President Pranab Mukherjee Monday said education cover can be expanded without compromising on quality as he expressed hope that the outward flow of students from India can be reversed.
Speaking at the 60th Founders Day ceremony of Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, he expressed “shock” on learning from Delhi’s education minister that a large number of students cannot read text books. It is pathetic, he said.
“Education can be expanded without compromising quality… We have so many good educational institutions. Still in the list of top 100 institutions of the world rated by top international agencies no Indian university or institution has found a place,” he said, adding that change had started and IIT-Delhi and IISC, Bengalore, found a place among the leading global institutions.
The President said that he is confident that many Indian institutions will be among the top in the time to come, as he recalled that ancient India led the world in higher education while referring to Taxila and Nalanda.
“Almost 1700 years, starting from year 6 century BC to 11 century AD, from the glorious days of Taxila to the collapse of Nalanda, India led higher education in the world. Taxila became the conclave of four civilisations; Greek, Chinese, Persian and Indian.
“I feel pained that every year more than 6,000 students leave India for higher education to Europe, Australia and North America…I want the flow to be reversed. That will depend on the type of education provided,” he said.
Madhya Pradesh Governor O P Kohli, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Madhavi Raje Scindia, President of the school’s Board of Governors, were among those present on the occasion.
Stressing that education is the alchemy that can take India to its next golden age, Mukherjee called upon teachers and students to work towards the democratisation of quality education.
He said education and learning are a lifelong process, and quoting Swami Vivekananda, added, “Education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion; is it worth the name?….”
The President also praised Vijaya Raje Scindia, the late BJP leader, for the vision and courage of establishing an educational institution exclusively for girls at a time when the national literacy rate among women was around 10 per cent.
He also congratulated the Board of Governors of the school and expressed hope that the high standard set by its founders would be upheld in the future too, according to an official statement.
Earlier, Governor O P Kohli called for maintaining a balance between modern and traditional values of the country in imparting education.
He said that while intellectual efficiency was important, equally important was emotional efficiency in a person.
“In the urge to become modern, we should not forget our rich traditions and heritage. Spirituality and religion form part of the country’s traditions and we should follow them also while seeking modern education,” he said.
Kohli said one can achieve intellectual efficiency by becoming modern, but one is not complete without getting emotional efficiency and sensitivity.
He also called for providing “man-making” education as Swami Vivekananda had sought.
President Mukhrejee said: “As education is the alchemy of change in this society, it is needed that it should be democratised but democratisation does not mean mere mindless physical expansion.”
“Expansion of education can take place without compromising on its quality,” he said.
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