"Making quality and non-discriminatory education to all is a big responsibility, as this alone has the power to rid the world of its basic problems of poverty, illiteracy and deprivation," Anand Kumar said. He added: "Unless that is addressed, the world will keep encountering its various ugly manifestations."
Delivering a lecture at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Kumar exhorted experts, scholars and students to use their expertise in the big fight against illiteracy, poverty and deprivation. Kumar is the founder of Super 30, an educational programme that started in Patna. Established in 2002, the programme selects 30 meritorious and talented candidates each year from economically backward sections of society and trains them for the IIT-JEE, the entrance examination for the Indian Institutes of Technology.
"Harvard University is the top-rung school of the world and those who pass out from here have a standing in the society. The world expects a lot from them and that is where the real purpose lies," he said. Kumar said they are expected to "look beyong self" and provide solutions to the world's pressing problems.
"Accessibility to education is the key and this is what the experts and managers need to address. The day this objective is achieved, a lot of fresh talent will be added to the worlds talent pool to make it a much better place," he said. "It will be like heaven, where there will be no tears, no distraction for the youth to stray on the wrong path, no discrimination in the name of religion or caste, no division... People will know their potential and be aware enough to work for their betterment. They will not be influenced by the evils," he added.
Citing the example of Super 30 -- an educational programme that started in Patna -- Kumar said if it drew global attention despite being a small initiative, it is not only because of its success stories rather it is because how opportunities made a big difference in the lives of those deprived and neglected.
"One opportunity is enough to galvanise them to make the most if it. Education, after all, does not differentiate, it is the system that does," he added. Kumar said there was a time when parents used to force students into child labour due to difficult circumstances, but today they are working in top firms of India and the world. "Their parents now come to me and say that I changed their lives. But no! It was their effort that changed them. I only worked as a catalyst," he said.