Five Areas of Competence for Nepal's Prosperity
Former Indian President APJ ABDUL KALAM identifies five areas of core competence to develop Nepal.
We have seen that the seeds of peace in the world have their origin in the righteousness in the heart of every individual. Such righteous citizens lead to the evolution of enlightened society. Education with value system has to be so designed that the righteousness in the heart is developed in young minds. That should be the mission of education. The prime learning environment is five to 17 years of age. This reminds me of an ancient Greek teacher's saying, “Give me a child for seven years; afterwards, let God or devil take the child. They cannot change the child.”
This indicates the power of great teachers and what they can inculcate in the young minds. Parents and teachers must inculcate moral leadership amongst children. It requires the ability to have insights into the uniqueness and universality of human consciousness. True education is the acquisition of enlightened feelings and enlightened powers to understand daily events and to understand the permanent truth linking man, to his environment, human and planetary.
While I was in college, I remember the lectures given by the highest authority of a Jesuit institution Rev. Father Rector Kalathil of St. Josheph's College, Tiruchirappalli, Southern India. Every week on Monday, he would take a class for an hour. He used to talk about good human beings present and past and what makes a good human being. In this class, he used to give lectures on personalities such Buddha, Confucius, St. Augustine, Califa Omar, Mahatma Gandhi, Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and moral stories linked to our civilizational heritage. In the moral science class, Father Kalathil used to highlight the best aspects of how the great personalities evolved as good human beings through parental care, teaching and companionship of great books. Even though these lessons were given to me in the 1950s during my college days, they inspire me even today.
It is essential that in the schools and colleges, lectures are given by great teachers of the institution once a week for an hour on civilizational heritage and derived value system. This may be called Moral Science Class and will elevate the young minds to love the country, to love other human beings and elevate them to higher planes.
Economic development for societal transformation
It is not adequate to have value based education and religion transforming into spirituality alone to develop enlightened citizens. Nations have to ensure that there is an economic development process which provides equitable distribution of wealth to all citizens of the nation. Effort should be to upgrade the quality of life of citizens living both in rural and urban areas. This can be accomplished only through people participation in the development process. It is essential to ensure that the citizens are empowered with good quality of life encompassing nutritious food, good habitat, clean environment, affordable healthcare, quality education and productive employment, integrated with our value system drawn from citilizational heritage leading to the comprehensive development of the nation that will bring smiles in the faces of 30 million citizens of Nepal.
These are indicators for the growth of the National Prosperity Index. To achieve that growth rate, Nepal can identify five areas where it has a core competence for integrated action:
1. Agriculture and food processing
2. Education and Healthcare
3. Information and Communication Technology
4. Infrastructure development such as power, transportation, communication including Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA) for the 3,000 villages and
5. Enhance tourism.
Peace is an essential ingredient for accelerating development. Based on the experience of the execution of interim plan, Nepal can draw a 10 years vision with the help of public, private and academic partnership.
Objective of the vision
The objective of the 10 years vision would be to realise the following
a. Increase the per capita income of Nepal from the present US $380 to at least US$ 2000.
b. Realise 100 percent literacy including the people living in hilly region.
c. Provide value added employment to all the youth of Nepal
d. Reduce IMR, MMR and provide quality healthcare to every citizen.
For meeting these objectives, the missions for Nepal could include:
a. Large scale plantation of herbs and conversion of herb to drug. Large scale plantation of floriculture with fragrance.
b. Tourism including eco-tourism, mountaineering tourism and health tourism.
c. Large scale commissioning of hydro power-plants and windmills.
d. Commissioning of software intensive industries.
e. Creation of 240 PURA complexes covering the 3,000 villages.
These missions will ensure provision of large scale employment, enhance literacy, provide quality healthcare and bridge the rural-urban divide of the country. This will enable ending of all kinds of discrimination, inequality, exploitation and poverty and mapping out the destiny of a prosperous Federal Democratic New Nepal as envisaged by the Honourable President of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in his address to the Nepal Legislature-Parliament on Sept 10, '08.
The realisation of the vision of transforming Nepal into a developed nation before 2018 can be achieved by energising and igniting the minds of all the 16 million youth of the nation and unify the actions of every citizen of the country.
Prosperity of nations is important for the prosperity of the world and promotion of a peaceful, happy and non-violent society. The centuries of learning from different civilizations should enable us to formulate ideas and systems to bring prosperity and reduce disparities. Convergence of the civilization has to be the focus of the world rather than projection of conflicts of civilizations. One of the main drives would be human values bridged by spirituality of religions. We have to find solutions for equitable distribution of essential requirements such as water, energy and preservation of the environment.
I believe that humanity as a whole has to work with focused national, regional and international missions as projected evolution of enlightened citizenship which itself will be a major unifying factor and pave the way for peaceful, prosperous, happy and safe society.
Excerpted from Dr. Kalam's public lecture on "Dynamics of Societal Transformation" jointly organised in Kathmandu on November 17, 2008 by BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation and the Kathmandu University.
Posted by Editor on November 19, 2008 3:21 PM