GUWAHATI: Professor Abdul Mannan, Chairman, University Grants Commission, Bangladesh on Thursday delivered the Third Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture on “Dr. Kalam’s Contribution in Igniting Global Minds”.
The annual lecture has been organized by the University of Science and Technology Meghalaya (USTM) in the honour of Dr Kalam and was attended by a host of students, teachers and dignitaries, including Prof Ved Prakash, former UGC Chairman, Prof Sanjay Deshmukh, former Vice-Chancellor, Mumbai University, RK Pillai, MD, EDIBON International, Spain, Dr Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur, Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh.
Delivering his lecture, Prof Abdul Mannan said that he reveres Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam first as a teacher, then as a scientist, and, finally, as the former President of India. “Throughout his life, the late Dr. Kalam tried to motivate his country’s people, and its youth because he saw the future of a nation lay especially with them, how they are groomed and from human beings transformed into human resources. This is more than ever true for countries in Asia, a continent that has been ravaged and plundered by colonial powers for centuries,” he said.
Prof Mannan further said that now is time to discuss the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ that is knocking at our door. The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ has ridden on the back of digital technology and its primary driving forces are the innovative capability of mankind and the mastery of the skills of production of goods and services at a rapid pace and at minimum cost ensuring maximum output and efficient distribution. The advent of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ has made knowledge-based societies a reality.
This revolution will determine the future destination of nations and its driving force is human intelligence, innovation and the ability to see the future. All three determinants of the future of nations and mankind are embedded in human beings. To keep pace with the demands of time, it has now become imperative to master the ability to integrate these three determinants and create synergy.
He said that the young generation will not only have to acquire new knowledge and skills but must also learn how to. Learning today is a blending of science with skills. It must be realized that the life cycle of knowledge and skill is very short in today’s world. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence is now a reality. To survive in such an uncomfortable world, societies and countries must realize it will not be possible to save or retain jobs but attempts must be made to provide security to people in terms of skills which can only be possible by providing appropriate education and training.
Prof Mannan said that India may be the world’s number one economic power in terms of PPP but to hold on to that position is a big challenge. The key to confronting this is to invest in human development on a continuous basis, opening up windows to a newer world of knowledge and acknowledging that the real wealth of any nation lies in its people and not in its natural resources. It must also be acknowledged that technology is no substitute for human intelligence.