On his first visit to Assam, President Ram th Kovind had occasion to make two important observations about the State. One of them was concerning the geographical location of the State that made it a key to opening up new vistas of progress and prosperity for the country due to its proximity to South East Asia. He had in mind the forthcoming visit of the heads of the ASEAN tions to India during the next Republic Day celebrations. He said that the Prime Minister had invited the heads of the 10 ASEAN tions to attend the Republic Day celebrations in 2018 and to witness the pace of India's development. He believed that Assam has direct connections with South East Asia, and that the proposed visit of such important persolities would pave the way for prosperity in the State and the country in the days ahead. This is an advantage that Assam has had for as long as we can remember, but one that the government has been rather late in taking note of and deciding to take advantage of. And over the years, the State government has merely looked up to the Centre to take advantage of Assam's location without initiating any action to take advantage of its proximity to South East Asia. In any case, this is an advantage depending solely on geographical location—an advantage that we have so far failed to put to our advantage.
It is the President's other observation that we need to pay special attention to, because it is one that has to do with our potential and Assam's future. It has to do with what we are capable of achieving if we put our minds to our potential. President Kovind made a strong plea on Monday for tapping the tural and human resources of Assam for accelerating its economic development. "Assam has no dearth of tural and human resources. The need is to harness and utilize these resources to put the State in the fast-track growth path. Education holds the key here, as education is the foundation of development," he said. It is this observation that needs to be read between the lines as well. What the President said is that Assam has the required tural and human resources for accelerating economic development, but must ensure that there is quality education to realize this potential. What was, of course, left unsaid is that over the years, precious little has been done to realize our full potential that involves the best use of our tural and human resources.
What happens very commonly when there is a pronounced ibility to tap the existing tural and human resources is that the tural resources get exported to other places for efficient use. The human resources rot for lack proper education, and there is also an exodus of bright people to other places where both better education and better opportunities for putting good education to work exist. Our real problem arises from our failure to specify what good education is for Assam at the beginning of the 21st century. Quite obviously, the formal education that is being dished out in schools, colleges and universities is no longer good education because it has declined in quality, it is not related in any way to the needs of the 21st century and it does not reflect any awareness of the tural and human resources that we have in the State. All good education differs from the routine formal education in being able to reflect the special needs and abilities of a region that pivot on the tural and human resources of the State. Our education is likely to be effective or good for Assam only when it differs from the standard curriculum to the extent of reflecting the needs and resources of the State.