The Society for the Advancement of Education (SAE) organized the eighth edition of the prestigious, AC Deb Memorial Lecture on 6th February, 2020, at the India International Centre, New Delhi. Organised regularly by the Society, the lecture commemorates the unforgettable contribution of the educationist, Mr. AC Deb, founder of Cambridge Schools, to the cause of school education.
The main speakers for the day were Member of Parliament, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, and the eminent Supreme Court lawyer, Ms. Karuna Nundy. A prolific writer and an eloquent speaker, Dr. Tharoor gave his keynote address on the topic, ‘Meeting India’s Challenges- If business as usual does not work then what could?’
The AC Deb Memorial lecture was attended by over 300 people including Dr. Kalyani Roy, Secretary, SAE, distinguished members of the management, Principals, teachers and students of the Cambridge family of schools.
The much-awaited event commenced on a spiritual note with the lighting of the lamp. Thereafter, a group of students of Cambridge Schools sang the ever-popular John Lennon number, ’Imagine’ with the audience joining in to give voice to the shared dream of a world without ‘greed or hunger’, leading to ‘a brotherhood of man’. The lines ‘You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one’ struck a chord with the audience.
Director, SAE, Mr. Vikram Roy welcomed the gathering of educators and students, with a brief sketch of his grandfather Mr. Deb and his vision as a passionate educationist and nationalist in the turbulent 1930s. He was of the view that Mr. Deb was ahead of his time in introducing into the curriculum elements, which would build skills and learning as well as character in the students. The world, he said, faced many challenges from political rivalries, climate change, the absence of societal ethics and the failure of inclusiveness in development and sought solutions from the speakers.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor articulated his concerns on the topic rivetingly and emphasized the need to keep India on the path of progress. “If America is a melting-pot”, he said, “then to me India is a thali, a selection of sumptuous dishes in different bowls. Each tastes different, and does not necessarily mix with the next, but they belong together on the same plate, and they complement each other in making the meal a satisfying repast.” Thereafter he answered, often with great wit and humour, the many queries of the curious students who engaged him with thought-provoking questions. In reply to a student’s question about the education system he said encouraging creativity is the need of the hour: ‘‘Why should you confine yourself to the limitations of the textbook and the teacher, when what you will need in life is to be able to think beyond both for yourself and come up with out of the box approaches and solutions.’
The Guest of Honour, Ms. Karuna Nundy spoke passionately on the great need to honour and abide by the Constitution of the Republic.
The lecture concluded with a Vote of Thanks proposed by Mr. Indranil Gupta, the Manager of Cambridge School Greater Noida.