THE LIFE OF DR. A.P.J ABDUL KALAM AND WHY QUALITY EDUCATION MATTERS
For the purpose of this case study, I have selected the personality Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam for
a brief analysis of historical events in his life and how it is relevant in today’s world for
achieving the SDG of quality education.
When we hear the name Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam ears perk up and the hoi polloi at large are
well versed with this seemingly powerful name. The 11th President of our country has
contributed invaluable knowledge and put in place of what we call as the richness of
education. He was born on the 15th October 1931 in Rameswaram, to a Tamil-Muslim family
at a time when financial crisis within the family was at the brink when their ferry business
was ramshackled by the construction and operations of the Pamban Bridge. Despite these
series of mishaps Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam managed to put education in the frontline and is
now one of the most celebrated scientists in India. It is this drive and internal motivation that
persons need at large to ensure that education is valued and of certain quality. It is also
known that he spent hours studying mathematics and perfecting his domain knowledge.
Taking the above two points into consideration and paralleling it we notice how financial
crisis and domain knowledge are highlighted. In today’s world we see 364 million persons in
poverty in India as estimated by the United Nations in 2019 and this highlights the level of
financial crisis persons face. To achieve quality education among this section, it is pertinent
to make resources available by exploring physical commons like a freely available resource
house with study materials available to those who cannot afford it funded by the state coupled with public contribution. Addressing the point of domain knowledge, as Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam took one area and mastered it, this can be incorporated to achieve quality education in today’s world either through introduction of vocational courses or specific subject related courses if education is interpreted in the wider sense. Better than being a jack of all traits, and master of none it is immensely beneficial for individual growth and at a larger scale achieving quality education.
After completing his high school education in Schwartz Higher Secondary School, being a
bright frosh with a scholarship in hand Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam attended Saint Joseph’s
college in Tiruchirappalli and subsequently in Madras Institute of Technology. After drawing
another parallel we observe that scholarships can play a large role in giving a chance to bright minds to achieve substantial quality education and should be given priority by private
institutes as well as it would result in a win-win situation as it would increase the goodwill of
the institutions and at the same time benefit someone able in dire need of such financial aid.
Delving deeper into the thoughts and ideas of Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam in context of education
we notice how he emphasise on tele- education and how the digital platform is of utmost
importance in the rural areas. There is a focus on qualitative education with an emphasis on
the establishment of a strong student- teacher relationship as Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam himself
knows its priceless value, this is seen in his biographical account where he says, ‘This was my
first stage, in which I learnt leadership from three great teachers- Dr Vikram Sarabhai, Prof
Satish Dhawan and Dr Brahm Prakash. This was the first time of learning the acquisition of
knowledge for me.’ As enlisted in Article 21A which guarantees the right to education it was
also an ideal of his to not limit the roles of institutions to mere knowledge distributors but
encourage the occupation and education intermix to ensure a more wholistic and skill-based
approach. After a more detailed analysis of the life of Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam we realize that
monetary position and knowledge are not intrinsically intertwined but monteray aid acts as a
catalyst to gain knowledge. After studying a few speeches of our former and late president we understand how quality education is not a limited concept but how it awakens the internal feeling of self-respect and honour, how quality includes even gender equality in the
representative sense and how proper guidance is key.
It is imperative to note that this case study is not a complete description of how events
unfolded in the life of our 11 th President but to draw parallels from certain events from his life utilize them in today’s world limiting the case study to education. Hence, as a concluding
note we learn that Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam has given us insights that are unparalleled and by
analysing bits of his history we obtain information that can help us move ahead to achieve the SDG of education for all and with quality.
1. Kiritkumar Ramanbhai Chauhan, ‘A Study of Thinking on Education System of Dr. A. P.
J. Abdul Kalam’ (2017) vol. 5 issue 8 IJRSML <http://www.raijmr.com/ijrsml/wp-
content/uploads/2017/11/IJRSML_2017_vol05_issue_08_Eng_04.pdf> accessed 24
2. ‘Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam’ (MBA Rendezvous, 28 December 2018)
23 November 2021
3. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._P._J._Abdul_Kalam> accessed 23 November 2021
Malvika Pachauri is a 1 st year law student in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National
Law University pursuing BA LLB (Hons.) and has the knack and interest towards research
and writing. Currently an intern at the Stambh organisation, she is part of the research wing
and has a keen interest in article writing and analysis of topics relating to human rights and
social development goals.