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Kalam to teachers: Create lifelong learners

Last updated on: September 05, 2005 21:42 IST

President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam has urged teachers to create lifelong autonomous learners in their students who will blossom into enlightened citizens.  The President addressing them over Doordarshan and All India Radio on the occasion of Teachers' Day on Monday. 

Dr Kalam in his speech titled "Injecting Beauty of Science in Teaching" added that science is a fascinating subject and learning science needs freedom to think and freedom to imagine.  Both have to be facilitated by teachers and the education system.  Challenging questions have to be asked and students should be allowed to think to come-up with an answer.  Teachers must also find answers to the questions asked by the students, or at least students should be guided to an approach through which an answer can be found.

Dr Kalam said in today's world of communication and information, a student has ample information coming to him or her through a multitude of sources -- some authentic and others not.  It is possible today for a student to have a reasonably sized library on a laptop and a student can also have access to the entire world of information through the Internet.  The education system should give training to students to cull relevant knowledge out of this vast information.  Teachers should guide students in this regard and build a capacity in them to become autonomous learners.

The President felt many students find a disconnect between what they learn at school and what they do in a job.  A very successful attempt has been going on to introduce the concept of "learning by doing", Dr Kalam added.  The growth of communication and connectivity, he felt, has made it possible to "replicate" a good teacher breaking the barriers of distance. The President hoped that teachers would take note of these changes made possible by great scientific inventions maturing into technology, and use them to their best advantage to make sure that scaleable and global high quality education becomes a reality very soon. 

Dr Kalam felt that students want the school system to feed and challenge their innovative and creative minds.  Students are the creators of tomorrow's science and want to think about it today.  A good system of education should be able to satisfy the insatiable hunger for knowledge.  Teachers must be role models worthy of emulation. The creation of an education system with all these ingredients is solely in the hands of teachers and educationists, the President said.

He also spoke about the message of the former President, Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan on whose birthday Teachers' Day is celebrated. Dr Radhakrishnan had advised teachers that "the sense of human need is there and the teacher can satisfy it by giving to the youth an idea of the fundamental power and worth of man, his spiritual dignity as man, a supranational culture and an all embracing humanity". 

During his address the President also spoke about the famous mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and the scientists Sir C.V. Raman and Albert Einstein.  Einstein's career and rise as a scientist had much to do with a flexible system of admission, Dr Kalam felt, as Einstein failed in the entrance examination of the Zurich Polytechnic Institute in Switzerland, but did exceptionally well in the Math and Physics section.  This impressed the Principal and he promised to take Einstein in the Polytechnic the next year without an entrance test.  This example, the President said also shows the importance of the ability to spot the aptitude of a student in a particular subject and nourishing talent.

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