How often do you see the top brass of the ruling party and the opposition actually agreeing on an issue, especially on religion and spirituality? A two-day ThinkEdu Conclave organised jointly by The New Indian Express Group and Sastra University in the city, witnessed that rare unanimity as BJP’s L K Advani and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit concurred that India’s youth required Spiritual Quotient or SQ much more than IQ or EQ (Intellectual and Emotional).
“When I was studying in St Patrick’s in Karachi, I was taught that the object of education was having a high IQ. But as time went by, I have come to realize that it is the SQ that our youth really need more than IQ or EQ,” Advani said. They would ensure that their ethics and morality were intact.
Sheila later complimented Advani for his observation and wholeheartedly agreed that SQ was the need of the hour. “Education is not just about learning how to read and write,” Dikshit said. “I feel that in the field of education, as Sheila said, education should be of a kind that teaches every student to be proud of his country and imparts ethics and character, not just religiosity,” said Advani, displaying rare bonhomie that was lapped up by the audience.
On the debate about politicisation in education, the panel included BJP president Rajnath Singh, Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan, Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna and Kerala Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala. While most of them disagreed that there was large- scale politicisation in education, they did agree that the reputation of politicians as being corrupt was a worrisome trend. “Politicians are being spoken of lightly these days,” said Advani.
Advani was adept in answering queries from students. He even handled a question from the Nawab of Arcot on why there was no insistence on education for politicians in the country.
A smiling Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla said education was the way forward and hoped that they could focus on that goal, cutting across party lines.