- Dr. Abdul Kalam addressed 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
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 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,”
“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
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.