Describing students as an "integral part of the societal fabric”, Congress leader and former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked the student community in the country "not to isolate themselves from the happenings” surrounding them.
"Students are an integral part of the societal fabric. They must understand the importance of the relationship between themselves as individuals and society as a whole. It is undoubted that the main occupation of students is studying. But this does not give them the liberty to isolate themselves from happenings of the world surrounding them,” Singh said while addressing students at Bapu Gujarat Knowledge Village Campus located at Vasan in Gandhinagar district.
According to the Indian Express report though the former prime minister did not touch up any controversial issues touching students in India, these comments from the veteran leader comes at a time when issues of "equality and intolerance” have topped national debates due to incidents involving students in Jawaharlal Nehru University and University of Hyderabad.
Talking to students on the topic of "Creative role of students in future of India”, Singh asked the students community to align with "decision makers” to resolve the problems facing by the society. "The youth of today has a bright vision for the future. They want a world free of poverty, unemployment, inequality and intolerance. It is the role our student population in creating and spreading awareness of these problems faced by our society. The students should join hands with various decision makers in public and private in discovering and realising this beautiful dream,” he said.
Stating that a "good education system must also promote the value enshrined in our Constitution” the Congress leader said, "I wish to emphasise that what we receive in the class room is information, what we preserve is knowledge, what we use is intelligence, but what, when and how we use it is wisdom,” he told the gathering at the education campus set up by former Gujarat chief minister and the present leader of opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, Shankersinh Vaghela.
Touching upon the issues of unemployment among youth and the skewed sex ratio plaguing the nation, Manmohan Singh urged the students to "take up the mantle” and lead the country to be a top economic force in the world. "One of the greatest challenges faced by India is its unemployed youth. In spite of a fast growing economy like ours, where new industries and thereby new opportunities spring up everyday, a large segment of of our youth are deprived of the job opportunities owing to lack of education and skill. It is in this dimension that a well educated student force can be most helpful in nation building,” he added.
The former prime minister pointed out that at the current population growth rate, an addition 10-12 million people will be added to the workforce every year. "This means that by the year 2030, the working age population in the 16-65 year bracket will cross the one billion mark. Providing gainful employment to this vast labour force is a big challenge,” he added.