Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam warmly felicitated by M. Hoque at USTM
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, eminent scientist and former
President of India, was the keynote speaker at the
valedictory session of the North East College Principals’
Conclave (NCPC) – 2014, an initiative of ERD Foundation
hosted by University of Science & Technology Meghalaya (USTM)
on 23rd July at Techno City Campus.
Soon after his arrival at the University, Dr Kalam was
taken for a conducted tour of the picturesque campus set
amidst green forest cover and undulating hills.
Thereafter, he was presented a guard of honour by the
After his felicitation in the traditional way, Mahbubul
Hoque, Chancellor USTM & Chairman ERD Foundation, welcomed
Dr Kalam on behalf of the ERDF and its institutions as
also on behalf of the participants at NCPC. Hoque also
gave a bird’s eye view of the modest beginning of his
mission in 2001 and how it has got converted into the
fastest expanding education network of the region today.
He unveiled the milestones of USTM this way – Mission
Bronze: to become one of best in East by 2020, Mission
Silver: to turn in to one of the best in India by 2025,
and Mission Gold: to emerge as a world class university by
Even though Dr Kalam had come prepared primarily to
address the college principals, seeing an overwhelming
presence of students and youth at the venue, he decided to
address them first. He exhorted them to feel strong, and
to realise that they have wings which meant that they are
not born to crawl – they are born to fly high up in the
sky and reach for the moon. He began his speech on ‘I am
born with wings’ by asking students what they would be
carrying with them after passing out from school.
When the students replied that it was knowledge, Kalam
redefined it. “Knowledge is creativity plus righteousness
in the heart plus courage.”
Thereafter he turned to the principals, and opposing the
commercialization of education, he said it should not be
made into a business, but imparted by good teachers. He
urged the Principals to be very good teachers first, then
administrators. Principals must take regular classes to be
in direct contact with the students.
“Education cannot be a business product or system.
Education at the primary level has to be delivered in an
integrated way by great teachers through good syllabus and
promoting affinity between parents, students and
teachers,” Kalam said.
“It is not a great building or a great facility or great
advertisements which give quality, but lovable education
and great teachers do,” Kalam told the audience which
vastly represented the academia and educationists.
Kalam gave the example of how his own school days were
happy in the thatched Rameswaram Panchayat Primary School
despite poor infrastructure and scanty amenities. He said
his teachers, who had a mission to spread education, were
loved by students and there was no dropout.
Having graced the post of the President of India besides
working as an administrator and scientist, the ‘Missile
Man’ said he loved teaching the most.
“I have been a teacher, a scientist, and an administrator.
Now I have come to teaching again. If you ask me what I
love the most, I would say it is teaching,” said the
83-year-old who travels regularly all over India to meet
Presenting his vision of India in the next few years, he
said, “We want a nation where crimes against women and
children are absent and none in society feels alienated”.
The function was also graced by Dr. Mihir Kanti Chaudhury,
VC of Tezpur University and Dr. Mridul Hazarika, VC of
Gauhati University. More than five hundred college
principals of all the Degree Colleges of Assam as well as
the other NE states, teachers and renowned academicians of
the region as well as a large number of students attended
Earlier in the day, Shri R. S. Mooshahary, Former Governor
of Meghalaya had inaugurated the conclave. He praised the
visionary works of the Chancellor Mr. Hoque and said that
North East is hopeful of having a world class University
under his able leadership. Prof K. G. Bhattacharyya,
Former Director, UGC Staff College was the Guest of Honour
of the inaugural function.
The conclave was organized by USTM in association with
Assam College Principals’ Council (ACPC) and Regional
Institute of Science & Technology, supported by State Bank
of India, with an aim to streamline the education
institutions, knowing each other’s potentials & working
together to create a healthy and conducive environment for
the promotion of educational scenario of the region.
The highlight of the conclave was a Seminar on “Higher
Education in North East with reference to Rashtriya
Uchchatar Siksha Abhiyan (RUSA)” to discuss various issues
related to the implementation of RUSA. The main objective
of this conclave was to discuss with the Principals with
up to date knowledge of Projects related to the
development of educational infrastructure, getting funds
for different projects given by UGC & other Govt.
departments for the benefit of their respective colleges
and the students community as a whole.
On the occasion, ERDF have conferred the first “ERDF
Mission Award-2014” to three of its founder trustees-Mr.
Balen Haloi, Ms. Anju Hazarika and Mr. Azmol Hussain
Barbhuiya in recognition to their service rendered to the
foundation. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam had handed over the
citation to them with cash of rupees fifty thousand each.