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 that was hosted by the 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 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
“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
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.
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.