Draft Speech for  Annual Prize Giving Day on the 22nd November, 2004 at Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan My dear children, parents, Sri B. K. Chakraborty, Commissioner Education, Sri N. K. Dutta, Executive Vice Chairman, Sri K. Kalaichelvan Principal and dear friends   I am grateful to Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan to have invited me today to this Annual day & Prize Giving ceremony. It is always a pleasure to be able to address young minds. Children are our tomorrow – our future. Bright faces that I see here today receiving prizes will be the citizens of tomorrow.

They may tomorrow grow up to be Einsteins, Rabindra Naths, Gandhis, Abdul Kalams & Kishore Kumars or they may just turn out to be a burden on the society, stragglers in the race of life waiting for some one to give them a job. To grow up as good citizens one needs values. It is in our hands…. in the hands of our schools, teachers and parents to instill those values in them which will help them to grow up as good human beings who will contribute to the society. While there should be focus on excellence in academics, one should also not forget that education does not mean mathematics or physics alone.

Education means intellectual, emotional, cultural and social development of a person. One cannot develop a uni-dimensional person who is good in crunching numbers but does not know how to be a good neighbor. It is not marks alone that make a man. It is the responsibility of our schools, teachers and also parents to ensure that our children grow up to be responsible citizens, who think about giving to the society, who love all people irrespective of caste, color or creed.

Love for the country and for people should be inculcated in them. Children are like clay that can be molded into any form. Their mind is a tabula rasa that can imbibe any hue. “All work and no play makes jack a dull boy” There must also be focus on sports, art and culture in our education. It is unfortunate that in the modern system of education we have failed to develop our local traditions. So children grow up learning the names of trees like oak and cider but the names of our own flora is not known to them.

Education, as I said earlier, is about all round development of personality and not just academics. I entreat all our teachers and parents to focus on developing children in a holistic spirit and instilling in them love for their country and people, deep moral values and a strong work ethic so that they grow up to be assets for the nation. I congratulate the children who will get prizes today, their parents and teachers for their hard work. Thank you.

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