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India now poorest in education : Prez
    
Ludhiana, Nov 28,2012: President Pranab Mukherjee today lamented that India, once the cradle of civilization, is now the poorest in terms of education, literacy and knowledge. Describing lack of literacy as the biggest challenge facing the country, Mukherjee said the largest number of illiterates in the world resided in India. He was speaking after laying the foundation stone of an auditorium at the Sat Paul School here.
    
The President, in his interaction with a few students of the school, exhorted them to love the institution and respect the teachers if they wanted to make it big in life. Listing the hurdles in the way of India’s growth, he said the largest numbers of illiterates in the world reside in India. The country, which was once considered the cradle of civilization, is now the poorest in terms of education, literacy and knowledge, he said.
 
"We had some of the centres of excellence such as Takshila and Nalanda where people from all over the world came. We have to achieve them again", Mukherjee said. The President underlined the importance of knowledge economy and said the country was doing some catching up through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Right to Education.
    
"We are trying to catch up through Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and Right To Education as these are probably the fundamentals through which we can build the educational system of the country," he said. He noted that "today every economic and social thinker believes that knowledge is going to be the most important instrument and ingredient of building up the new economic order.
 
"Therefore, we have to build up informed, knowledgeable, rational citizens and that can be done only through such schools of excellence", Mukherjee said. Mukherjee also used the occasion to drive home the importance of teachers and the significance of teacher-student ratio.
    
"Teacher-student ratio is not mere a mechanical ratio. It is the very essence of a country’s education system. The personal attention a teacher gives to a student makes all the difference", he said, introducing himself as a "teacher" to the students. Mukherjee recalled that "I started my life as a teacher and as they say, once teacher, always a teacher".
 
"If you want to succeed in love, you should also love your institution and respect your teacher. That way you can achieve anything", he told the students, adding he entered politics accidentally as he hailed from a political family.

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