National Education Day Observed
To commemorate the National Education Day, November 11, the Society for Promotion of Science of Science & Technology in India (SPSTI), with Chandigarh Chapter of the National Academy of Sciences India (NASI) and Chandigarh chapters of INSA & INYAS in association with Punjab Engineering College (PEC) (Deemed to be University), Chandigarh with support from Haryana State Council for Science, Innovation & Technology (HSCSIT), DST, Govt. of Haryana organized the third lecture in the series ‘Institution Building & Nurturing Initiatives in Independent India’ to commemorate Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsava. Prof. Ved Prakash, former Chairman of UGC spoken on ‘Maulana Azad: A Sanguine Man with Visionary Ideas’. The lecture also coincides with the centenary of Punjab Engineering College. The session was attended by 122participants on zoom and many more viewed the same on the Facebook page of SPSTI.
The session was steered by Prof. Keya Dharamvir, General Secretary, SPSTI, who welcomed all. The opening remarks were given by Shri Dharam Vir, IAS (Retd.), the President of SPSTI, who said Maulana Azad was the person who initiated role of science and technology in education. Quoting Maulana Azad, he said, there is no alternative than to bring an Act to declare the then existing institutions as the institutions of national importance. Prof. Arun K. Grover, Former Vice Chancellor of Panjab University and Vice President of SPSTI said that it is a special occasion as it enjoys to remain ourselves on how the permeation of education in an inclusion manner has helped to propel the progress of the nation. Prof. Karamjeet Singh, Vice Chancellor,Punjab State Open University, Patiala introduced the Guest of Honour, Prof. Jaspal S. Sandhu, Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
Thespeaker Prof. Ved Prakash was introduced by Prof. S. S. Chahal, former Vice Chancellor, Maharana Pratap Agriculture University, Udaipur and Khalsa University. Prof. Ved Prakash initiated his lecture addressing Maulana Azad as a visionary man and his work had put India to the path of progress. He talked about the three brainchildren of Maulana Azad which in present times are important pillars of education system, i.e. NCERT, NIEPA and UGC. For NCERT he was of the idea that it needs to work in close coordination with Regional Institute of Education (RIEs) which caters to teachers and teacher training. He also said that the teacher education is weak in our education system and also the RIEs have not made any efforts to spread across the four-year integrated education courses. Maulana Azad realized there is also the need for administrators and planners in Asian region and hence the NIEPA came into existence. Also, there were institutions but they had not been in connection with the Ministry in any way, hence led to evolution of University Grants Commission. But, initially the UGC was only a recommending body and did not had funds. Maulana Azad recommended that UGC should be an expert body, having its own fund and be allowed to allocate these. He assured government would treat commission as binding and will be guided by its advice. He also thought the commission would come up with policy to change higher education. In 1956 the Act was passed and the UGC was made an statuary body. UGC has made seminal contribution to institutionalization of scholarships, addressing admission needs of marginalized sections of society, special assistance programme, major and minor research projects, etc. But has also received criticism due to its certain limitations. He concluded the session saying the best way to pay homage would be to follow the ideals of Maulana Azad and learn from his experiences. The session was much appreciated by the audience and followed with many questions. The discussion veered towards NEP 2020 and its implementation! Concluding remarks were given by Prof. Grover.