Over a lakh students graduate from SPPU

ST CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, 12 January 2019

“Innovation and new technology will decide the future direction of development. The imminent applications of AI and ML are likely to affect the job skills required for tomorrow’s enterprises. Your generation, therefore, needs to be prepared with these new skills in all areas of human endeavour. AI and ML are the science of future,” said Mande.

Pune: The joyous and exciting environment at the 114th Convocation Ceremony of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SSPU) was marred after a few students created a ruckus over wearing ‘Puneri Pagdi’ on Friday. Interestingly, this was for the first time in the history of the varsity more than lakh students graduated but the celebrations were spoiled after a few students objected to wearing of ‘pagdi’ by the management and academic council members.

A total of 1,03,123 students were conferred degrees and convocation letters at the convocation ceremony. Among these 80,613 are graduate students, 21,366 are postgraduation students. Around 441 were PhD holders and 342 were PG diploma holders. Last year, the total number of graduates stood to 97,133.

Shekhar Mande, Director of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who was present as the chief guest at the event, insisted students to contribute in large numbers in the fourth industrial revolution where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is making a huge impact.

“Innovation and new technology will decide the future direction of development. The imminent applications of AI and ML are likely to affect the job skills required for tomorrow’s enterprises. Your generation, therefore, needs to be prepared with these new skills in all areas of human endeavour. AI and ML are the science of future,” said Mande.

SPPU Vice-Chancellor (VC), Nitin Karmalkar read out the annual report of university’s development, achievement and awards. He also congratulated the students who graduated on Friday. SPPU Registrar Prafulla Pawar, Pro-VC NS Umarani, all the dean of faculties, members of management and academic council were present at the event.

Convocation caught in protest
Meanwhile, three students of a student union group walked in the convocation pandal and raised slogans against ‘Puneri Pagdi’ worn by management and academic council members on dais citing that the pagdi symbolises Brahminical culture from Peshwa dynasty and demanded it should be replaced by ‘Phule’ Pagdi named after Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, considering his immense contribution in the field of education in the state. While a few students from another students’ union groups dragged a mule wearing the ‘Puneri Pagdi’ as a protest.

The three students were taken to Chatuhshrungi police station where they were summoned and warned not to repeat the incident again. However, the protest didn’t dim the vibrant environment on campus and graduating students remained undeterred.

What students say
This time, another unique thing was that SPPU has replaced black convocation robes to traditional Indian wear (kurta and pyjama) which was provided by the varsity. However, it wasn’t compulsory for all students. When asked the students about the new attire and relevance of Puneri Pagdi, they echoed that what matters is education and not the attire.

“I like the traditional attire given by university this time. I had worn a black robe for my bachelor’s convocation ceremony. But this wear gives a different feeling and it’s nice that it may take Indian tradition forward,” said Kaveri Kanawde, postgraduate, MSc in Physics from Sangamner College, who received the Best Student of the Year award.
 
“Black robes have been the tradition of convocation ceremony, so naturally it is liked more. Indian traditional clothes are also welcomed, only it shouldn’t define a particular state culture but an inclusive of the entire country. If the attire has to be changed at all, it should be a uniform attire that can be worn across the country by all,” said Snehal Ghodke, Master in Computer Engineering from Pune Institute of Computer Technology.

“The education and degree hold the most importance, not what is worn. We have no problem with any kind of pagdi, therefore, it doesn’t really matter,” said Nikhil Jog, Master in Commerce from Modern College of Arts, Commerce and Science.

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