SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY
Jalgaon , 25th March, 2012
Ladies and Gentleman,
and Dear Students,
It is a special occasion for me to be here in Jalgaon, my place of birth and in an educational institution, which I have seen growing through the years. The Shram Sadhana Bombay Trust, set-up in this area with a rural background, the College of Engineering and Technology in 1983, to impart quality education with sound knowledge about progressive technologies for the purpose of societal development. It was the hope that in the future, the students of this institute, with the strong foundation of education provided here, would assume their responsibilities as competent engineers, technologists and managers, and as responsible citizens of the country, with a sense of commitment and duty. It is heartening that, after surmounting immense difficulties during its initial years, this college and its faculty have been able, to a great extent, carry forward these hopes. I am happy to have inaugurated the research journal named "Pratibha", which includes research papers in diversified disciplines such as engineering and technology, science, spirituality and business. Spirituality is very important in life.
The marvels of engineering and the marvels of technology have been the driving forces behind human endeavours to progress and advance. These have carried forward civilizations and societies from one stage to another. For example, from the invention of the wheel to the WiFi mode of communication; from the construction of simple dwelling units to high rise buildings to highways, metro-systems and satellites. The role of technology and innovation has become even more critical in the 21st Century as we live in a knowledge era.
Today, optimum use of capital or labour or resources is dependent on technological breakthroughs and cutting-edge technologies - nano technology and biotechnology among others. Efficient technologies are important to meet the energy needs of the nation, as also are environment friendly technologies that lower the levels of green house gas emissions. Finding new options and cost-effective solutions for growth require that our scientists and researchers stay one step ahead, rather than catch-up with latest technologies. Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said, "Who indeed could afford to ignore science today? At every turn we have to seek its aid.... The future belongs to science and those who make friends with science." The future whose contours will be shaped by innovation, inventions and technology awaits you, and we - our college, our faculty and our students - must accept this challenge and prepare ourselves for it, so that India can be a storehouse of knowledge and expertise. People from all over the world should look at our colleges for brainpower and knowledge. In this regard, two issues are important - first, India's requirement in the field of engineering and how our institutions can respond to the challenges; and second how students can prepare themselves for the future.
As a developing nation, India is currently focused on expanding its physical infrastructure, enhancing its agriculture and industrial productivity, as well as improving its global competitiveness. India is an IT leader and a country where significant outsourced work is undertaken. We must strive to maintain our leadership in this field. We hope to make India a major manufacturing hub of the world. India is committed to bringing health, education and connectivity across the country. All these require a large corps of well trained engineers and technologists. India has about 3,500 engineering colleges with over 4.5 lakh engineers graduating every year. But this falls short of our requirement.
We need an expansion of our education and research base. This is the declared 'Decade of Innovation' in our country, and I believe that our students, scientists, engineers, doctors and researchers must single mindedly focus on technologies and innovations, that will change the landscape of our country. For this high standards of education must be maintained as well as funds allocated for Research and Development by the Government, corporate houses or education bodies. Our efforts in this direction should be motivated by the desire to achieve excellence. Research generates new knowledge, but its ultimate usefulness lies in how extensively it is used and the number of people it benefits. It is when effective linkages between research institutions and end-users are established, that technologies and interventions are put to good use.
What can you, as teachers and students of this College do to contribute to the country's brain power and creative capacity? Students should, first of all, develop a deep quest for learning and a questioning mind. This will help them push the frontiers of knowledge, by delving deep into subjects, doing research and innovating. As the youth, it should be your aim to become intellectually competent and technically skilled. Secondly, build a spirit of working together constructively. Research is a very intense and a specialized work. It requires people working together as a team. Learn to be a part of the team, contributing your best for your part of the research project. Thirdly, remember along with bridges, roads and harbours that our country needs, it is also important to bridge our differences, build roads to connect hearts and minds, harbour compassion, and generate goodwill towards all. Knowledge without values is incomplete. Education is like of flower. Education without values is like a flower, without fragrance. I am reminded of Gandhiji's words, "All your scholarship would be in vain if at the same time you do not build your character." Learn also the values of hard work, discipline and dedication. India has always been the land of values, and you must uphold its adherence to tolerance, harmony and respect for fellow human beings.
Educational institutions on their part must strive to give their best to their students. There should be constant effort to make courses more interactive so that the analytic power of the minds of students is ignited. These institutions should help students understand the functioning of businesses and industry, as well the needs of rural areas. I am glad that outreach programmes are being undertaken by this College. This can motivate them towards developing a social consciousness. Like this, as they acquire knowledge in the science laboratories, they shall learn in the "laboratory of life" that human beings have multi-faceted roles in life, and each one of these roles have to be fulfilled.
In the end, I would say to my dear students, that your education equips you to perform well, and it also equips you to contribute to nation building. I believe that individual advancement and being partners in the national growth process as good citizens, could be the purpose of your life, and that there is no conflict between the two. In fact, it is the latter purpose, which you will realize is the higher purpose of your life. It would make your life more meaningful and give you greater fulfillment. You must always try to achieve excellence in your work. You may initially fail or face difficulties, but that will only make you stronger. This will then create the circumstances for success in the future, as you learn from your mistakes.
I am confident that the College of Engineering and Technology will continue to meet future challenges. Your work should also be an inspiration for the institutions of higher education being set up in this region. I wish to convey my best wishes to the management, staff and all my young students of the college for the future.