quality and committed teachers who can be entrusted the responsibility of shaping the next generation," a press communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
    
He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 150th anniversary celebrations of Metropolitan Institution (Main) here.

Mukherjee said the progress of our nation is contingent on the drive, motivation, initiative and energy of our youth.

"India boasts of the largest population of young people in the world. This demographic dividend can be reaped only through education," the President said.

India has the largest secondary education system in the world with total enrolment of over 10.7 crore. Yet, the gross enrolment ratio at the secondary education level is a mere 53 in India as compared to 96 in the US, 94 in South Africa and 89 in Russia and Mexico respectively, he pointed out.

The President said that more than two lakh meritorious students leave the country for pursuing higher studies in foreign universities and none of our institutions are ranked in the top 200 positions by reputed international surveys.     

"Yet, there was a time between 6th century BC and 12th century AD when scholars from around the globe used to flock to Indian seats of higher learning like Nalanda, Takshashila and Vikramshila," he added.

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