SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE RAMNARAIN RUIA COLLEGE AND WELINGKAR INSTITUTE FUNCTION
Mumbai, Maharashtra , 13th March, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of both Faculties,
My Dear Students of both colleges,
I am pleased to be at this function at the Ramnarain Ruia College on the occasion of its Platinum Jubilee Year, and to inaugurate the exhibition "D-Magics" - which showcases innovative concepts developed by students of Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, popularly known as the 'We School'. Both these institutions are run by S.P. Mandali Trust, a 123 year old organization working in the field of education in Maharashtra. For me, speaking at educational institutions is always a pleasure as these are opportunities to interact with the youth and also with educators. The synergy of both - one group engaged in learning and the other engaged in the training and skilling of our youth, is very vital for the future growth and progress of our nation in this Century.
Ruia College, as far as I know, has the distinction of being the first institution in the city of Mumbai, to be started by an Indian private organization. Ruia College, has always given importance to the spirit of nationalism and in having a sense of pride in Indian culture. Since its establishment seventy-five years ago, it has become a reputable institution providing education of high quality. This is evident from the long list of its illustrious alumni.
While S.P. Mandali set up the Ruia College in the pre-independence period, the 'We School' was set up after the country gained its independence. This School stands as an example of the growth of higher educational institutions in the country. Its belief in the importance of converting thoughts into action, and its focus on inventive education, by offering practical innovative and technology driven programmes, is perhaps, an indication of the approach that is required by the youth and educators of a young nation, with a large share of youth population, to move forward the process of economic development. Innovation covers not only new products, but also new ways of using resources or putting in place new working systems or new services, that are more productive and efficient. The exhibition today shows the creative and innovative ability of the youth. I am also happy that the programmes of this Institute cover interaction of students with the corporate sector, as well as the rural sector. This will enable them to understand, that there are immense possibilities of the industry working with the agriculture sector, in a manner that brings benefits to both. I call on the students, when they go out to work, particularly in the corporate world, or set up their own business that they look at engaging with farming community, and visit our villages and farms to know the way of life there.
The future of a nation is shaped at its universities and colleges, for it is here that the youth are chiseled for entering into the working phase of their lives. When I speak at occasions such as these, I always emphasize that we will only be able to reap a demographic dividend, if our young generation has the education and skills to meet the economic and intellectual requirements of the nation. When students go forth into the world after completing their education, they do so with the readiness to face the many challenges of life. Today, there is some mismatch between the skills that our graduates possess and talents that are needed in the country, leading to a low employability ratio of our higher education graduates. This needs to be corrected. There is a massive demand in the country for skilled workforce in a range of sectors, whether it is Information Technology, infrastructure, tourism, media or healthcare to mention a few. This requires study of humanities, basic sciences, commerce, languages and medicine, among others. There should be a broad based system of education that caters to these subjects.
It is also very important for the managements of our educational institutions to constantly upgrade their training methodologies and curriculum. Interaction between industry and business with academic institutions, would be useful in framing syllabi that are contemporary and relevant. Developments of vocational and entrepreneurial skills are important for creating self-employment opportunities. This should be accompanied by the spirit of service to society. Along with a sound knowledge base, the strength of the fabric of society is determined by good values. Once when asked whom he considered educated, the Greek philosopher Socrate replied, those who manage well the circumstances they encounter day by day, and those who are decent and honourable in their interaction with other human beings. Education is as much about learning to deal with life, as it is about character building. Hence, educational institutions have a responsibility to nurture the future generation with knowledge, culture and values to their students, that will help them achieve their full potential and be responsible citizens.
My dear students,
The time which you are spending at your colleges is precious, and must be used well to sharpen your mental ability, and to acquire the wisdom to understand life. Also remember that those who have devotion, dedication and discipline will attain knowledge and wisdom. These are the keys that shall unlock the doors to opportunity. Furthermore, try to be a person who has knowledge, but yet who displays humility in action and words. If you are able to be that, you shall win friends and alongwith it, respect. Keep your minds open and learn about developments in the nation and the world, yet be proud of that which is ours. The knowledge and learning that you will imbibe from here, will help in the realization of your dreams and aspirations. However, this knowledge should be used not only for earning your livelihood, but also for the welfare and progress of the nation. You must work selflessly for the country; strengthen its great traditions and values, particularly, its pluralistic ethos. An understanding of the diversity of traditions, languages, cultures and religions that exist in India, and the need to maintain harmony and the spirit of fellow feeling, will contribute to building a more tolerant and compassionate approach. You must also be sensitive to the welfare of the under privileged sections of society and to environmental concerns. Your contribution to these causes will result in building an equitable and inclusive society, and a sustainable way of using the Earth's resources. Remember, education teaches you to make the world better than you found it.
I am confident that the Ruia College, 'We School' and their students will continue to maintain high standards. I would also like to felicitate the faculty members and the managements, for the good work which they have been putting-in over the years.