Address by Governor at the launch of the Centenary Celebrations of the Gokhale Education Society in Nashik
Address by Shri CH Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the launch of the Centenary Celebrations of the Gokhale Education Society and inaugurates the 19th World Congress of International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAESP) at the Society’s Campus at Prin T A Kulkarni Vidyanagar, Nashik at 1000 hrs on Monday, 24 October 2016
Shri Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Hon’ble Chairman, Maharashtra Legislative Council, Shri Girish Mahajan, Hon’ble Minister for Water Resources and Medical Education, Padma Vibhushan Dr Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Arun Nigavekar, former Vice Chancellor and former Chairman of University Grants Commission , Dr M S Gosavi, Secretary and Director General, Gokhale Education Society, Shri S B Pandit, Principal, Dr Smt D P Deshpande, Organizing Secretary and Conference Director, delegates, academicians, education administrators, invitees, officials, office bearers of Gokhale Education Society, Teachers, staff, ladies and gentlemen,
I feel deeply honoured to visit this institution, Gokhale Education Society, that bears the name of one of the greatest leaders of Indian Freedom Movement, Namdar Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
The Gokhale Education Society is embarking on its two-year-long Centenary Celebrations and I am happy that the Society has organized a World Congress under the auspices of International Association of Educators for World Peace to mark the start of the Centenary Celebrations.
It was on this day in the year 1945 that the United Nations Organization was established to promote International Cooperation and peace. It is therefore appropriate that the theme of the 19th World Congress has been chosen to be ‘Peace Education for Good Governance and Non Violence’.
I congratulate the Gokhale Education Society on this momentous occasion and convey my warm felicitations to each one of you and to those associated with the institution on this day.
I am impressed to note that making a humble beginning in the year 1918, the Society today manages 121 institutions including 25 Senior Colleges, offering quality education to more than one lakh students in 5 districts of Maharashtra.
During the last 98 years, the Society has contributed immensely to the socio economic progress and development of society and the region. It has shaped the personality and character of several generations of students. All of us are grateful to the institution for its services to society.
This is an occasion to remember with gratefulness Principal T A Kulkarni, a disciple of Namdar Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who founded the Society.
It is also an occasion to pay our respects to the past leaders of the institution who nurtured the institution with commitment.
The Society is fortunate to be led by renowned educationist Dr M S Gosavi. At 81, his passion and zeal for improving the quality of education is as intense as ever.
I congratulate Dr Gosavi who has been guiding the destiny of the Society for all these years with passion and commitment.
Today, I was particularly pleased to know that the Society has been doing pioneering work for the upliftment of Adivasis through higher education. I understand that the Gokhale Education Society is in the process of setting up a National Vocational Skill Development University near Dahanu in Palghar district as part of its Centenary celebrations.
Dr Gosavi, I want to assure you from this platform that I will visit the institution once again, when the National Vocational Skill Development University will be inaugurated !
Ladies and gentlemen,
The year 2015 marked the 150th birth anniversary and also the death centenary of Namdar Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
Namdar Gokhale lived a relatively short life. As a matter of fact, he passed away before attaining the age of 50 years. Though, he could not witness India’s independence himself, he deeply influenced India’s freedom movement and inspired the leading lights of the freedom movement.
We all know that Gopal Krishna Gokhale was regarded by Mahatma Gandhi as his political Guru. But you will be interested to know that Gandhi ji often referred to Gokhale as ‘Mahatma’. That was the greatness of Namdar Gokhale.
In the year 1905, Gokhale founded the Servants of India Society to further the cause dearest to his heart, namely the expansion of Indian education. He believed that true political change in India would come, only when the new generation of Indians became educated about their civil and patriotic duty to their country and towards each other.
It is sad that many people in India do not know much about the Himalayan work Gopal Krishna Gokhale did for the nation.
I pay my deep respects to the life and work of Namdar Gokhale and thank the Gokhale Education Society for carrying forward the legacy of his work through education.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The theme of the 19th World Congress of Educators, namely ‘Peace Education for Good Governance and Non violence’ is timely and relevant.
Even though the term ‘Good Governance’ came into widespread usage only during the last two decades, its essentials were prevalent in India since ancient times.
Good Governance doesn’t come on its own. It has to be nurtured by carefully cultivating various institutions, including educational institutions.
Former President and great scholar Dr S. Radhakrishnan had once said, and I quote:
“All education is, on the one side, a search for Truth; on the other side, it is a pursuit of social betterment. You may discover truth but you should apply it to improve the status of society.” (Unquote)
The very purpose of our educational institutions is to enable our people to search ‘Truth’ through education and most importantly to apply education for the betterment of society.
Today our education system, our universities and colleges are churning out a large number of graduates and post graduates. But a majority of our graduates and students are neither searching for ‘Truth’ nor applying education for the betterment of society.
We therefore need a serious rethink and a ‘course correction’ of our education system and integrate strong ethical and moral values with education.
As Chancellor of 20 universities in Maharashtra, I strongly feel that we must take urgent steps to elevate the standards of education, promote research culture, give a major boost to skill development and increase the participation of women in teaching, research and administrative positions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Faculty shortage has become a severe constraint in the pursuit of excellence in education at all levels. There is a shortage of almost 50 per cent of faculty members across the country. Further, there is shortage of 12 lakh teachers at the school level.
Mark my words. India has the potential to produce and provide teachers to the entire world. All we need is systematic efforts and commitment from educators, managements and other stakeholders. We must produce good teachers for our schools, colleges and universities. Only then, we can ensure and assure quality education.
Sometime back, the Ministry of Human Resources Development had formed a task force to study the issue of faculty shortage and to suggest ways and means to overcome the same. The Task Force, among various suggestions, recommended that women should be encouraged to join the academic profession and take up teaching career and research.
Today I wish to urge and appeal to all educationists to lay utmost emphasis on filling up teaching positions, provide refresher courses to teachers and encourage them to adopt innovative teaching practices.
Let me caution that institutions lacking quality will lose their relevance and may even close down in the near future.
Secondly, classrooms are undergoing a fundamental change all over the world. Digital classrooms are changing the way, teachers are teaching, and students are learning.
In today’s age of internet, smart phones and other gadgets, digital classroom is only a logical step in the field of knowledge-sharing and dissemination.
Thought will have to be given to harnessing technology in education and distance education. We must see how digital classrooms help us to reach out to the socio-economically backward sections of society. We must see how technology can help us bring down the cost of education and produce and deliver quality content to maximum students.
I do feel that the academic curricula must be dynamic, it must be on par with the best institutions in the world and it should have an industry-focus. An industry interface cell must be set up to establish linkages with the local industry and industry associations.
The government has initiated the ‘Start-up India’ campaign to promote financing for start-ups and offer incentives to boost entrepreneurship and job creation.
I urge educational institutions to change the mindset of youths and encourage them to become enterpreneurs. Emerging India needs leaders and entrepreneurs. Emerging India also needs skilled workers. For India to become a superpower, we must produce thought-leaders in all disciplines.
Dear friends and teachers,
India’s strength was education. India’s strength was philosophy, culture and global outlook. We had some of the finest universities such as Nalanda, Takshashila and others.
Not surprisingly, India’s influence spread in many countries of the world.
Hu Shih, who was China’s Ambassador to the United States during 1938 – 1942 and who subsequently became the Vice Chancellor of the Peking University had famously said, and I quote:
“India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries, without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.”(Unquote)
Time has come to rejuvenate and recapture the past glory of this country through value based Indian education that was so dear to Namdar Gokhale. Education alone can help India reclaim its past glory.
I call upon each one of you, the teachers, educationists and administrators to take a pledge to make the full use of your knowledge for the benefit of society and humanity at large. It will usher us in an era of peace and good governance. It will help us create a caring and inclusive society.
On that note I congratulate the Gokhale Education Society as it steps into its Centennial Year and wish the institution God Speed in its future endeavours. I also wish the delegates attending the 19th World Congress fruitful deliberations.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!