Place: Video address on 28th Annual celebrations of DAV School, Chennai
Date: 3rd August, 2012
- The first and foremost thing however, still remains the reach to education. Over 70% of Indians will be of working age in 2025.
- 21st century is the century of knowledge and the world has always looked at India whenever knowledge finds prominence.
- Skill + will + zeal = win. This is my definition of Ojas and Tejas for modern times.
- We have fundamentally changed access to tertiary education by increasing the number of colleges from 442 in 2001 to 1762 in 2011.
- Through Vanche Gujarat: 60 lakh people read together at one point of time
At the outset, let me express my apologies for not being able to be there in person. I must say, it is me who has missed a lot for not being present there. I have missed to be a part of the event which is blessed by Triveni Sangam- Dayanand Saraswati ji in whose name the school's name is.
Also, Guruji Shri Golwalkarji whose blessings inspired Shri Varadrajanji for this institution and Swami Ramkrishna Paramhansa whose blessings come in form of the presence of Swami Gauthamanand, the President of Ramkrishna Mission, Chennai.
All this is even more important because it is happening in the year of 150th birth anniversary of Vivekanandji. I wish the DAV school, its students and teachers even greater success on their 28th Annual Day celebration.
This is an occasion to celebrate years of dedication and commitment. Institutions like these are not built of bricks and mortar— they are built of sweat and heart. One needs to put his life into and I am happy to see that happening here. 28 years of dedication has made DAV School Adambakkam one of the best educational institutions sought after by students and parents alike. It is very heartening to know that what started as a small sapling with 570 students in 1985 has grown into a full-fledged tree of knowledge with 6500 students!!
I offer my tribute to Varadarajanji, a humble RSS worker, who, inspired by Guruji Golwalkar, has built up a massive educational infrastructure with his commitment and hard work.
21st century is the century of knowledge and the world has always looked at India whenever knowledge finds prominence. That is why I always say that this century has to be the century of Asia and India in particular.
When we talk of education in India, it is not just acquisition of knowledge but it is about holistic knowledge, knowledge that builds and drives the life, society and community. From that perspective, I compliment the DAV School for imparting holistic knowledge to its students. I am impressed with the range of activities which the school undertakes for its students. They include: Patriotism, Love of God, Intellectual development, Cultural, Artistic & Literary, Yoga and Meditation, Sports and Physical Education, Citizenship Training.
I have also been saying that the students should not be just book worms. I have been emphasizing on Ojas & Tejas in the youth. However, to bring that in the context of modern times, we need to bring some shift in our strategy and break the concept into deliverables. From that angle we are working on the three things. I have been saying that Skill + will + zeal = win. This is my definition of Ojas and Tejas for modern times.
The first and foremost thing however, still remains the reach to education. Over 70% of Indians will be of working age in 2025. In this context, universalizing access to secondary education, increasing the percentage of people taking higher education and providing skill training is necessary. With a holistic approach, we are making concerted efforts right from primary education to higher education. We launched a state-wide drive in 2003 for enrolling students to school.
I myself, along with my cabinet colleagues, senior bureaucrats, other government officials and thousands of dedicated workers; travel to the remotest of villages across the state to personally encourage parents to enroll their children in schools. A special thrust is given to the enrolment of girl children. This programme is called ‘Shaala Praveshotsav’ & ‘Kanya Kelavani rathyatra’.
With this effort, Gujarat has achieved 100% enrolment in every locality, for every child in every family. And the dropout ratio has fallen from 20.5% in 2001-02 to 2.09% in 2010-11.
Having achieved this success in quantitative terms with regards to enrolment and retention in schools; we are now focusing on the quality of education. Gunotsav, an annual quality education campaign is being undertaken since the last two years.
In this again, the entire Government machinery spends 3 days in villages to evaluate and raise quality in all areas of school education. The data collected is analysed, schools are categorized on various parameters. Thereafter, remedial measures designed according to the needs of the schools and children.
At the same time, we have opened higher secondary schools with science streams in every Tehsil.
We have fundamentally changed access to tertiary education by increasing the number of colleges from 442 in 2001 to 1762 in 2011. The number of Engineering and Management seats have gone up from 22,000 in 2001 to 1,25,000 in 2011. We have also opened 31 new universities moving the total up to 42 from only 11 in 2001.
Not only this, many of these universities are highly specialised ones. This is unprecedented in India: Forensic Science University, Raksha Shakti University (for training youth in internal security), and Petroleum University. Not only in the academics but also in Value learning we have taken steps. We have set up universities like National Law University, Children’s University, Sanskrit University and Sports University. Education will have quality only if the right kind of teachers are prepared.
From this angle, we have set up the Indian Institute of Teacher’s Education. We are also emphasizing on Teachers’ Aptitude Test before they take up the teaching jobs.
Thus, we have strengthened the formal systems from lower to technical and higher education. However, it is to be accepted that the formal system has limitations in terms of reach, timings and expenses. Therefore we have taken very innovative and yet informal steps to prepare our youth for the 21st century.
Through Vanche Gujarat: 60 lakh people read together at one point of time. We launched a Gujarat quiz to enable the resident and non-resident students to know about Gujarat. We are perhaps the only state in India which has a kid’s city. For little older children, we have set up a science city, which is a global institution offering scientific temper in a playful manner.
And all this is not only for the elite students. We are taking pro-active steps to involve the poor and underprivileged children. We specially invite the Slum children in our cultural festivals like the kankaria carnival, patangotsav and Navratri celebrations. To build strength and character in the youth, we are organizing world’s biggest sports events like the Yoga Demonstration and Chess competition and the Khel mahakumbh.
Through Saptadhara, we have introduced seven parallel streams for integral education like arts and crafts, social service, yoga and so on in our colleges.
Education has relevance only if it is put to use. From this angle, through SCOPE, we are building English language proficiency in the youth of Gujarat. This is for enabling them to seek employment opportunities from a wider canvas.
eMPOWER is another initiative in this area – seeking to prepare Gujarat’s manpower with computer and other electronic skills. We are equally keen on promoting and incubating innovation. iCREATE is a very ambitious programme to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth. Mr Narayan Murthy is the Chairperson of this initiative.
In today’s age, the system of the Gurukul learning or even Campus learning and teaching has limitations. Hence, we are also undertaking distance teaching, training and learning. Educational campuses and buildings were important so far. But now, distance learning infrastructure is equally important and is very potential. We have provided computers to almost all schools.
Through EDUSAT, we have set up an elaborate mechanism for distance teaching and learning. On teacher’s day I myself talk to several lakh students and teachers. Now, we have got allocation of 36 megahertz of additional bandwidth through a dedicated satellite transponder. So, we are going to launch satellite based educational programmes in a big way.
Friends, I have a passion for education. I have tried to make an all round attempt on improving the system and level of education in my state. We are simultaneously working on all fronts.
From primary education to University; from School Room to satellite education; from simple reading to testing through quiz; from Yoga to chess and from soft skills to sharp skills.
I would prefer and suggest a programme for student exchange between the DAV School and Gujarat Schools. This may help the students of both sides.
I feel extremely happy to declare open the Dayananda Saraswati Building Tablet stone. I request Swami Gauthamanandji to kindly do the opening on my behalf. I also feel very fortunate to receive the Prasadam from the Kanchi Sankaracharya Math on this occasion.
I wish the students of the DAV school all the very best.