Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam addressed the College Principals at USTM
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, an initiative of ERD Foundation hosted by University of Science &
Technology Meghalaya (USTM) on 23rd July at Techno City Campus.
Soon after his arrival at the University, Dr Kalam
was taken for a conducted tour of the picturesque
campus set amidst green forest cover and
undulating hills. Thereafter, he was presented a
guard of honour by the Meghalaya Police.
After his felicitation in the traditional way,
Mahbubul Hoque, Chancellor USTM & Chairman ERD
Foundation, welcomed Dr Kalam on behalf of the
ERDF and its institutions as also on behalf of the
participants at NCPC. Hoque also gave a bird’s eye
view of the modest beginning of his mission in
2001 and how it has got converted into the fastest
expanding education network of the region today.
He unveiled the milestones of USTM this way –
Mission Bronze: to become one of best in East by
2020, Mission Silver: to turn in to one of the
best in India by 2025, and Mission Gold: to emerge
as a world class university by 2030.
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
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.
Kalam gave the example of how his own school days
were happy in the thatched Rameswaram Panchayat
Primary School despite poor infrastructure and
scanty amenities. He said his teachers, who had a
mission to spread education, were loved by
students and there was no dropout.
Having graced the post of the President of India
besides working as an administrator and scientist,
the ‘Missile Man’ said he loved teaching the most.
“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.
Presenting his vision of India in the next few
years, he said, “We want a nation where crimes
against women and children are absent and none in
society feels alienated”.
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
Earlier in the day, Shri R. S. Mooshahary, Former
Governor of Meghalaya had inaugurated the
conclave. He praised the visionary works of the
Chancellor Mr. Hoque and said that North East is
hopeful of having a world class University under
his able leadership. Prof K. G. Bhattacharyya,
Former Director, UGC Staff College was the Guest
of Honour of the inaugural function.
The conclave was organized by USTM in association
with Assam College Principals’ Council (ACPC) and
Regional Institute of Science & Technology,
supported by State Bank of India, with an aim to
streamline the education institutions, knowing
each other’s potentials & working together to
create a healthy and conducive environment for the
promotion of educational scenario of the region.
The highlight of the conclave was
a Seminar on “Higher Education in North East with reference to Rashtriya
Uchchatar Siksha Abhiyan (RUSA)” to discuss various issues related to the
implementation of RUSA. The main objective of this conclave was to discuss with
the Principals with up to date knowledge of Projects related to the development
of educational infrastructure, getting funds for different projects given by UGC
& other Govt. departments for the benefit of their respective colleges and the
students community as a whole.
On the occasion, ERDF have conferred the first “ERDF Mission Award-2014” to
three of its founder trustees-Mr. Balen Haloi, Ms. Anju Hazarika and Mr. Azmol
Hussain Barbhuiya in recognition to their service rendered to the foundation.
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam had handed over the citation to them with cash of rupees
fifty thousand each.