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Vinodkumar Thakkar, Principal of The Rajkumar College

Motto of education is to produce good human beings.

Vinodkumar Thakkar

Vinodkumar Thakkar is the principal of one of Rajkot’s finest and oldest schools, The Rajkumar College (RKC). He is working with RKC since last 31 years. Such is his association with education. RKC was initially established by the Britishers in the year 1870 for the motive to provide education to Princes of Western India region.

RKC is highly known for providing education with character teachings. In this interview with SpeakBindas, Mr. Thakkar shares his view on education along with providing information on RKC.

Videos of Interview

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Excerpt of Interview

Q.: To what extent is our primary education a good foundation for secondary and higher education?

Unfortunately, I will say the contribution of primary education is not as it should be. Primary education is actually the foundation for secondary, higher secondary and later university level education. The problem is big because numbers of students are to be educated. So it’s not an easy task. Worst problem is that our schools are not well equipped. There are 70% of the schools where there are no enough teachers. There are 40% of the schools where there are no black boards. There are more than 50% primary schools where there are five classes with just one teacher. So the situation is bad. But now the Government’s intentions are good. So let’s hope that in future, there will be better primary education.

Q.: What’s your take on present education system?

Education system is very fine. We have different kind of education policies. But implementation, we are lacking. We don’t have qualified teachers. Teaching profession is not considered as a respected profession. It’s not well-paid profession either. So the quality people are not going for educational profession. They don’t want to become teachers. They would like to become a clerk and even a driver, but they don’t want to become a teacher in primary school in a village.

Q.: What’s your take on the present education system in respect to providing thinking skills and teaching to become good human beings?

Education is not just knowledge, getting good marks or a gateway for further education. Education should be skill based. Education is all about how to connect with people, connect with colleagues, connect with surroundings etc. These are the qualities which every person should have. Years of getting education are around 24 years. Then, rest of the 70 to 80 years are to be spent in society by doing some profession, job etc. So then, if you have to be successful, it’s not about how many marks you earned in school or college. How you deal with the people, how you deal with the tough situations, how you take the right decision at the right time etc. is really what the real education is all about. I would consider a person who may not be earning a huge amount of money, but is a good neighbour, a good son, a good father and liked by everybody.

Q.: According to you, what is the role of parents as well teachers?

Role of parents is paramount. The real school is the home. The real teachers are father and mother. What they have contributed to personality of their child, teachers can make a little grooming over it. So it’s a joint responsibility of parents and teachers. Now if parent rather has done his / her job well, then the teacher will further do it very very well. But if the parents haven’t done their job well, teachers can not do much about it.

Q.: There have been examples where through teachers’ extra efforts; students have made a great way in their life. Of course, it is not easy for a teacher to interact with every student and groom him, but to some students, they can inspire to make wonders. How you look at this fact?

Absolutely right. Teachers are basically the role model of every child. If you go back to your student life, you also must be remembering the names of some of the teachers who taught you at school. A teacher doesn’t need to interact with every student. But it’s the teacher’s personality, his own way of talking with students, the kind of affection that he shows to the child, that ultimately comes to the students. A student is nothing but a part of what the teacher is.

Q.: Is it fair in your vision that the education has become very costly these days?

Now everything comes at a cost. There was time when Government took responsibility of education and even today they are trying to make education 100% free for everybody, which actually never going to be possible because we have huge population. It’s not easy to take responsibility of 12 to 15 crores of school students and later crores and crores for professional education. When people are earning good in our country, when the per capita income is going up and our nation is becoming the economic force, why should there be cheap or free education? A child can get 500 rupees pocket money per day, we go out and spend 1000 rupees for fastfood, then why can’t we pay 1000 rupees monthly fees for the education? Government has spoiled the habit of citizens. People can spend lakhs for tourism, thousands for luxurious items but for the education of child, they don’t, because they know that the Government is going to make education cost free.

Devang Vibhakar with Vinodkumar Thakkar

Q.: Year after year, we get to read in newspapers about some board students committing suicide for the fear of poor result. What you have to say about such a suicidal tendency in students appearing for board exams?

See, there is some percentage in population who has the tendency of suicide. That kind of negative mind-set they have. For them, it’s a kind of an excuse. At the same time, you must be reading in newspaper that the mother refused the daughter to go for the movie or to go to fair and she committed suicide. The same way, we get to read about an incident where a daughter-in-law is refused to go to market with a friend and she committed suicide. So there are people who are not mentally strong enough. Their early education hasn’t played the role in their life. They are weak people. If it’s about students, I feel the ratio of students committing suicide is very very less. Even, suicide rate in the I.I.T. colleges is high. Now those students who are so bright, who are so competitive, who have ultimately reached to this premium institute after defeating so many other brilliant students and they commit suicide. So it’s about an individual’s mind-set.

Q.: Tell us something about how the education is provided at The Rajkumar College?

We are one of the oldest residential schools, established in 1870. Basically this school was for the education of Princes of this western region of India. Britishers in those days opened five such colleges. In western India, it was The Rajkumar College in Rajkot city. Rest four were in Ajmer, Delhi, Raipur and Lahore. The aim was to educate the Princes of the respective areas. But later from 1932 it became a public school. We are basically not the studies oriented schools. For us, studies are 50 percent and other activities which ultimately build the character, give confidence to students cover the rest. Our schedule is very rigid. Right from morning 6 to 9 in the evening, students are busy doing something constructive. At the same time, they learn how to compete but they find pleasure in losing also. Because our motto is not just to teach them win win win. It’s also about how you react when you lose. Unfortunately, in today’s society we are not ready to lose. All parents want their child to be the topper. But the topper is only the one. Our students are very happy with the system and we feel proud about it. We don’t see our success or failure just by the result of board exams. I am here for last 31 years. I consider the boy how he is doing after 10 years of schooling when he is in his thirties, married, taking care of parents as well as business. I consider those who are doing very well in this phase, are really well educated. Our students are all over the world. All these students have terrific bonding with the school. When they come to school after 30, 40 or even 50 years, they are in tears. So their bonding with the Rajkumar College is very very strong.

Q.: Any special message you would like to share with the students who may be studying in primary, secondary, higher secondary or any stream of education?

My message as a teacher is that just try your best, never worry about the result or anything else. A sincere effort always pays. There is no shortcut to success.


Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

One thought on “Vinodkumar Thakkar, Principal of The Rajkumar College

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