Itanagar: To mark the 132nd Birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first ever education minister of independent India (1947 – 1958), nation celebrates it as National Education Day w.e.f. 2008 onwards vide decision of the Ministry of Education, Govt. of India (then MHRD).
The Department of Education of Rajiv Gandhi University, Rono Hills Doimukh, observed the day and organized lecture through virtual platform Zoom. Dr. Sumin Prakash, convener of the programme set the tone with brief biography of Abul Kalam Azad. Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Saket Kushwaha, Vice Chancellor, RGU, elucidated that such programme should not be observed on only single day, rather everyday should be education day for us, and we need to continue to achieve the goals of education on daily basis.
Prof. A. Mitra, Pro Vice Chancellor mentioned the circumstances and challenges posed before when Maulana Azad took over as the Minister of education after independence, and elaborated the challenges present at that time in terms of low literacy rate and only 02 crore fund left at time as education budget. Dr. N. T. Rikam, Registrar opined that though Arunachal Pradesh is not much behind the national level in terms of literacy rate, however it lacks quality, and needs to be essentially maintained.
Prof. Kesang Degi, Head, Dept. of Education welcomed the dignitaries, who constituted academicians, scholars and students from universities across the country. Members of RGUTA and RGUSU also participated in.
Prof. Mohammad Akhtar Siddique, former chairperson, National Council for Tecaher Education (NCTE), New Delhi, former Prof. at Institute of Advanced Study in Education (IASE), Faculty of Education, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi as distinguished invited speaker elaborated the personality, vision and Mission of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s life and education.
He outlined the contributions of Azad towards the reconstruction of education system in post-independent India and added that the Azad’s balanced vision and conviction for value of human beings was most relevant for Indian society of that time that was ravaged by the partition of the country.
Azad advocated for adult education, informal education, women education and was very much concerned about the improvement of heart and minds of the fellow countrymen. He further lamented that importantly, all these ideas are the focal points of our new National Education Policy (draft) of 2020.
Prof. Akhtar further added about the Azad’s vision of Education, programme, policies and objectives of Education, that he was the firm believer of democracy and democratization of education for the benefits of mass education. Azad had visualized the modern education for the country and formulated the objectives of the modern education.
And the most important objective was the man making i.e. the character building. He appreciated the rights of a person and performance of duties and also he believed that education will not effective without the empowering the teachers
Second speaker of the day Prof Anil Sadgopal, former member, Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), MHRD, GOI, New Delhi, former Prof. and Head of Central Institute of Education (CIE, now Faculty of Education, University of Delhi, New Delhi remembered Maulana Azad as a man and leader of eloquent vision for humanity and humanism being core philosophy of his life, who advocated for liberating the country through education.
Prof. Sadgopal cited several documents and instances where Maulana Azad seemed to be in hurry to implement the agenda of education at time, despite odd social, political and economic situations post-independence. In the inaugural function of establishment of CIE at Delhi Univ. Azad delivered that given the urgency of education and research we should wait for buildings and funds for education to start at, rather we should start and these things will come along.
Prof. Sadgopal further mentioned the far sightedness of Kalam and listed the Institutions established, and the Commissions set by Maulana, like; All India Council for Technical Institution (AICTE), IIT Khadagpur in 1951, University Garnts Commission in 1958, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 03 Lalit Academies across the country, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, 04 other IITs at Kanpur, Delhi, Bombay and Chennai and was instrumental in setting up many more.
Azad envisioned that India should have standard of scientific, technical and art education were students from not only country, rather from across the world can come for education, therefore, he collaborated with world level institutions like California Institute for Technology and country like Germany to mentor establishing our IIT’s.
Prof. Sadgopal further mentioned that humanism was the core philosophy of Azad’s life that reflected in the decisions of his ministry, wherein he had provisioned for several scholarship schemes for SCs, STs, OBCs as part of equalizing the educational opportunity for all.
Prof. Sadgopal unraveled the virtues of Abul Kalam and pointed that he was really “Azad”, not bounded by sectarian boundaries, like state, nation, language, and he always contributed for Hindu-Muslim unity; the very foundation of his thought.
Prof. Sadgopal opined that mere celebration of Education day is not enough, rather we should strive for fulfillment of central vision of Maulana’s vision of education, mentioned in the preamble of our constitution, which mandates for ensuring state sponsored free and compulsory quality education for all children up to 14 years of age. The day we realize this dream, we in real sense will be celebrating education day.
Prof. P. K. Acharya and Prof. E. Hangsing also shared their views and Dr. Anamika Yadav conducted the sessions.