Include rural folk as partners in growth, says Hande

By Alexander Chandy
Udupi Today Media Network


Manipal, 07 August 2017: Magsaysay award winner, Dr Harish Hande, Managing Director, SELCO gave the two-day national conference on “Youth in Social Change” a perfect start on Saturday at the Dr TMA Pai Hall here when he called upon the youth to take up the responsibility and be the catalysts for change in all walks of life to take the country forward. In doing so, he cited several instances of how the rural folk could be partners in finding solutions to a lot many problems.



The Conference, being organized by the Volunteer Services Organization of Manipal University, in its first edition has attracted about 600 students from different institutions of the state and outside. With the focus being on youth and their role in social change, Dr Hande said that first a change within us was of paramount importance, before setting out to change others.


“I would not have gotten into IIT, Kharagpur if all 300 million students wrote the entrance with me. Yes, system is at fault but so are we.” He went on to say that his education at IIT was subsidized because the government paid for it. “And where did the government get that money? From the poor and the tax payers, obviously. And in return what are we doing for the poor?” he asked.


Speaking from experience, Dr Hande posed yet another question. “If I have a PhD in farming, do I qualify to be an expert on the subject, or, is the one who spent 40 years farming better qualified to talk on the subject? Here’s where we lack. The poor also happen to be experts in various fields, learn from them, try to engage their ideas as well,” he said.


In his presidential remarks, Manipal University Pro-Chancellor, Dr.H S Ballal also spoke about how every single student present in the room can bring about changes if everyone plans to change just one problem. He also spoke about how being “educated” is different from being “literate”. He urged everybody in the room to be “educated” while being “literate”. Welcoming the gathering VSO Chief Co-Ordinator Dr. Anup Naha said, the conference aimed at providing a platform for students and youths to exchange their ideas for social change. Student convenor Navneet Updhyay gave the vote of thanks.


Founder and CEO of Teach for India, Shaheen Mistri, led the first session. Teach for India, launched in 2009 to work with the weaker sections of the society to provide quality education, has an enrolment of over 45,000 students and 1.5 lakh Alumni, across India. “The intellect of Nehru, moral fibre of Gandhi and compassion of Mother Theresa is what sets apart Teach For India from other NGOs”, Shaheen said while calling upon the students to take up challenges to work for the betterment of the society.


Emphasizing on the number of youth who fail to make complete use of the education provided, she says there are Three Golden numbers - 4% of Indian children never go to school, 42% drop out before finishing primary school and 76% drop out before entering university. She pointed out how Teach For India engaged with students to provide them the opportunity they need to unleash their potential.


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