On November 11, the state government of Bihar will honour Manas Bihari Verma, a renowned scientist and Padma Shri recipient, as a part of several events it is holding to commemorate National Education Day.
The date marks the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and is observed as the National Education Day across the country to honour the eminent educationist and independent India’s first education minister.
The event, which will be held at SK Memorial Hall in Patna, will be attended by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi as the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour, respectively.
Over 2,000 students and 200 teachers from government schools in the state are expected to attend the event, and Verma is to be felicitated with a cheque for Rs 2.5 lakh, scroll of honour, shawl and a memento at the event.
The 76-year-old educationist was selected by the jury for his unparalleled contribution in the field of education.
“Awards at this stage of life don’t matter much, but I am thankful to the state government for recognising my work. Today, students need guidance from teachers. Only teaching is not enough in this competitive world. Students need to be more practical, and teachers should guide them in achieving their goals,” said Verma to The Times of India.
Particularly renowned for his Mobile Science Lab (MSL) project, Verma has played a significant role in taking science education to the rural sections of Bihar since 2010.
Under this programme, three vans equipped with physics, chemistry and life science laboratories have been reaching out to schools coming under the ambits of rural Patna, Darbhanga and Madhubani. The MSL programme is run by Verma’s own non-profit organisation, Viksit Bharat Foundation, with additional aid from Bengaluru-based Agastya International Foundation.
Interestingly, Verma credits former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as his inspiration to work in a focused manner.
They worked together at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for over three decades. “Apart from being a leader, he was a great mentor. I learned a lot from him. It was Kalam who inspired me to start the MSL programme,” Verma said.
An alumnus of the Bihar College of Engineering (presently known as National Institute of Technology-Patna) and Calcutta University, Verma also holds the credit of being the former programme director of Tejas, India’s first indigenous multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)