'Country needs to find innovative to avoid confrontation between environment and development’

There was need to define the concept of development in a wider perspective and there should be no confrontation between environment considerations and development requirements, said President Pranab Mukherjee here on Monday.

For this, he said, the country needed to find innovative ways based on scientific knowledge and mathematical understanding.

“There is need to make our children aware of the nexus among problems like unchecked population growth and energy crisis, depletion of natural resources, pollution of the environment,” he said while inaugurating the 40th Jawaharlal Nehru National Science, Mathematics and Environment Exhibition for Children, 2013 at the Epica Gardens here at Saramsa on the occasion of National Education Day. The President paid tributes to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of independent India, whose birth anniversary on November 11 is commemorated every year as National Education Day.

“It was Maulana Azad who had woven the fabric of a secular, liberal, modern and universal education system,” Mr. Mukherjee said, quoting the national leader’s address on January 16, 1948 where he categorically stated that it is the birthright of every individual to receive basic education, without which he or she cannot fully discharge duties as a citizen.

The event, with focus on ‘Science and Society’, was jointly organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the National Council of Education Research and Training.

The national-level exhibition every year showcases the talent of schoolchildren in science and mathematics. This year 30 States and union territories participated with around 170 exhibits.

Mr. Mukherjee urged the participants to regard the five elements of life: Earth, Water, Energy, Space and Air, as something that they had inherited and have to pass on to the next generation.

“We have no right to squander or pollute them because we do not own them. This does not mean that we should not pursue science, develop technology and strive to improve the quality of human life, but while doing this, we should take care not to disturb the delicate balance of our compound ecosystem,” he said.

The President stressed the need to implement the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) as this would reduce the gender, social and regional gaps in enrolment and improve school retention.

“The thrust should be on inclusive education and the three Es of expansion, equity and excellence in education across all levels. Teachers should inspire students to imbibe correct values and shape future citizens having a sound character,” he said adding that innovation would be the determining factor of growth in the future.

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