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President urges students to help the underprivileged
Staff correspondent

President Ram Nath Kovind conferring the Degree of Doctor of Letters to Kanubhai Hasmukhbhai Tailor, at the 26th convocation of NEHU, in Shillong on Monday. – UB Photos
 SHILLONG, Nov 4 - President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said higher education was a “privilege” not available to many in India and urged students from NEHU to assist the underprivileged.

Kovind was here for the 26th Convocation of NEHU and congratulated the students and scholars for receiving their degrees and medals. “Higher education is a privilege not available to a lot of people in our country. I appeal to all of you to help improve the condition of such underprivileged fellow citizens,” he said.

Touching on NEHU’s motto “Rise up and build”, Kovind urged the students to “internalise this motto and translate it into action”.

Stating that he had called upon stakeholders to focus on University Social Responsibility (USR) in 2018, the President said that to fulfil USR obligations, students may spend time in some villages. “They (students) should make the villagers aware about 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,” Kovind said.

Stating that students need to rise up with commitment, compassion, courage and competence, Kovind said they should build their careers, character, community and the country.

He lauded NEHU, saying that out of all medal awardees at the convocation, 76 per cent were girls. He said that in almost all the universities he has attended convocations, girls have outshone boys. “This reflects our society’s progress and points towards our bright future as a developed nation,” Kovind said.

He praised the traditional wisdom of the people in Meghalaya, and said the “progressive society of Meghalaya” gives primacy to women and values cleanliness.

On root bridges built by the local communities, Kovind said these “environment friendly inter-generational way of building a natural infrastructure is full of messages for entire humanity”.

The President also spoke on Meghalaya’s passion for sports, especially football and appreciated the state government’s effort to promote the sport through Mission Football. “I appeal to the youth to further strengthen their image as excellent sportspersons, artists and professionals, and not become victims of habits or substances which are injurious to health,” he said.

A total of 14,502 candidates received their degrees – 136 were PhD candidates, 41 MPhil, 1,342 postgraduates and 12,983 bachelor degree candidates. Kanubhai Hasmukhbhai Tailor, a person with disability, was conferred a Degree of Doctor of Letters. Kovind walked down from the podium along with Governor Tathagata Roy and Chief Minster Conrad Sangma to confer Tailor the honour.

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