Y. Mallikarjun

Instead of preaching the focus should be on coaching, he says

  • Talent is not drawn towards science
  • Stresses need for innovation in nanotechnology

    HYDERABAD: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam favours transforming the education system from "a preaching to a coaching mode" to make it relevant to the needs of the fast-paced, technologically-driven 21st Century.

    In his forthcoming book, "You are born to blossom Insights into Education and Learning," excerpts of which were made available to The Hindu , the President speaks of the need to redefine "education," "school," "curriculum," "teacher" and "learner" in an era of "unprecedented opportunity for science and technology."

    The qualities which require to be nurtured in students are "research and enquiry, creativity and innovation, use of high technology, entrepreneurial and moral leadership." The book, co-authored with his associate Arun K. Tiwari, focuses on the changing role of education, the need for removing digital illiteracy, bridging science-talent gap and meaningful application of science and technology among other topics.

    Stating that the country cannot continue to deliver a 20th century "factory model" of education system, Mr. Kalam feels educating children using "thoughts of other nations" will "forfeit the future of our nationhood."

    Expressing concern at the quality of education, with exception of a few prestigious institutions, he observes that talent is not drawn towards science as in the past.

    Referring to criticism of the education system for not meeting the aspirations of society, he says "only children in rich and privileged families have access to good schools, where commercial forces rule the roost.

    The education available to an average Indian child is grossly inappropriate for the requirements of a developed country in the making."

    To make the education system more inclusive, the President suggests opening of "more student vacancies in centres of higher education as a mission."

    This could be achieved through public-private partnerships.

    Pointing out that the country could be a world leader in nanotechnology, he stresses on the significance of innovation.

    Admitting that information technology had earned India global recognition, he says: "Its fruits are limited to few hundred thousand jobs and a portion of export earnings. It must now go beyond the present scenario of providing service to innovation."

    Caution

    Concluding the book on a note of caution, he says that unless India accelerates the process of societal transformation, raises its standard of governance and safeguards the sanctity of its public institutions, the possibility that ignorance and fear could interfere with and even halt its growth is not very remote.