Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, eminent scientist and former President of India, was the keynote speaker at the valedictory session of the North East College Principals’ Conclave (NCPC) – 2014 that was hosted by the University of Science & Technology Meghalaya (USTM) on 23rd July at Techno City Campus.
Even though Dr Kalam had come prepared primarily to address the college principals, seeing an overwhelming presence of students and youth at the venue, he decided to address them first. He exhorted them to feel strong, and to realise that they have wings which meant that they are not born to crawl – they are born to fly high up in the sky and reach for the moon. He began his speech on ‘I am born with wings’ by asking students what they would be carrying with them after passing out from school.
When the students replied that it was knowledge, Kalam redefined it. "Knowledge is creativity plus righteousness in the heart plus courage."
Thereafter he turned to the principals, and opposing the commercialization of education, he said it should not be made into a business, but imparted by good teachers. He urged the Principals to be very good teachers first, then administrators. Principals must take regular classes to be in direct contact with the students.
"Education cannot be a business product or system. Education at the primary level has to be delivered in an integrated way by great teachers through good syllabus and promoting affinity between parents, students and teachers, Kalam said.
"It is not a great building or a great facility or great advertisements which give quality, but lovable education and great teachers do," Kalam told the audience which vastly represented the academia and educationists.
"I have been a teacher, a scientist, and an administrator. Now I have come to teaching again. If you ask me what I love the most, I would say it is teaching," said the 83-year-old who travels regularly all over India to meet students.
The function was also graced by Dr. Mihir Kanti Chaudhury, VC of Tezpur University and Dr. Mridul Hazarika, VC of Gauhati University. More than five hundred college principals of all the Degree Colleges of Assam as well as the other NE states, teachers and renowned academicians of the region as well as a large number of students attended the function.
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