Prez talks education, talks serious

The old and legendary Hindu School of Kolkata recently completed two centuries since its inception. It was on Friday last, the 20th of Jan’17 that the history was made. Honourable President, Pranab Mukherjee was the chief guest of honor. State Education Minister Mr. Partha Chatterjee was present too. He began his speech with a question that left everyone speechless “Why is it that India hasn’t been able to bag any Nobel Prize for Research in Indian University after the great CV Raman?” The question left everyone astounded. The question is valid when we look into the present education system.

He further said that the improvement in the education sector is confined to the infrastructural development. But what about the knowledge and wisdom that should be upgraded with time? According to him, India doesn’t have the best platform to nurture research skills that other countries have. This is one of the reasons of the massive brain drain that we experience every year. Great minds relocate to countries and continue their research work and then win Nobel Prizes from those universities. That is a sad scenario for Indians where we don’t have a lack of intellects. What is required is the upgrade in Research and Development structure.

He expressed his remorse in learning that even the premium engineering institutes, IITs of India, fail to grab a position in the top 100 institute of the world. He finds it difficult to understand why the IIT graduates work for multi-national companies to bring their sales figure up. Why are these graduates not restricted to research in laboratories investing time for the betterment of Humanity? Well, these questions do make us ponder over the most important asset of our country, Education.

Mr. Partha Chatterjee too had delivered a speech taking pride in the number of seats in schools and colleges that have been increased. Mr. Mukherjee on the other hand strongly represented his thoughts adding “I am a visitor of 126 universities. But I feel all we have done is created some infrastructure…assets… without giving the right stress on innovation and research. We need to think out of the box for life-changing solutions that will bring us global recognition. Why have Indian scientists not won Nobel after Raman? No Indian university has managed to get us the coveted prize. Not that we don’t have talent. Indians who, have finished their graduation and post-graduation here and moved to foreign universities, have done pioneering work there to win Nobel”.

Later in the evening, he attended another Bicentenary celebration at the Presidency University. There too, he emphasized the same point that he spoke during his visit to Hindu School.

Before summarizing his speech at Hindu School, he made it a point to remind the school faculty, students and other dignitaries present of the contribution that the school has been making in the field of learning for the past 200 years. He also cited the examples of Amartya Sen, Hargovind Khurana and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan about their exemplary contributions. He transformed the ambiance into an emotional one that definitely gave a jerk to the sleepy minds.

He ends his speech reiterating the point that Educational upgrade is not merely the upgrade or brick and mortar building. It is way more than that.

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