Prime Minister Hinds expresses gratitude for Indian education opportunities
Guyana Chronicle
November 17, 2003

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GINA - Guyana is grateful for the assistance provided to its people to further their studies by the Indian Government.

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds reiterated the gratitude at the Indian Cultural Centre when he joined in the celebrations of the Birth anniversary of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, one of India's first Education Ministers and Foreign Students' Day.

"I want to take this opportunity to commend all that India has been doing not only in spreading Education within its own country, but also in inviting young people from other countries, specifically developing countries and giving them an opportunity to study in India," Mr. Hinds noted

The Prime Minister noted that in the context of the heightened awareness of globalisation, the focus tends to be on trade issues, but a significant element is interaction among people from across the world.

The Indian scholarship programme in Guyana, as well as the ITEC programme, he noted, are excellent means of fostering such interaction

"Globalisation would mean much more in the meeting of the peoples of the world and some of our current events show that this meeting of people and finding a way to be receptive and accommodating of each other would certainly be a challenge, but meeting of people at University level gives us a great opportunity for interaction," he said.

It was decided by the Government of India long ago that the birth anniversary of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, who founded the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in 1949, should be celebrated as the Foreign Students Day. This decision was consistent with the role Maulana Sahib played in opening the doors of India for foreign students and promoting Indian culture abroad.

Addressing the gathering, which included past students of the ITEC programme, India's High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Avinash Chandra Gupta, noted that Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad believed sincerely in India's destiny not just as a nation, but as a civilization, and his knowledge of history gave him perspective and purpose.

"These qualities of Maulana Sahib perhaps led to the establishment of three Akademis in India, namely, Sahitya Akademi for Literature, Lalik Kala Akademi for Visual Arts and Sangeet Natak Akademi for Performing Arts," he said.

The Indian Cultural Centre in Georgetown was established under the auspices of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in 1972. During more than 30 years of its existence in Georgetown, a number of Guyanese have been trained in Indian classical dance and music, and yoga.

"We also endeavour to send few deserving students from Guyana on scholarship for studying in India. The High Commission of India can take justifiable pride in the fact that a number of students who have passed through the Indian Cultural Centre have made a name for themselves in various fields. Also we can take pride in the fact that the Indian Cultural Centre has been playing a role, howsoever modest, that may be keeping the Indian culture alive in Guyana," Mr. Gupta noted.

The High Commissioner pointed out that the 'good' that Maulana Azad had in mind for India consisted of the country's great legacy of a composite culture, and her future destiny as a modem and progressive nation, while the 'evil' that Maulana Sahib saw was the disharmony between the main communities of India.

After India became independent, he was chosen by Pandit Jawaharal Nehru the 'post of Minister of Education. Among his special achievements are the establishment of the University Grants Commission; laying increased emphasis on scientific research, and above all creating the firm awareness that no nation could progress unless its people had the benefit of a technical, vocational and liberal education. The term 'Human Resource Development' was unknown then, but this was what inspired Maulana Sahib when he formulated India's free education policy, the High Commissioner said.

According to Commissioner Gupta, Maulana Sahib's tenure in the Ministry of Education was pioneering in more senses than one.

"It was in this period that education first came to be viewed as something more than the imparting of book-knowledge. Scientific and technical education, teachers' training, language training, schemes of scholarship for Scheduled Castes and Tribes and other Backward Classes, all these took shape in these years. Although Maulana Azad never used the phrase, it was in his stewardship of the Ministry of Education that the Government of India first came to view education as an investment in human resources," he said.

Maulana Sahib died on 22nd February, 1958.