Observing that education occupies a crucial position, President Pratibha Patil today said India is an emerging global power and the biggest challenge before the country was to educate youths to meet various needs for developing the nation.
"India stands at a crucial stage. It has many advantages including a predominantly young population and one of the world's fastest growing economies... the biggest challenge is to prepare the youth, who are educated and capable to meet various needs and requirements for developing the nation," Patil said.
Addressing the 75th Founder's Day celebrations of the Doon School here as the chief guest, she said, "We have to be able to compete with the finest minds in the world."
In this regard, she appreciated the Centre for making primary education a fundamental right for children in the 6-14 age-group.
"This was a significant decision of the government and I would like to appreciate the efforts of Kapil Sibal, minister of human resource development," she said.
"We are moving towards universalisation of education at the secondary level. Higher education is being accorded priority," she said, adding, this would require commitment and performance on the part of all stakeholders.
The president advocated the need for an education system that ensures holistic development of the youth. In this regard, three aspects -- knowledge, values and team spirit --are very important for the overall development of children, she said.
"Education is about knowledge. Children in schools must be introduced to the world, its history and its dynamics. They must be acquainted with science and its wonders. Mathematics, environment and other subjects are all very important. Hence the curriculum has to be crafted in a manner which gives students an understanding of the world," Patil said.
"Second, knowledge without values is incomplete. It is a value system that can prepare the youngest generation to become responsible citizens, who contribute to the welfare of society and advancement of the human race. Values provide an anchor in life as well as the ability to take decisions, however, difficult," she said.
"We are a democratic nation, which means, there must be willingness to listen to the other's point of view and to have respect for differing perceptions. The education system must strengthen adherence to secularism, inclusiveness and pluralism. These are the great values enshrined in our Constitution and developed by our citizens," she said.
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