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

Vision for the School

Does vision of a school reflect a school having a big building, having a big laboratory or having a large infrastructure? Not at all. Great schools will have great teachers who love teaching and with great vision. The vision should be to make a beautiful school, generating righteous youth, happy youth who are professionally sound and morally upright. Hence, it should generate quality youth who are an asset to the nation. Can the Schools create a Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Nobel Laureate CV Raman, a great mathematician Ramanujan, a great pain remover Mother Teresa, or a Poet Bharathiar? Can you generate the environment needed for promoting the creativity leading to development of such type of personalities by the school? This will be a great contribution to the nation and the world.

According to me, the best school is one where the students complete the school up to 10+2 after 25000 hours of education in the campus. The student has to become full-fledged responsible citizen for the nation who will be able to realize his dreams and not be frightened of any problem. He should be groomed to be physically fit, academically sound with capacities for research and inquiry, innovation, use of high technology, moral and entrepreneurial leadership. He should be emotionally mature and spiritually awakened. For nurturing such an individual, what is the role and what should be the vision of the young teachers like all of you? Teachers should have a one line statement of vision "my vision is to give to the student's all-round capability that is always creative, observant, aim to acquire knowledge continuously leading to the generation of an excellent performer with sterling character built with the unique tradition of the school".

Dynamics of Smile

When we see a child, we see the innocent smile of the child. When we come across, the child in the Primary School, the smile is reduced, since the child has to carry a heavy school bag. When we see the child in their teens, their smile slowly fades away and the sign of concern appears. This is because of the anxiety about the future. When they complete their education, the question uppermost in their mind is, what will I do after my education? Will I get an employment? Will I get a proper employment? Can the teachers see this dynamics of smiles of the child and preserve the smile in their faces when they complete their school education. The student should be confident that "he can do it", he should have the self esteem and the capability to become an employment generator rather being an employment seeker. This transformation can only be brought about by a teacher who has a vision to transform, who has the ability to take risk against all challenges, who is a good listener, who is a good innovator, who maintains a cordial inter-personal or intrapersonal relationship and who has the ability to carry the parents, community, media and the stakeholders for accomplishing the vision of generating an enlightened citizen for the nation. Now let me share my views of an ideal teacher.

An ideal Teacher

Some time back, I met a headmaster who has become a role model to all his students. I asked him what was the secret of his success. He told me the following:

a) He has been able to adopt himself to the age ofthe student.

b) He practices everything he expects his students to do.

c) He ensures transparency in all his transactions and treats all students alike, irrespective of their religion, caste, language and economic status.

d) He has a foresight and visualizes the student's growth in long term perspective.

e) During the 11 years of his tenure, he has ensured that at least 2000 students who were average performers have been groomed to excel in their studies.

I am sure many of you assembled here would reflect these characteristics and also add few more important traits.

Let me now discuss with you about the importance of Knowledge.

Knowledge and its components

Knowledge has three components, creativity, righteousness and courage. That the combination of these characteristics can generate enlightened citizens. Let us look at the first component creativity:


Creativity

"Learning gives creativity

Creativity leads to thinking

Thinking provides knowledge

Knowledge makes you great"


The next component of knowledge is righteousness. The power of Righteousness is described in a divine hymn, which is as follows:


Righteousness

Where there is righteousness in the heart

There is beauty in the character.

When there is beauty in the character,

There is harmony in the home.

When there is harmony in the home.

There is order in the nation.

When there is order in the nation,

There is peace in the world.


Who will give the righteousness, only three people can give. Who are they? They are: Father, Mother in a spiritual atmosphere and a teacher, particularly primary school teacher.

The third component is courage, which is defined as follows:


COURAGE

Courage to think different,

Courage to invent,

Courage to travel into an unexplored path,

Courage to discover the impossible,

Courage to combat the problems

And Succeed, Are the unique qualities of the youth.


As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all the missions.

As teachers, you have to ensure that the system instills the courage in the minds of students. Hence friends, now you realize, knowledge is equal to creativity + righteousness + Courage. Now, the teachers present here may like to see, how they can impart real knowledge among the students.

Mission in Life

Dear friends, when I visualize the students whom you are grooming, I see in them great teachers, great doctors, great engineers, great social workers, great judges, and great political leaders. Let me share with you, what are the traits needed to accomplish these goals based on my experience.

I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Firstly, space programme of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), AGNI programme of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in these areas. I would like to convey to you what I have learnt from these three programmes based on my personal experience.

a. Wherever there is a dream in life, that transforms into a vision and vision takes shape as many missions.

b. The necessity of high level thinking to transform the Vision into Missions.

c. Acquisition of knowledge from all sources.

d. Working and working without boundary conditions till the realization of the mission.

e. Leader absorbs the failure and takes the responsibility and gives the credit for success to his team while executing the Mission.

I am sure, teachers and educationists assembled here will create leaders with these qualities in their students.

Conclusion

In the 8th century, Acharya Shantideva - a Buddhist Master of the Monastic University of Nalanda had said,


"May I be a protector for those without one,

A guide for all travelers on the way;

May I be a bridge, a boat and a ship

For all who wish to cross (the water).


This provides a powerful message for all the teachers, teachers' teacher, facilitator of teaching

who would like to be the protector for all the students who do not have one, who would like to be the guides to the students in their educational journey and be a bridge, boat and a ship to all those students who wish to cross the ocean of knowledge. I am sure, all the teachers, teacher educators and the students will be able to take up any one or all the missions envisaged by Acharya Shantideva.

My best wishes to all of you for success in your mission of developing enlightened citizens for the nation.

May God Bless you.

I have designed a twelve point oath for the teachers which, I would like to administer to this important gathering of teachers:

Oath for Teachers

1. First and foremost, I will love teaching. Teaching will be my soul.

2. I realize that I am responsible for shaping not just students but ignited youths who are the most powerful resource under the earth, on the earth and above the earth. I will be fully committed for the great mission of teaching.

3. I will consider myself to be a great teacher for I can lift the average to the best performance by way of my special teaching.

4. All my actions with my students will be with kindness and affection like a mother, sister, father or brother.

5. I will organize and conduct my life, in such a way that my life itself is a message for my students.

6. I will encourage my students to ask questions and develop the spirit of enquiry, so that they blossom into creative enlightened citizens.

7. I will treat all the students equally and will not support any differentiation on account of religion, community or language.

8. I will continuously build the capacities in teaching so that I can impart quality education to my students.

9. I will celebrate the success of my students, with great joy.

10. I realize by being a teacher, I am making an important contribution to all the national development initiatives.

11. I will constantly Endeavour to fill my mind, with great thoughts and spread the nobility in thinking and action.

12. My national flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation