"School authorities should inculcate in their students core values such as discipline, compassion, tolerance, respect for opinion of others, regard for their rights and a duty to the nation," Mukherjee said inaugurating the golden jubilee celebrations of the Sainik School here in the northern Karnataka town, about 510 km from Bangalore.
As one of the 25 army schools across the country, the Sainik School was set up in 1963 in this backward district of the state to train students for joining the armed forces.
Spread across 400 acres, it admits about 100 students every year in class 6 through a selection process. Noting that Sainik Schools were the result of far-sighted planning under the leadership of then defence ministers V.K.K. Menon, Y.B. Chavan, Karnataka chief minister N. Nijalingappa and then union education minister K.L. Sharali, the president said brave soldiers and officers of the Indian army were on eternal vigil at the borders.
"The armed forces are also every ready to support the civilian authorities during natural disasters and maintain law and order when their help is needed," Mukherjee told the impressive gathering of students, faculty and officers from the armed forces.
Expressing hope that students would develop an open approach to the linguistic, regional and religious diversity of the country, the president said the Sainik School had rendered a great service to the nation by churning out young men for the armed forces.
"Dozens of the school students are ably engaged in nation-building by joining the services and central and state governments across the country. The achievement of the school is measured by the success of its alumni," Mukherjee added.
The president also unveiled an indoor stadium built to mark the golden jubilee of the school. Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries participated in the function. Later, the president left for Chennai at the end of a two-day visit to the state.