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‘NEHU should set up dept for study of NE tribals’

Union HRD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani hands over the degree of D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) to Rose Milian Bathew during the NEHU Convocation on Tuesday. (ST)
Union HRD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani hands over the degree of D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) to Rose Milian Bathew during the NEHU Convocation on Tuesday. (ST)

SHILLONG: Union Minister of Human Resources Development (HRD), Smriti Zubin Irani, has asked NEHU to set up separate departments to study the history, culture and philosophy of the tribals of the North East region.
Addressing the 23rd Convocation of NEHU here on Tuesday, the Union minister said North East has a diverse culture and a philosophy that can be much taught across the nation and across the world, besides a history which is rich in its contribution to mankind.
While admitting that there was never an attempt to institutionalize or study tribal culture, history and philosophy, the minister said the establishment of such institution or department will be a benefit to the people from across the world and especially across the nation who are interested to understand and document the socio-economic, the political and cultural history of the North East.
Terming NEHU as one of the best disciplined universities she has seen anywhere, the minister said it was time to propagate more women as faculty members even as she added that a recent All India Survey for Higher Education indicated that more and more girls are enrolling into higher education courses.
The Union minister further announced the Centre’s decision to relax the time required for   women and differently-abled students to complete their higher education to facilitate their increase participation and added that instead of two years, women and differently-abled students be given three years to submit their MPhil certification while they will be given eight years instead of six to submit their PhD thesis.
According to her, this is in view of the Centre having recognized the biggest challenge faced by women, who, because of marriage, often leave behind their aspiration and dreams.
Announcing that maternity leave for women will be recognized and given without counting them in the days of study for over 240 days, she also said that women who have to migrate due to marriage will be given migration facilities to ensure they can pursue their PhD anywhere in the country.
Earlier, NEHU Vice Chancellor Prof. S.K. Srivastava expressed hope that students from the University will continue to bring name and fame to the University and the country after their graduation.
Irani also conferred honorary degree on Olympian and five times boxing world champion M.C. Mary Kom and the first woman chairperson of the Union Public Service Commission, Rose Millian Bathew, for their contributions in their respective fields and for furthering the cause of women.
A total of 10,294 students received their degrees during the Convocation.
76-year-old conferred PhD
It was an emotional moment for 76-year-old Doster Roy Khongngai who was conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Khasi during the 23rd Convocation of NEHU on Tuesday.
As a queue of students lined up to receive their citation, Union HRD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani was visibly amazed when Khongngai collected the citation and informed her that he was 76 years of age.
Later, while delivering the Convocation address, the Union minister expressed happiness over the fact that the thirst for education had motivated Doster Roy Khongngai to get his PhD at the age of 76.
While praising the septuagenarian PhD awardee, the Union minister requested him to stand up and the convocation hall reverberated with loud clapping for the oldest recipient of the degree on the day.

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