President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday that teachers can play a pivotal role in bringing about a qualitative change in higher education by discerning the special abilities of students and bringing out the best in them.
Inaugurating a two-day conference called 'Gyankumbh' at Patanjali Yogpeeth here, the president said the discerning eye of a teacher plays a big role in the growth of a student.
"So you must be sensitive towards your students and ensure that their merit does not go unnoticed because of their poverty or some other handicap," he said.
Noting that history was full of examples where teachers honed the skills of their disciples to help them rise to eminent positions, the president cited the example of Chanakya who recognised the talent of Chandragupta who came from a humble background and made him one of the most illustrious kings of ancient India.
"Every child is born with a certain special ability. It is the teacher's responsibility to recognise that ability and bring the best out of him," he said.
Citing the example of a Brahmin teacher who mentored a lowly born boy called Bhim Rao after recognising his talent and gave him his surname Ambedkar after the completion of his studies, Kovind said if that teacher had not come into the life of Dr Ambedkar, the country would have been deprived of the services of a Bharat Ratna.
"Even former president APJ Abdul Kalam began dreaming of becoming a rocket scientist after he along with a group of his classmates was taken to the seaside by a teacher who taught them about the flight of birds," the president said and hoped that deliberations at the event will throw up ideas to revolutionise higher education in the country.
The president also underlined the need to establish a higher education system which put equal emphasis on imparting knowledge to students and inculcating upon them a keen sense of values.
Kovind also remembered Madan Mohan Malviya for his dedicated efforts to establish a centre of higher learning like the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and asked teachers to be inspired by his missionary zeal.
Showering praise on Ramdev for taking yoga to every household both nationally and internationally, the president said the ancient Indian discipline of mental and physical well being could not have found its way into the daily lives of people without the yoga guru.
Academicians and educationists from all over the country are participating in the event which will conclude on Sunday.
(With inputs from agencies.)