The country’s youth have just got a thumbs up from the President of India. On a scale of one to 10, President APJ Kalam gives the youngsters a ‘seven’. And even as he commends the youngsters for their quest for knowledge and desire to be the best amongst the best, his rating comes with a sobering, thought provoking observation.
“I would give them (youth) seven. While on the one hand, there has been a lot of innovative ideas, the rate of corruption is also at par,” the President said. “I hope that very soon, I will be able to revise my rating,” he said taking the simple question and answer session with students to a more profound level.
The President was the guest of honour at the third annual Inter-School Speak Out Debate competition held in the Capital on Friday, in which more than 24 schools from across the country participated.
From racking their brains over topics like ‘India is a soft state’ in the preliminary rounds to the topic of discussion for the finals ‘Youth plays an active role in National Development,’ the participants, much to the delight of Kalam, acquitted themselves with great élan and confidence.
Riya Chatterjee of Mayo College for Girls, Ajmer, took the trophy for speaking for the motion while Anees Becker of Toc H Public School was declared the winner for against the motion. Becker was also named the Best Speaker.
The President shared with the students his two-point mantra of development for countries — “The importance of competitiveness and, the need to achieve a peaceful, prosperous and safe society globally.” The President urged the students to visit his website, www.presidentofindia.nic.in, and e-mail him their concerns. The winners took away a cash prize of Rs 10,000 while the first and second runners-up received Rs 7,500 and Rs 5,000 each.
The winners will represent India at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship 2007 to be held in Cape Town while the rest of the four will visit Seoul to participate in the World Schools Debating Championship 2007.