Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: Former President of India
  Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam    
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University Education: Capacity Building

"Education with value system generates Enlightened Citizens"


I am indeed delighted to participate in the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Amolakchand Mahavidyalaya, Yavatmal. I am happy that Amolakchand Mahavidyalaya is creating a pool of knowledge empowered youth who are working in different parts of Maharashtra and other parts of the country. My greetings to all the students and Faculty Members and staff for their contribution in shaping young minds. It is indeed noteworthy that an institution like Amolakchand Mahavidyalaya, had been visualized and established 50 years ago. I greet the founder Amolakchand for his great vision to provide education for the nation in this region. During the last five decades, intake of students in the Mahavidyalaya has increased from hundreds to nearly five thousand in graduate and post graduate programmes. In the years to come, I am confident that this Mahavidyalaya will generate a large number of societal transformers and entrepreneurs with the object of promoting economic development in the Yavatmal district and other places. Now I would like to discuss what are the capacities to be built among the students in the present context and also it is essential for the teachers to acquire the required knowledge.


Capacity Building

When the students come out of the educational institutions, certain capacities are required to be built in them to deal with the real world, particularly to grow in their professional career and participate in the national development. I suggest that the ingredients for capacity building must be embedded right from the beginning of the students? life from primary education to higher education. A good educational model is the need of the hour to ensure that the students are developed as enlightened citizens and also participate in national development missions.

For these missions the capacities required to be built among the students are: The capacity for research or inquiry; the capacity for creativity and innovation; the capacity to use high technology; the capacity for entrepreneurial leadership; and the capacity for moral leadership.

a. Research and enquiry: The 21st century is about the management of all the knowledge and information we have generated and the value addition we could bring to it. We must give our students the skills with which they find a way through the sea of knowledge that we have created and continue with life long learning. Today, we are empowered by technology to teach ourselves beyond classrooms and become life-long learners. This is indeed required for sustained economic development of the nation and also individual prosperity.

b. Creativity and Innovation: The management of knowledge in the 21st century is beyond the capacity of a single individual. The amount of information that we have around is overwhelming. The management of knowledge therefore must move out of the realm of the individual and shift into the realm of the networked groups. The students must learn how to manage knowledge collectively and to work in multi-disciplinary teams. When the information is networked the power and utility of the information grows multifold as predicted by Metcalfe's law. An information that is static does not grow. In the new digital economy, information that is circulated across enterprise, creates innovation and eventually contributes to national wealth.

c. Capacity to use high technology: Every student in our schools and colleges should be brought in contact with technology to aid their learning process. Educational institutions should be equipped with adequate computing equipment, laboratory equipments, Internet facilities with high band width connectivity and provide an environment for the students to enhance their learning ability. In the midst of all of the technological innovations and revolutions we cannot think that the role of the teachers will be diminished. In fact the teacher will become even more important and the whole world of education will become teacher assisted and would help in ?tele-porting? the best teacher to every nook and corner of the country and propagate the knowledge. The teacher becomes a facilitator and knowledge manager. For full utilization of the available connectivities through satellite, high band width optical fibre communication in conjunction with technologies like Wi-max, the most critical aspect is the availability of quality content. I would suggest all the experts here to address this important issue and evolve a time bound action plan so that the quality content is made available at nodal points for access by the students, teachers and desiring learners.

d. Entrepreneurship:The aptitude for entrepreneurship should be cultivated right from the beginning and in the educational environment both in the Schools and the Colleges. We must teach our students to take calculated risks for the sake of larger gain, but within the ethos of good business. They should also cultivate a disposition to do things right. This capacity will enable them to take up challenging tasks later.

e. Moral leadership: Moral leadership involves two aspects. First it requires the ability to have compelling and powerful dreams or visions of human betterment. Moral leadership requires a disposition to do the right thing and influence others also to do right things. There is a need for inclusion of ?moral science? class as a part of education in all the schools and colleges. This is essential for promotion of value based education leading to enlightened citizenship. Let me now describe my own experience in acquisition of knowledge during my college education, where I had an opportunity to receive value based education.


My Experience in St. Joseph?s College

I had a great teacher, who is a living legend now; his name is Prof. Rev. Father Chinnadurai. He taught me Physics in 1952, particularly nuclear physics and light. The way the Professor taught, many students started loving physics, particularly nuclear physics. Now Rev Father Chinnadurai in his 90's is staying in Dindugal, whenever I visit southern region, I meet him and pay my respects.

Now I would like to discuss about my mathematics teacher Prof Thothatri Iyengar. As a young science student, I had an opportunity at St. Joseph?s College to witness a unique scene of divine looking personality walking through the college campus every morning, and teaching Mathematics to various degree courses. Students looked at the personality who was a symbol of our own culture, with awe and respect. When he walked, knowledge radiated all around. The great personality was, Prof Thothatri Iyengar, our teacher. At that time, ?Calculus Srinivasan who was my mathematics teacher, used to talk about Prof Thothatri Iyengar with deep respect. They had an understanding to have an integrated class by Thothatri Iyengar for first year B.Sc. (Hons) and first year B.Sc. (Physics). Thus, I also had the opportunity to attend his classes, particularly on modern algebra, statistics and complex variables. When we were in the B.Sc first year, Calculus Srinivasan used to select top ten students to the Mathematics Club of St. Joseph?s, whom were addressed by Prof Thothatri Iyengar. I still remember, in 1952, he gave a lecture on ancient mathematicians and astronomers of India. In that lecture, he introduced four great mathematicians and astronomers, which is still ringing in my ears.

Prof. Thothatri Iyengar explained, based on his analysis, that Aryabhata was both an astronomer and mathematician, born in 476 AD in Kusuma-pura (now called Patna). He was known to represent a summary of all Maths at that point of time. Just when he was only 23 years old, he wrote his book ARYABHATIYAM in two parts. He covered important areas like arithmetic, algebra (first ever contributor), trigonometry and of course, astronomy. He gave formulae for the areas of a triangle and a circle and attempted to give the volumes of a sphere and a pyramid. He was the first to give value of 22/7.

My teacher added: next comes to our mind the greatest of all geniuses ever known and acknowledged, and who lived within our present memory, Srinivasa Ramanujan. He lived just for about 33 years (1887-1920), had no practical formal education or means of living. Yet, his inexhaustible spirit and love for his subject made him contribute to treasure house of mathematical research ? some of which are still under serious study and engaging all-available world mathematicians? efforts to establish formal proofs. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that it was Hardy who discovered Ramanujan for the world. One of the tributes to Ramanujan says that, ?every Integer is a personal friend of Ramanujan. His works cover vast areas including Prime Numbers, Hyper-geometric Series, Modular Functions, Elliptic Functions, Mock Theta Functions, even magic squares, apart from serious side works on geometry of ellipses, squaring the circle etc. During the lecture he also talked about other two great Indian mathematicians Brahmagupta who wrote BRAHMA SPHU-TA SIDDHANTA and Bhaskaracharya and his SIDDHANTHA- SIROMANI. The great minds radiate knowledge which attract young students to take difficult subjects and specialize with ease.

I also remember the lectures given by the highest authority of a Jesuit institution Rev Father Rector Kalathil of St. Joseph?s college, Tiruchirappalli. Every Monday, he will take a class for an hour. He used to talk about good human beings present and past and what makes a good human being. In his class he used to give lectures on personalities such as Buddha, Confucius, St. Augustine, Califa Omar, Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and moral stories linked to our civilizational heritage. In the moral science class, Father Kalathil used to highlight the best aspect of, how the great personalities have been evolved as good human beings through parental care, teaching and companionship of great books. Eventhough these lessons were given to me in 1950?s during my college days, they inspire me even today. It is essential that in the schools and colleges, lectures are given by great teachers of the institution once a week for an hour on civilizational heritage and derived value system.

For building these capacities among the students it is essential to improve the quality of teachers, provide continuous methods for up-gradation and provide them with technology aids for becoming life long autonomous learners.


Transforming employment seeker to generator

There has been substantial growth in our higher educational system and we are generating over 3 million graduates every year. Definitely 10 to 15% of students may opt for research ? teaching ? research. Remaining 85% of the graduates will seek for employment. However our employment generation system is not in a position to absorb all the graduates who is seeking employment leading to increase in educated unemployed, year after year. We need higher education backed by employment opportunities. A multi pronged strategy is needed to make education more attractive and simultaneously create employment potential. How do we do that?

Firstly, the educational system should highlight the importance of entrepreneurship and prepare the students right from the college education to get oriented towards setting up of the enterprises which will provide them creativity, freedom and ability to generate wealth. Apart from entrepreneurship, the youth should have the spirit that ?We can do it?. Secondly, the banking system should provide venture capital right from every village level to the prospective entrepreneurs for undertaking new enterprises. Banks have to be proactive to support the innovative products for enabling wealth generation by young entrepreneurs by setting aside the ?conventional tangible asset syndrome?. Definitely this involves certain amount of calculated risks, which can be eliminated by making an analysis of successful venture capital enterprises. Thirdly, there is a need to identify marketable products and enhancement of purchasing power among the people. This can come through the implementation of mega programmes such as PURA, Interlinking of Rivers, Infrastructural missions, Power missions and Tourism.

Since I am in an agriculture intensive area where crops like soyabeans, pulses, jawar and particularly cotton are grown. I would like to give a success story which has taken place in Punjab. In this example, leadership for cotton productivity enhancement has been provided by Oswal Group in association with academic institution and Government.


Seed cotton productivity

I visited a village called Gheri Buttar near Bhatinda in Punjab, where I met the farmers who have successfully increased the production of seed cotton from four hundred and sixty kilogram per acre to eight hundred and sixty kilogram per acre in the year 2005. This has been achieved through a productive partnership between farmers, agricultural scientists, textile industry supervisors and the Government by following a scientific approach to farming, provision of quality inputs, strengthening of quality in every farming step, adopting pre-harvest and post-harvest techniques with an assured market for quality products namely seed cotton. Most important action is to enable farmers to get quality seeds, quality fertilizers and quality pesticides from cooperative societies. I have suggested the farmers in that village to mount a programme of second green revolution in Cotton. That means, instead of selling the cotton produce directly in the market, they should add value to certain quantity of cotton into yarn, cloth and apparel in the village complex itself and market it in the national and international markets which again would need quality standards for processing, storage, packaging and delivery. This is a model which is available in the country, which will lift the farmers from the suicidal tendencies towards prosperity. Amolakchand Mahavidyalaya in partnership with the Agricultural University in Akola, Industries, Bankers and the district authorities can replicate this successful experiment among the cotton growing farmers in Yavatmal district.

I have given this example, so that a collaborative venture of rural development can be facilitated by the Students and Faculty Members of Amolakchand Mahavidyalaya among the farmers of the district in the area of core competence such as cotton, soyabeans, arhar, urad, moong and vegetables and fruits.


Conclusion: Leadership Challenges

For success in all your missions you have to become creative leaders. Creative leadership means exercising the vision to change the traditional role from the commander to the coach, manager to mentor, from director to delegator and from one who demands respect to one who facilitates self-respect. For a prosperous and developed India, the important thrust will be on the generation of a number of creative leaders from our educational institution. I am sure Amolakchand Mahavidyalaya will generate many creative leaders who will make an impact in the process of national development.

I once again greet all the members of Amolakchand Mahavidyalaya during the Golden Jubilee function and other students of Yavatmal district participating in this function. My best wishes to all the participants for success in all their endeavours.

May God bless you.


Questions And Answers Session

1. In coming 20 years, in which field India need current generation to work on?

- Jameer Kanoje, BE final

Current generation has to work on : Agriculture and agro-processing, education and health care, information and communication technology, infrastructure including quality power, interlinking of rivers and PURA and self-reliance critical systems. And also we have to work on nano-technology, bio-technology and convergence of technology related to many of the fields which I have mentioned above.

2. Sir, you are popularly known as ?Missile Man?. Can we use the missiles to maintain peace?

- Miss Komal Agrawal, BE final

Strength respects strength. If you have to maintain peace you have to be strong.

3. Can the level of Secondary Education be uniformed throughout India?

- Tanvir Dosani, VIII Std

It is possible to realize uniformity in secondary education specially with the availability of technology. There are programmes like Siksha and Sakshat which provide quality education on e-learning mode. Additionally Siksha is being provided in multiple languages. Number of such programmes through electronic connectivity can definitely bring in uniformity in education.

4. Will our country be able to curb child labour problem?

- Miss Malti P. Chavan, B.Sc. III

There is a legislation to curb child labour. The elimination child labour will need a movement in which we have ensure that the elder members of the family get productive jobs. Secondly, all the students in schools and colleges should convince the parents who are sending their children for work that it is not in the interest of the child and the family to send the child for work. Also, well to do children can request their parents to provide education to the needy children.

5. What are the areas for research in future?

- Shrikant Kamble, B.Sc. III

Improving the efficiency of the photo voltaic cell from the present 15% to 50%, determination of intensity of rain fall in a particular region for a given cloud condition, predicting the earth quake at least one week in advance, discovering vaccines for HIV, Malaria and developing seeds for crop varieties which will provide double the yield in a given area with half the requirement of water are some of the areas which you can work on.

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam




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