“I am delighted to be here, amidst bright, talented youngsters of the Maharaja Agrasen College on the occasion of its Silver Jubilee Celebration.
I am told that the 25 year long journey of this institution had humble its beginnings in a temporary campus in Mayur Vihar, Delhi, with few courses and a small team of teaching faculty and administrative staff. Back then, the college was known as ‘Co-Educational College’.
The college was renamed as ‘Maharaja Agrasen College’ in 1995 in memory of the great philosopher and King, Maharaja Agrasen. The college continued flourishing and celebrating years of imparting holistic education in various creative ways, to reach its current stature.
I congratulate the college for being accredited with 'A' rank by NAAC in 2016 for excellent academic output and all-round achievements. I hope that such accolades will keep motivating you to achieve much better results in future.
I am happy to note that, the college has been continuously upgrading its infrastructure to create conducive learning environment. I understand that the college auditorium was inaugurated in 2014 and named after our great leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The strong commitment to women’s education that the college possesses is reflected in the construction of a hostel exclusively for girls, aptly named 'Vidyottama', inaugurated in 2015, to provide home away from home to the outstation and needy meritorious girl students.
I applaud the institution for erecting a statue of Maharaja Agrasen, the Indian ruler and philosopher, in 2018. I hope that the statute will constantly remind you of the human, social and moral values upheld by the great king.
I also commend the college for its initiatives to bring about equity in education by extending a helping hand to youngsters from under-privileged sections of the society through motivational and informative workshops, remedial classes, short term language courses, basic computer workshops and many more such successful, encouraging voluntary efforts.
I am also glad to learn that under project ABHI (Agrasen Baroji Help Initiative), the institution has adopted a village 'Baroji' and encourages students to interact regularly with the members of the village community for the mutual development of the college and the village.
The many awards and accolades won by the college for Good Practices are an eloquent testimony to the institution’s strong commitment to excellence through inclusion.
I congratulate each and every one of you for the important milestone that this institution has achieved today.
My dear young friends,
India is writing a great growth story today, a story that has been recognized and acknowledged by the entire world.
India’s vibrant economy, buoyed by investments, exports and favorable demographics is surging forward, aspiring to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25 (Economic survey 2019).
Flagship schemes such as the Jan Dhan Yojna for financial inclusion, has breathed a new life into India’s quest for inclusive development.
India inc. is stronger than ever before due to visionary initiatives like make-in-India, start-up India and Digital India.
More than 21,000 start-ups have been recognized since the inception of Start-up India and more than 1,20,000 Gram Panchayats have been connected by optical fiber network. 413 Crore financial transactions have happened via the BHIM app since August 2016.
This emphasis on digital technology has effectively tackled corruption and unnecessary delays in processes, transforming our governance, making it much more transparent, participative and fast.
India is also conquering new horizons when it comes to technology. The recently launched Chandrayaan 2 mission has completed all its orbit manoeuvres around the Moon and is ready to land close to the lunar south pole and we are all set to launch India’s first human space mission by 2022.
India has also rightly recognized that sustainability must form the cornerstone of every development plan. As a testament to the love and respect for nature that is at the core of India’s civilizational philosophy, we have doubled our efforts towards securing clean energy and ensuring a green future for posterity.
India now has 78 GW installed renewable energy capacity and plays a leadership role in international partnerships like the Solar Alliance to strengthen initiatives to fight climate change and global warming.
The Government is also striving hard to take the benefits of this growth and macroeconomic stability to the bottom of the pyramid, to the last man in the queue, through a range of initiatives.
But the most incredible opportunity that is at our disposal today is our tremendous demographic dividend. We have a perfectly balanced population pyramid where 65 per cent of our population is less than 35 years old today.
In-order to reap this dividend, we must revamp our 3Es (Education, Employment, and Employability), of which education is the most important, for it serves as the crucial fuel that propels India’s growth engine forward.
My dear sisters and brothers,
India has had a long and illustrious history of holistic education. The aim of education in ancient India was not just the acquisition of knowledge but also wisdom, complete realization and liberation of the self.
The Indian education system gave birth to scholars like Charaka and Susruta, Aryabhatta, Bhaskaracharya, Chanakya, Patanjali and Panini and numerous others.
They made seminal contributions to the collective knowledge of the world in diverse fields such as mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, medical science and surgery, civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, yoga, fine arts, chess, and more.
Swami Vivekananda once said that “Education is not the amount of information that we put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas.”
Culturally, India has been, and continues to be, a cradle of great diversity in all walks of life, with its myriad languages and dialects, with as many as seven classical dance forms and two classical music forms, many well-developed traditions of folk arts and music, pottery, sculptures and bronzes, exquisite architecture, incredible cuisines, fabulous textiles of all kinds, and so much more.
These rich legacies to world heritage must not only be nurtured and preserved for posterity, but also enhanced and put to new uses through our education system.
We should integrate this rich tradition with modern education to help develop the creativity and originality of students, and to encourage them to innovate.
Such multidisciplinary education and 21st century capabilities necessary for the employment landscape of the future - such as critical thinking, communication, problem solving, creativity, cultural literacy, global outlook, teamwork, ethical reasoning, and social responsibility - will not only help to develop outstanding employees but also outstanding citizens and communities, in the next twenty five years.
Such an articulation of a broad view of education encompassing the holistic development of students with special emphasis on the development of the creative potential of each individual, in all its richness and complexity, has grown increasingly popular in recent years.
Students must develop not only cognitive skills – both ‘foundational skills’ of literacy and numeracy and ‘higher-order’ cognitive skills such as critical thinking and problem solving skills - but also social and emotional skills, also referred to as ‘soft skills’, including cultural awareness and empathy, perseverance and grit, teamwork and leadership, among others.
Based on the developments that have taken place in the world of cognitive science, there is now deep engagement with the idea that these social and emotional competencies must be acquired by all learners and that all learners should become more academically, socially and emotionally competent.
The Draft National education Policy 2019 focuses on the holistic aspect of education. The Policy emphasizes that education throughout life is based on four pillars:
i) Learning to know - acquiring a body of knowledge and learning how to learn;
ii) Learning to do - acquiring not only an occupational skill but also the competence to deal with many situations and work in teams and deal with the various challenges of working life;
iii) Learning to live together – developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence in a spirit of respect for the values of pluralism, mutual understanding and peace; and
iv) Learning to be - developing one’s personality and being able to act with autonomy, judgement and personal responsibility.
To provide such multidisciplinary and holistic education to the students it is essential to combine education with a number of co-curricular activities, including community service.
Education alone will not be sufficient to reap the demographic dividend. It is necessary that we boost the employability of our graduates through intensive skilling programs, especially in cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics etc.
Single-skill and single-discipline jobs are likely to become automated over time. Therefore, there will be a great need to focus on multidisciplinary and 21st century competencies for future work roles - these are indeed the capabilities that will separate the developed countries from underdeveloped countries in future.
Apart from the intellectual and emotional development of our youngsters, we must also focus on health and physical fitness. Our educational institutions must be partners in initiatives of the government such as ‘Fit India’ and ‘Khelo India’ and must encourage students to lead a physically active life.
I am sure that Maharaja Agrasen College will be successful in its pursuit to create model global citizens with a strong national consciousness and will thrive in a cosmopolitan world.
I once again congratulate all of you on this accomplishment and wish each and every one of you the very best in your future endeavors.
Thank You! Jai Hind!