Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today said learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge were vital in today's knowledge economy and that teachers played a key role in transforming the society. Asserting that teachers could never be replaced by anything, including Google, he said, "There is no doubt that Google is very useful. However, the Guru is always inspirational." Naidu was speaking at the 13th Annual Convocation of the KIIT University here. "We are in the age of LPG -- liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation. As life has become very competitive today, students should prepare themselves to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge in the contemporary world. "Upgrading our competence, updating our knowledge and adapting to a rapidly changing work environment is the need of the hour. To do this, you must keep your eyes, ears, minds and hearts open," he said. The vice-president also said that students must learn to discover and innovate. "You must know how to think out of the box and collect as well as connect facts.
You must acquire and utilise the vast resources that are now more readily available than before -- information and knowledge. You must strive to be the best in whatever field you choose," he added. Quoting a verse from Upanishad, Naidu said, "Speak the truth, practise virtue, do not give up learning. Seers have also said, adopt good practices, do not neglect welfare." Stating that accessing, adopting, adapting and assimilating new ideas have been the strength of India, he said one must adopt this inclusive, welcoming world view. "We cannot be a vishwaguru if we do not connect with the vishwam and contribute to the welfare and well-being of our countrymen and the people on this beautiful planet," Naidu said. He also laid an emphasis on motherland and mother tongue, saying there was nothing wrong in learning English or any other language, "but at the same time, you must be proficient and efficient in your mother tongue, which comes from the heart and helps one express his feelings better". Odisha Governor S C Jamir was present on the occasion, along with other dignitaries and the staff of the university. A total 4,820 students received their degrees during the annual convocation. While 3,678 received their bachelors degree, 837 got the masters degree, 240 students got dual degrees while 62 students received their PhD degrees. Gold and silver medals also were awarded to the meritorious students in different fields.