Vice President addresses Students of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

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New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that all School syllabi in the country should be reduced by fifty percent and Students should learn 50% from their Classrooms and 50% from Playgrounds. He was interacting with the Students of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, in Hyderabad today. The Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana, Shri Mohammad Mahmood Ali and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President said that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has played a pivotal role in the education scenario of this country since its inception in 1938. He further said that the young Students would soon be called upon to be leaders of India’s journey towards development. You should prepare yourself; equip yourself starting today, so that you will be ready when called upon to be leaders of a resurgent India, he added.

Saying that it is important to learn from books, the Vice President said that it is good to know facts and understand theories, but it is more important to be able to understand concepts and to gauge their practical applications. It is important to learn to do things, to develop practical and pragmatic wisdom, he added.

The Vice President said that whole examinations should be based on measuring the child’s capacity simply to question the things around him or her. This will encourage young people to never be content with the status quo and help to make change a relatively easy process, he said.

The Vice President urged the young students to never let their marks define or restrict them in any way. You are much more than the numbers on your report card, he added.

The President opined that education imparted should be all encompassing, comprehensive and holistic. He further said that only half the school time should be spent in classrooms learning, the other half should be spent in playgrounds and in nature. Some of life’s crucial lessons are learnt by the children from playgrounds, such as sportsmanship, empathy and teamwork, he added.

Along with physical fitness schools should also encourage other extracurricular activities, the Vice President said. Love for the fine arts and interest in literary activities should also be inculcated in children, they teach children the art of living and working together, he added.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

” It is a great pleasure to be amongst you today in this great temple of learning and to interact with the young crowd. I have always believed that India’s leaders are born in classrooms and that the teachers of this country play a tremendous role in moulding these leaders. I understand that Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan has played a pivotal role in the education scenario of this country since its inception in 1938.

The founder of this institution, Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, was a multifaceted personality, a man of great ideas. He was a learned barrister, a great statesman, a committed social reformer, an intelligent educationist and a motivated leader. He took great pride the cultural, intellectual and spiritual heritage of India. He was an accomplished lawyer with a flourishing practice, which he readily gave up to join the cause of freedom for his motherland. Munshi Ji’s life is a testament to the fact that a man with pride in the past could also have faith in the future. Today when the world is so conscious of conserving and protecting the environment we live in, it is heartening to note that as much as half a century ago, Munshi Ji pioneered the Vanamahotsava scheme to create enthusiasm among masses for forest conservation and planting trees. It is now a celebrated as a week-long festival in India.

Munshi ji’s vision for the future of this country was as deep as it was vast. Dear children, you are indeed lucky to be in this institution, you are the inheritors of this great man’s legacy. Always keep his life, his struggles and his vision in mind. Let his teachings help you set goals and priorities and guide you forward in life.

This is a very exciting time for India. We are a young nation. 65% of our population is below 35 years of age. Indian economy, growing at around 8%, currently is one of the fastest growing major economies of the world. We in India, are committed to build a five trillion-dollar economy by 2025, making India the 3rd largest consumer market in the world. India is surging forward to achieve sustainable and inclusive development. The achievement of this lucrative goal is not one person’s job. It is up to ‘team India’, it is up to each one of us to work to make this dream a reality. More importantly, you my dear young friends would soon be called upon to be leaders of India’s journey towards development. You should prepare yourself; equip yourself starting today, so that you will be ready when called upon to be leaders of a resurgent India.

Do not be under the impression that grand gestures are expected from you at this point. Even something that might look trivial to you, like turning a leaking tap off or planting a tree or helping your friend understand a Mathematics problem or sharing your food with a hungry person, are acts of leadership, courage and kindness. All these small acts have great positive repercussions, multiplier effects in the universe. Every such small act changes you for the better and cumulatively, over a period of time, brings out the best in you.

Dear students, it is important that you learn from books. It is good to know facts and understand theories. But it is more important to be able to understand concepts and to gauge their practical applications. It is important to learn to do things, to develop practical and pragmatic wisdom. It is more important to ask questions. I feel that whole examinations should be based on measuring the child’s capacity simply to question the things around him or her. This will encourage young people to never be content with the status quo and help to make change a relatively easy process.

Albert Einstein once remarked that education is not the learning of facts, but the training of minds to think. Today’s education, unfortunately is all about cramming facts and reproducing them in answer papers with the result that very often the critical thinking faculties, the logical reasoning capacities of the children are not allowed to grow and flourish. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam once said that some of the best minds of this country can be found in the back benches of classrooms! I urge my dear young friends to never let your marks define or restrict you in any way. You are much more than the numbers on your report card.

Dear teachers, it is time for us to re-imagine and re-invent the entire education system, the curriculum, teacher training and management, conception of physical resources, system of assessment, administrative and governance culture, leadership, and more. We know that schools play a significant role in the life of children, beyond knowledge acquisition, even if they do so unwittingly. Every child is different and unique and have capabilities that are poles apart. Our education system is a failure if it is unable to understand this basic fact, if it fails to understand what is special about each child and fails to nurture those special capabilities. It is often said that if we keep judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking that it is a failure even if it has within it the power to swim across great oceans.

Heavy school bags with thick books are not what should dictate a child’s education. It is the school’s responsibility to prepare the child in the best possible way to face the world. The education imparted should be all encompassing, comprehensive and holistic. I always believed that only half the school time should be spent in classrooms learning, the other half should be spent in playgrounds and in nature. Some of life’s crucial lessons are learnt by the children from playgrounds, such as sportsmanship, empathy and teamwork. Along with developing their physical abilities like coordination, balance and strength, children build relationships and practice communication and social interactions and engage in valuable impromptu learning on the play field. Unfortunately, very less emphasis is placed on Physical education, sports and games in the current education system and that should be changed. Teachers should understand that playing games is just not about fun but is an important facet of learning.

Along with physical fitness schools should also encourage other extracurricular activities. Love for the fine arts and interest in literary activities should also be inculcated in children, they teach children the art of living and working together. They inspire aesthetic development, character building, spiritual and moral growth, creativity, out of the box thinking and build pride in the traditional and cultural legacies of our diverse country. In a sense, exposing children to arts and culture from across the world truly helps to mould them into cosmopolitan citizens of the globe.

Ample research studies have established that children who take an interest in extracurricular activities tend to lead a more healthy and active life and have greater confidence and higher self esteem. Emphasis should also be placed on undertaking voluntary work. It could be organizing cleanliness drives or undertaking social work or community development activities. Children should not be shielded from the problems of the society, instead they should be encouraged to participate in problem solving. This would be an invaluable learning experience for them. I always maintain that it should be mandatory for students to serve in organizations like the scouts and guides or NSS along with their academic pursuits. An exposure to the working of armed forces would also inculcate great discipline and sense of patriotism and duty in them.

Dear teachers, today, the world is truly a global village. Information technology is being exceedingly used in the field of education. Smart Classrooms are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Very soon, learning would move online in India, with even on-campus programs having a significant online component. Students would have the opportunity of interacting with the best minds across the globe, not just India through live video conferencing facilities, applications and collaborative IT tools. I urge the teachers to make the best possible use of everything that technology has to offer.

There is no stopping the IT revolution, it is here and it is here to stay. There is an information overload, a sensory surplus on children. They are exposed to a variety of things through a multitude of channels, all of which are not good. Very little external filtering of such humungous amounts of data is possible. Instead, we should sensitize our children so that they are capable of self regulation and self filtering, so that they choose to expose themselves only to things that enhance their capacities and help them develop as individuals. We have seen the havoc played by unscrupulous internet predatory sites such as the ‘Blue Whale’. It is upto us to empower our children so that they develop the maturity to say no to such exploitative and inhuman tendencies online.

This generation has grown up with smart gadgets, to them they are natural extensions of life. I request the children to not get addicted to smart phones and computers. They force you to be sedentary and cause several problems from sleeplessness to Stress, anxiety, depression, delinquency and aggressiveness. You should use technology, it should not be the other way round, technology should not be using you. I cannot stress enough on the need to spend more time with your parents, your grand parents and family members. They will teach you much more about life than internet ever will. Make real friends in the real world and not virtual friends on social networking sites. Always be careful to retain human connections.
I wish Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan all the very best for a bright future. I hope that you pioneer the much needed change in today’s educational system and bring forth responsible citizens of unquestionable integrity and impeccable moral standing. Let us together build a more compassionate world.

Thank You

Jai Hind!”