Education Discourse of high value delivered by Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam, as Chief Guest at Malti Gyan Peeth Puraskar 2015 Award Ceremony

Special Coverage : High Value Education Discourse

A Thought Provoking address being one of the last delivered by

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India,

as Chief Guest at Award Ceremony of Malti Gyan Peeth Puraskar - 2015

I am happy to address and interact with the teachers and participants present here at the Malti Gyanpeeth Puraskar 2015 organised by the Mohinder Singh Syngle Education and Research Society. My congratulations to the awardees and my greetings to all of you. The teaching profession is indeed a great mission in shaping the young minds with knowledge, nurturing creativity, and above all induce values in evolving a good human being. Friends, teachers' ability to teach and being a role model shapes the minds of the students. I am delighted that today we have gathered to recognize many of teachers who have excelled in the profession.

I am told, that this award, started in 2011, has now expanded to cover 15 outstanding teachers from all different kinds of schools across the state of Punjab. I am glad to know that Malti Gyanpeeth Puraskar is named after respected Malti Mohinder Singh Syngle who has been career educationist. Even today, while in her 94th orbit around the sun, she is tirelessly working in improving education for underprivileged children in rural areas. My greetings Malti ji, who is symbolic of giving, giving and giving.

Friends, I strongly believe that it is education which can transform the children into enlightened citizens, and the nation and world needs such enlightened citizens for a sustainable and prosperous future. Once again I greet all the teachers and participants. When I am in your midst, I would like to talk on the topic "Mission of Teacher: Evolution of Great Citizens". Before that let me narrate what leadership means.

What can I do for you? - The Leadership quality

Every one of us has gone through the various phases of education from childhood to profession. Please visualize a scene - a child, a teenager, an adult and a leader. How does each one react to a particular situation? The situation is human need. The child asks, "What can you do for me"? The teenager says, "I want to do it alone". The young person proclaims, "let us do it together". The leader offers, "What can I do for you". So, the teachers have got a tremendous responsibility to transform a child into a leader - the transformation of 'what can you do for me' to 'what can I do for you'. That will demand a teacher to be a visionary with an inspiring capability. Also, the teachers has to impart learning to the children in such a way as to bring out the best in them and for this, he or she has to be a good teacher himself. I am sure, the best of creativity among the students will emerge by integrated influence of teachers.

Let us first discuss for a few minutes on dynamic school. Now, let me present my visualization for a dynamic school system.

Dynamic school

1. A school that radiates greatness by the teaching capacity of the teachers.

2. A school is great because creativity is bubbling everywhere.

3. A school is great, because it cherishes the learning environment with library, internet, e learning and creative laboratories.

4. A School is great, because it creates and generate students with confidence that "I can do it" that in-turn will generate the team spirit that "We will do it" and "India will do it".

5. A School that promotes best in learning all-round to all the students.

6. A School is great because it has teachers who lead a unique way of life with purity and become role models for the students and develop them as enlightened citizens.

7. A School is great because it has the capacity to teach all students to succeed.

8. A School that generates creativity among all students irrespective of whether they belong to arts or science stream.

9. A school is great, that generates alumni who cherish that they belong to this school.

10. A school will also focus for creating world class skills in addition to conventional education.

How to generate time-bound employable skill force

Friends, let me elaborate further education and skills. It is reported that in a decade's time, India will need 300 to 500 million employable skilled youth. Hence, there is a need to completely change the university education syllabus and the secondary school education syllabus. In the secondary school syllabus during the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th classes, 25% of the time has to be allotted for skill development programme. When the secondary school students come out from the school, they will have two certificates; one for 10+2 qualification, and the other for the unique skill acquired during the four year period. That means, we get every year a skilled bank of almost 7 million. In such a situation, the role played by educationists has to be unique such that it will help upgrade the skill of the candidate for making him or her a member of the knowledge society.

Mission of Teaching

When I look at you dear friends, I see one integrated system of education, system of learning and system of knowledge. The seeds of peace in the world have their origin in the righteousness in the heart of every individual. Such righteous citizens lead to the evolution of enlightened society. Education with value system has to be so designed that the righteousness in the heart is developed in young minds. That should be the mission of education. The prime learning environment is five to seventeen years of age for over 25,000 hours. This reminds me of an ancient Greek teacher's saying, "Give me a child for seven years; afterwards, let God or devil take the child. They cannot change the child". This indicates the power of great teachers. True education is the acquisition of enlightened feelings and enlightened powers to understand daily events and to understand the permanent truth by linking citizen, to his environment, human and planetary. I would like to quote from the great philosopher Dr. S. Radhakrishnan particularly for the benefit of students and teachers - "The sense of human need is there and the teacher can satisfy it by giving to the youth an idea of the fundamental power and worth of man, his spiritual dignity as man, a supra-national culture and an all embracing humanity"

Let us now hear the tribute given by the great teacher Albert Einstein to his teacher: "The ideals which have lighted my way, time after time, have given new course to face life cheerfully have been kindness, beauty and truth". This is the mission of teacher. By nature if the student has studied in a particular school they cherish the memories. For example, in the institution the teacher belongs, have created 100s and 1000s of alumni depending upon the school strength. The successful alumni remember the school with veneration and desire to give back. Schools need to create an opportunity, like IIT, IIM and other institutions.

Teachers who love teaching

I visualize, a school having about 50 teachers and 750 students. It is a place of beauty for creativity and learning. How is it possible? It is because the school management selected the teachers who love teaching, who treat the students as their sons, grand-sons or grand-daughters. The children see the teacher, as a role model in teaching and how always they look pious through their daily way of life. Above all, I see an environment in which there is nothing like a good student, average student or poor student. The whole school and teaching system is involved in generating students who perform the best. As an example, I recall my teacher Shri Sivasubramania Iyer who taught me, when I was a ten year old boy, how the birds fly, in the class room and later took us to the seashore to give practical knowledge. The way he taught, gave me what to dream in life and what should be the pattern of education which I should follow. And above all, what traits I should possess based on teachers life both inside the class room and in the village. This race of teachers and educationists should multiply.