In an appeal to students and teachers' community, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu urged them to come forward and address the challenges in education, stating a need to turn the system around, including aspects of curriculum and evaluation.
“Today, we have enormous challenges in education. We are talking about the demographic dividend from a greater percentage of young people who will be crucial to the nation’s progress in the next twenty years. But how can we really equip the young people – which includes the young students – to contribute in the best way,” the vice president asked, adding, “It can be possible only if we turn our system around, including aspects of curriculum and evaluation, towards critical thinking rather than borrowing.”
The comments were made in his address during the dressing the 67th Annual Convocation of Punjab University in Chandigarh on 4th February 2018, where he also expressed that an education that does not help the common mass to equip themselves for life is not real education.
“The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for life, which does not bring out the strength of character, spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name,” asked the vice president.
He further said that a degree in education doesn’t really contribute to the quality of life, if educated people, especially women, do not speak up for their rights.
“If we have degrees, and have a way of life which indulges in blind consumerism or outdated social practices, we will have lost the benefit of our education,” he said, adding, “If educated people, especially women, don’t speak up for their rights, tolerate or even practice injustices such as female foeticide and violence, then the degree has not really contributed to their quality of life.”
The vice president said that the real education is not for working like machines merely, and living a jellyfish existence.
“Real education is not for working like machines merely, and living a jellyfish existence,” the vice president said, adding, “Within one there is all knowledge, even in a child it is so, and it requires only an awakening, and that much is the role of a teacher.”
The vice president said that a true university must be free from the constriction of thoughts or imposition of ideologies.
“A true university must be free from constriction of thoughts or imposition of ideologies. Rigid conformity to particular beliefs or constraints on thinking is anathema to the spirit of academic freedom,” he said, adding, “If a person is allowed to think and work in his field without any need to restrict his ideas, he is well on the way to making tremendous headway in that field, and this is what is provided by the free university in a democratic country.”