The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that education is an instrument of social transformation adding that it forms the foundation for empowering women, especially in a country like India.
Delivering the Convocation address at the University College for Women in Hyderabad on October 4, 2018, he said that no country can make progress if women lag behind. Educating a woman would not only empower an individual but an entire family. Expressing his concern over gender inequality, he warned that subordination of women in various spheres would have serious negative consequences.
Calling for breaking down walls and defying stereotypes, he emphasized that women, who constitute more than half the population, need to be given voice and space. “Empowering women is empowering entire humanity”, he asserted.
Education is not only for employment, it leads to enhancement of knowledge, enlightenment and empowerment of individuals, he said.
Observing that we need women at all levels, the Vice President called for strengthening social, economic, political and legal avenues to ensure equal rights for women. Political participation of women was extremely crucial in strengthening the democratic process in the country, he added.
Naidu quoted Swami Vivekananda, who had said: “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is impossible for a bird to fly on only one wing”.
Quoting a World Bank report on the positive effects of educating women, Naidu said that rise in female education levels will help in reducing infant and child mortality rates. He further said that increased earning capacity of women will also have a positive effect on children’s nutrition, health and educational prospects.
He advised the graduating students to leave their mark of excellence wherever they go. He told them not to remain mediocre and always try to push their boundaries of performance.
Saying that Indian universities and Indian colleges have not made much progress in terms of becoming centres of innovation in the areas of Science and Technology, the Vice President said “we have become good knowledge consumers but we are not able to become knowledge producers”
“We can become innovators and knowledge producers only when we bring about a paradigm shift in our education system and evolve an education system that provokes young minds into thinking; that combines pursuit of knowledge with creativity, critical thinking and skills”, he added.
To achieve this, Naidu called upon the teachers to rededicate themselves to the cause of education and transform this college into a centre of excellence for innovations.
During his interactions with students, the Vice President stressed on five aspects that students must never forget in their life. “Never neglect or forget your mother tongue, parents, native place, motherland and the Guru (teacher). Learn other languages, but be proficient in your mother tongue,” he told them.
The Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana, Mohammad Mehmood Ali, the Vice Chancellor of Osmania University, Prof S. Rama Chandram, and Principal, University College for Women, Prof. Roja Rani, members of the faculty, students and parents were present on the occasion.