The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon educational institutions across the country to partner in programs such as ‘Fit India’ and ‘Khelo India’ and encourage students to lead a physically active life.
He said that health and physical fitness of the youth were as important as their intellectual and emotional development. It was particularly essential in the wake of the spurt in the non-communicable diseases in the country.
Speaking at the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Maharaja Agrasen College, in New Delhi today, the Vice President stressed the need to provide a multidisciplinary and holistic education that includes co-curricular activities and community service.
The Vice President asked the academicians to promote critical thinking, problem-solving, cultural literacy, global outlook, teamwork, ethical reasoning, and social responsibility among the students.
Advising the authorities to empower the youth by revamping the education system and reorient it to suit the present-day needs, Shri Naidu said that ending the digital divide, improving quality of education and building adequate infrastructure for skill up-gradation of rural youth was essential to realizing India’s demographic dividend.
He stressed the need to boost the employability of the graduates through intensive skilling programs, especially in cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, etc.
Talking about India’s long and illustrious history of holistic education and the guru Shishya Parampara, the Vice President asserted that the main aim of education was not for employment alone, but to enhance knowledge and provide enlightenment and empowerment to individuals.
Referring to the Draft National Education Policy 2019, the Vice President said that it proposes to focus on the holistic aspect of education and emphasizes that education throughout life was based on four pillars – i) Learning to know - ii) Learning to do - iii) Learning to live together – iv) Learning to be.
Shri Naidu asked teachers, scholars, professors and all other citizens to provide inputs to strengthen India’s education system and make it relevant to the needs of 21st century.
The former Governor of Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh, Shri O.P. Kohli, the Vice Chancellor of University of Delhi, Prof. Yogesh Tyagi, the Chairman of the Governing Body of Maharaja Agrasen College, Prof. Sunil Sharma and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Following is the text of Vice President’s address:
“I am delighted to be here, amidst bright, talented youngsters of the Maharaja Agrasen College on the occasion of its Silver Jubilee Celebration.
I am told that the 25 year long journey of this institution had humble its beginnings in a temporary campus in Mayur Vihar, Delhi, with few courses and a small team of teaching faculty and administrative staff. Back then, the college was known as ‘Co-Educational College’.
The college was renamed as ‘Maharaja Agrasen College’ in 1995 in memory of the great philosopher and King, Maharaja Agrasen. The college continued flourishing and celebrating years of imparting holistic education in various creative ways, to reach its current stature.
I congratulate the college for being accredited with 'A' rank by NAAC in 2016 for excellent academic output and all-round achievements. I hope that such accolades will keep motivating you to achieve much better results in future.
I am happy to note that, the college has been continuously upgrading its infrastructure to create conducive learning environment. I understand that the college auditorium was inaugurated in 2014 and named after our great leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The strong commitment to women’s education that the college possesses is reflected in the construction of a hostel exclusively for girls, aptly named 'Vidyottama', inaugurated in 2015, to provide home away from home to the outstation and needy meritorious girl students.
I applaud the institution for erecting a statue of Maharaja Agrasen, the Indian ruler and philosopher, in 2018. I hope that the statute will constantly remind you of the human, social and moral values upheld by the great king.
I also commend the college for its initiatives to bring about equity in education by extending a helping hand to youngsters from under-privileged sections of the society through motivational and informative workshops, remedial classes, short term language courses, basic computer workshops and many more such successful, encouraging voluntary efforts.
I am also glad to learn that under project ABHI (Agrasen Baroji Help Initiative), the institution has adopted a village 'Baroji' and encourages students to interact regularly with the members of the village community for the mutual development of the college and the village.
The many awards and accolades won by the college for Good Practices are an eloquent testimony to the institution’s strong commitment to excellence through inclusion.
I congratulate each and every one of you for the important milestone that this institution has achieved today.
My dear young friends, India is writing a great growth story today, a story that has been recognized and acknowledged by the entire world.
India’s vibrant economy, buoyed by investments, exports and favorable demographics is surging forward, aspiring to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25 (Economic survey 2019).
Flagship schemes such as the Jan Dhan Yojna for financial inclusion, has breathed a new life into India’s quest for inclusive development.
India inc. is stronger than ever before due to visionary initiatives like make-in-India, start-up India and Digital India.
More than 21,000 start-ups have been recognized since the inception of Start-up India and more than 1,20,000 Gram Panchayats have been connected by optical fiber network. 413 Crore financial transactions have happened via the BHIM app since August 2016.
This emphasis on digital technology has effectively tackled corruption and unnecessary delays in processes, transforming our governance, making it much more transparent, participative and fast.
India is also conquering new horizons when it comes to technology. The recently launched Chandrayaan 2 mission has completed all its orbit manoeuvres around the Moon and is ready to land close to the lunar south pole and we are all set to launch India’s first human space mission by 2022.
India has also rightly recognized that sustainability must form the cornerstone of every development plan. As a testament to the love and respect for nature that is at the core of India’s civilizational philosophy, we have doubled our efforts towards securing clean energy and ensuring a green future for posterity.
India now has 78 GW installed renewable energy capacity and plays a leadership role in international partnerships like the Solar Alliance to strengthen initiatives to fight climate change and global warming.
The Government is also striving hard to take the benefits of this growth and macroeconomic stability to the bottom of the pyramid, to the last man in the queue, through a range of initiatives.
But the most incredible opportunity that is at our disposal today is our tremendous demographic dividend. We have a perfectly balanced population pyramid where 65 per cent of our population is less than 35 years old today.
In-order to reap this dividend, we must revamp our 3Es (Education, Employment, and Employability), of which education is the most important, for it serves as the crucial fuel that propels India’s growth engine forward.
My dear sisters and brothers, India has had a long and illustrious history of holistic education. The aim of education in ancient India was not just the acquisition of knowledge but also wisdom, complete realization and liberation of the self.
The Indian education system gave birth to scholars like Charaka and Susruta, Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya, Chanakya, Patanjali and Panini and numerous others.
They made seminal contributions to the collective knowledge of the world in diverse fields such as mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, medical science and surgery, civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, yoga, fine arts, chess, and more.
Swami Vivekananda once said that “Education is not the amount of information that we put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas.”
Culturally, India has been, and continues to be, a cradle of great diversity in all walks of life, with its myriad languages and dialects, with as many as seven classical dance forms and two classical music forms, many well-developed traditions of folk arts and music, pottery, sculptures and bronzes, exquisite architecture, incredible cuisines, fabulous textiles of all kinds, and so much more.
These rich legacies to world heritage must not only be nurtured and preserved for posterity, but also enhanced and put to new uses through our education system.
We should integrate this rich tradition with modern education to help develop the creativity and originality of students, and to encourage them to innovate.
Such multidisciplinary education and 21st century capabilities necessary for the employment landscape of the future - such as critical thinking, communication, problem solving, creativity, cultural literacy, global outlook, teamwork, ethical reasoning, and social responsibility - will not only help to develop outstanding employees but also outstanding citizens and communities, in the next twenty five years.
Such an articulation of a broad view of education encompassing the holistic development of students with special emphasis on the development of the creative potential of each individual, in all its richness and complexity, has grown increasingly popular in recent years.
Students must develop not only cognitive skills – both ‘foundational skills’ of literacy and numeracy and ‘higher-order’ cognitive skills such as critical thinking and problem solving skills - but also social and emotional skills, also referred to as ‘soft skills’, including cultural awareness and empathy, perseverance and grit, teamwork and leadership, among others.
Based on the developments that have taken place in the world of cognitive science, there is now deep engagement with the idea that these social and emotional competencies must be acquired by all learners and that all learners should become more academically, socially and emotionally competent.