Graduates should meet 21st century challenges, says Kadir
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar says that there is a dire need to reassert the university institution's role in society today. Stating that it was the universities of the world that collectively, think, speak, rejoice and weep for mankind, the Minister said this reassertion would be a key factor in accelerating the pace of social and economic development worldwide.

The Minister made these observations at the Inauguration of the Education Lanka Institute of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI), which was held this week.

Minister Kadirgamar further highlighted the importance of university education in Asia, saying that many Asian countries regard secondary and tertiary education as an integral part of their national development plan.

However, the Minister also stressed the fact that the future of the university in a knowledge based society could not be discussed solely in financial terms. "The unique quality of a university, be it residential or non-residential, is its ability to provide room, under one roof as it were, for a multiplicity of disciplines, including the new ones, whilst also providing the opportunity and ambience for students to interact with their teachers and their peers in a relaxed atmosphere," said Mr. Kadirgamar.

The Minister went on to stress that alternative learning methods were no substitute for actual, on campus learning. "Learning from the internet is no substitute whatsoever for learning from your teachers and your peers," the Foreign Minister said.

The Foreign Minister also challenged the administrators and faculty members of Asia's universities to think more on how they might better prepare graduates to deal with the daunting problems of societies of the future.

In conclusion, Mr. Kadirgamar addressed the Chancellor of the Institute, saying that he hoped that the university would not become mainly a manufactory of graduates for jobs in the market but that it would "strive to produce a university graduate who is flexible, self confident and innovative to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

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