Shillong, June 10: Veteran politician and former chief minister, Donwa Dethwelson Lapang was conferred an honorary degree of doctor of letters (Hon D.Litt) by the University of Science and Technology (USTM), Meghalaya.
The private university recognized Lapang’s contribution in the field of political administration, policy formulation and social reforms.
The degree has added another feather to the cap of the current Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief, who had been sworn-in as chief minister of the state for the fifth time.
Lapang received the degree at the 2nd convocation of USTM held at its campus, Baridua, Ri Bhoi district today in the presence of other dignitaries.
Altogether, 585 students including those in absentia, were conferred degrees at the convocation.
In his career as MLA of Nongpoh Assembly constituency since 1972 till date, the veteran political leader, Lapang, lost the Assembly election from Nongpoh only once, in 1993.
Along with Lapang, former Vice-Chancellor of Tezpur University, Assam Prof. Mihir Kanti Chaudhuri was also conferred the degree of doctor of science (Hon. D.Sc) in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of academic administration, promotion of science and technology, and elevating Tezpur University to greater heights.
Lapang had been conferred with Doctorate of Divinity by the International Council of Higher Education, Bangalore on January 7, 2004, followed by another Doctorate of Divinity conferred by Serampore College, West Bengal on February 11, 2006, and Doctorate degree in Philosophy by the Sam Higginbotton Institute of Agriculture, Technology & Sciences University Allahabad on April 9, 2009.
In his brief address, Lapang congratulated the students who received their respective degrees at the convocation, and thanked USTM for conferring upon him the honorary degree.
“I am honoured, and I feel it is an encouragement for my small remaining life. Now I am 84, and I have few more times to utilize the degree that has been given to me. I have never dreamt that the university can create wonders. Not only from Meghalaya but students from the whole Northeast got the opportunity to study in the university,” Lapang said, while urging the university to further strive in its endeavour of providing quality education.
Meanwhile, Prof Chaudhuri, lauded USTM and congratulated students who received their degrees.
Complimenting the contribution of private players in the field of education, Prof Chaudhuri however asked educational institutes to be careful of the standards.
“Let us be careful about the standards. Higher education now is at crossroads, and we have to find a way how to cross the road,” Chaudhuri said.
The former VC of Tezpur University also stressed the need that educational institutes should be able to empower the youth with various skills, including entrepreneurship skills so that they can plan their future when they came out of campuses.
He also urged universities to plan and implement their fixed goals on a priority basis, by setting criticisms aside.
“Education has to be oriented. Students expect job when they leave their campus, but if they are not empowered, we are heading to more problems,” Prof Chaudhuri stated.
He also referred to various initiatives of the government to empower the youth such as skill India, digital India, start-ups, while underlining the need to provide various skills to the youth, and guide students to become entrepreneurs.
Prof Chaudhuri also urged educational institutes to help underprivileged students who cannot go for higher studies after completing graduation.