PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6294

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON RJ HAWKE AC MP, TO THE NATIONAL SCIENCE SUMMER SCHOOL, CANBERRA, 16 JANUARY 1984

Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/01/1983

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 6294

L1
AtUSTRALIA ,& il
EMBARGOED AGAINST DELIVERY L CHECK AGAINSI DELIVERY
SPEECH BY THE PR* ilE MlilISTER, THE HON R. J. HAWKE AC, MP
TO THE NATIONAL SCIENCE SUMMER SCHQOL
CANBERRA
16 JANUARY 1984
EXCELLENCY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
I WAS DELIGHTED TO RECEIVE THE INVITATION TO JOIN YOU
AT THIS OPENING OF THE FIRST NATIONAL, SCIENCE SUMMER SCHOOL,
THE INITIATIVE IN BRINGING TOGETHER SO MANY STUDENTS
FROM ALL PARTS OF AUSTRALIA AND OVERSEAS IS BOTH TIMELY
AND NEEDED. A GATHERING OF SO MANY STUDENTS FROM SUCH DIVERSE
AREAS AND BACKGROUNDS MUST BE AN ENRICHING EXPERIENCE FOR
ALL INVOLVED. IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE I HAVE FOUND SUCH GATHERINGS
PROFOUNDLY IMPORTANT FOR THOSE WHO ARE OPEN TO IT,
HORIZONS CAN BE LIFTED, NEW WORLDS REVEALED AND THE CHALLENGE
OF THE FUTURE DEFINED.
THIS GATHERING SHOULD BE NO EXCEPTION. / 2

PARTICIPANTS CAN EXPECT TO MEET MANY LEADERS OF
THE AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY AND WILL LEARN A GREAT DEAL ABOUT
AUSTRALIAN AND WOR. LD SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL
DEVELOPMENTS1 YOU WILL HAVE AN UNPARALLELED OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN
OF THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT AND SCIENCE AS THEY AFFECT NOT
ONLY YOUR EVERDAY LIFE BUT ALSO YOUR FUTURE,
FROM THIS SUMMER SCHOOL YOU SHOULD ALL EMERGE
BETTER EQUIPPED TO PLAN EFFECTIVELY FOR YOUR EDUCATIONAL
AND VOCATIONAL FUTURES.
THAT THE CANBERRA DEVELOPMENT BOARD AND NATIONAL
SCIENTIFIC BODIES SUCH AS THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, THE
ACADEMY OF TECHNOLOGICAL SCIENCE, ANZAAS, THE AUSTRALIAN
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, AND CSIRO IN CO-OPERATION WITH ROTARY,
THE SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, THE QUEEN ELIZABETH 11 TRUST,
AND THE DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION IN STATES AND TERRITORIES
, HAVE ALL CO-OPERATED SO EFFECTIVELY AND MADE THIS SUMMER
SCHOOL POSSIBLE IS DESERVING OF THE HIGHEST PRAISE.
ALL THOSE INVOLVED MUST BE COMMENDED FOR THEIR
EFFORTS. AUSTRALIA NEEDS CO-OPERATIVE ACTION OF THIS KIND.

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WE NEED TO MAR. HIALL -) UR HUM4AN FPESOURCES AS
EFFECTIVELY AS WE CANA
THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTED BY THIS SUMMER
SCHOOL TO ALERT OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TO WHAT WE AS A
NATION MUST DO TO SECURE A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS FUTURE
FOR OUR PEOPLE IS INVALUABLE,
THE SUCCESS OF THIS EXERCISE WILL BE MEASURED
BY THE HEIGHTENED AWARENESS OF ALL INVOLVED AND BY
THE QUESTIONS. IMPRESSIONS AND IDEAS GENERATED IN
EACH PARTICIPANT'S MIND BY THE UNIQUE EXPERIENCE EACH
IS PRIVILEGED TO SHARES
ISHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF MANY OF YOU CAME
AWAY FROM THIS SUMMER SCHOOL IMPRESSED BY THE SPEED
AND COMPLEXITY OF THE CHANGES ASSOCIATED WITH
CONTEMPORARY SCIENTIFIC ANDi TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS
THE CONSEQUENCES OF MANY OF THESE CHANGES ARE
STILL ONLY VAGUELY APPRECIATED BY MANY IN OUR COMMUNITYTHE
CONFUSED AND SOMETIMES FEARFUL RESPONSE WE SOMETIMES
SEE ONLY SERVES TO UNDERLINE THE NEED TO RAISE THE LEVEL
OF COMMUNITY UNDERSTANDING OF THE TECHNICAL AND SOCIAL
ASPECTS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY4 A A A

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ICAN THINK OF NO BETTER PLACE TO START THAN HERE
WITH AND THROUGH YOU THE YOUNGER GENERATION.
THROUGH YOU I WOULD BE HOPEFUL THAT TRULY
AUSTRALIAN APPROACHES AND SOLUTIONS MIGHT BE DEVISED.
THERE IS A FINE BALANCE TO BE STRUCK HERE.
ADVANCES IN MICROELECTRONICS HAVE BEEN VAST AND
MANY PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY IN~ YOUR AGE GROUP, HAVE HAD LITTLE
DIF FICULTY IN ADAPTING TO AND-ACCEPTING THE NEW PR ODUCTS
AND~ PROCESS, FOR OTHERS HOWEVER MANY OF THE NEW DEVELOPMENTSWHILE
PERHAPS BRINGING* SOME BENEFITS HAVE BROUGHT NEW
PROBLEMS WHICH SHOULD BE RECOGNISED BY THE COMMUNITY
AT LARGE. IWAS STRUCK RECENTLY BY COMMENTS OF A MR JOSEPH KROGER,
PRESIDENT OF COMPUTER SYSTEMS AT SPERRY CORPORATION,,
QUOTED IN TH1E. AUSTALI. AN; HE OBSERVED THAT:
" AS BREAKTHROUGH PILED UPON BREAKTHROUGH ( IN 1983),
IT BECAME OBVIOUS THAT THE MUCH VAUNTED COMPUTER
REVOLUTION IS HAVING AND WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE A
MORE PROFOUND EFFECT UPON OUR DAILY LIVES THAN ANYONE
EVER DREAMED...

" WE HAVE PROGRESSED FROM COMPUTERS THAT CALCULATE
AND STORE DATA TO COMPUTERS THAT ALMOST REASON
. AND CERTAINLY SOLVE PROBLEMS, THE IMPLICATIONS
( OF EXPERT SYSTEMS) FOR PROBLEM SOLVING IN SUCH
DIVERSE FIELDS AS MATHEMATICSj . SCIENCE AND
ENGINEERING ARE STAGGERING, COMBINE THESE SYSTEMS,"
SAID MR KROGERJ " WITH MECHANICAL CREATURES THAT
OPERATE INDEPENDENTLY ROBOTS AND YOU'VE
ADDED A WHOLE NEW DIMENSION TO THE WORKPLACE,
THE HOME, THE SCHOOL AND PRACTICALLY EVERY OTHER
INSTITUTION,"
COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING, COMPUTERASSISTED
DIAGNOSIS OF DISEASE AND THE PRESCRIPTION OF
TREATMENT AND THE USE OF COMPUTERS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF
BOTH PERSONAL AND BUSINESS ACCOUNTS, ARE APPLICATIONS
WITH WHICH MOST OF US ARE FAMILIAR TO THE POINT O
BEING " BLASbt" ABOUT THEM.
WHAT IS LESS OFTEN RECOGNISED IS HOW THE COSTS
ASSOCIATED WITH COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY HAVE FALLEN IN THE
RECENT PAST, MR KROGER MAY HAVE BEEN EXAGGERATING
BUT HE WAS PROBABLY NOT FAR WIDE OF THE MARK WHEN HE
OBSERVED: vo/ 6

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" COMPARED TO THE COST OF A GOOD TRANSISTOR
YEARS AGO ( SOMEWHERE BETWEEN $ 1 AND
A MORE POWERFUL TRANSISTOR IN A NEW COMPUTER
CHIP COST THE EQUIVALENT OF ONE-HUNDREDTH OF
A CENT. HAD THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY,"
HE CONCLUDED, ItBEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN A SIMILAR
RATIO OF IMPROVED PRICE-PERFORMANCE, YOU AND
I COULD BUY A ROLLS-ROYCE FOR $ 2.50 AND GET
OVER 2 MILLION MILES TO THE GALLON."
WHAT THIS ALL MEANS IS NOT THAT WE CAN EXPECT
DRAMATIC ECONOMIES IN THE MOTOR-VEHICLE INDUSTRY
( ALTHOUGH THE MANUFACTURERS IN THAT INDUSTRY WOULD BE
AMONG THE FIRST TO ADMIT THAT THEIR ADOPTION OF ADVANCES
MADE POSSIBLE BY THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES IS GOING TO BE
CRUCIAL TO THEIR LONG-TERM COMPETITIVENESS AND SURVIVAl),
BUT THAT ALL OF US CAN ASSUME RELATIVELY EASY ACCESS TO
THE PRODUCTS, PROCESSES AND SYSTEMS ASSOCIATED WITH
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY,
WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT WE MUST ALL LEARN TO
ADJUST TO THE REALITIES OF THE COMPUTER AGES

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PERSONALLY I SEE THIS AS BEING CRUCIAL TO OUR
FUTURE PROSPERITY AS A NATION.
MY GOVERN~ MENT WAS ELECTED TO GET AUSTRALIAN MOVING
AGAIN;' TO STEM AND THEN TO REVERSE THE DECLINE IN
EMPLOYMENT; TO RAISE THE LIVING STANDAR~ DS OF AUSTRALIANS;'
AND TO RESTORE AUSTRALIANS' SENSE OF THEIR NATION AS A
FAIR AND EQUITABLE SOCIETY,
IF WE ARE GOING TO SUCCEED, THEN WE MUST SECURE
STRONG AND STEADY ECONOMIC GROWTH OVER LONG PERIODS.
THE PROGRESSIVE INTRODUCTION OF PRODUCTIVE
NEW TECHNOLOGIES IS AN ESSENTIAL PREREQUISITE FOR THE
ACHIEVEMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF HIGH GROWTH RATES.
NONE OF US CAN AFFORD TO BE COMPLACENT IN THE FACE
OF A RECENT SURVEY BY THE EUROPEAN MANAGEMENT FO WHICH
PORTRAYED AUSTRALIA AS A RICHLY ENDOWED ECONOMY SHOWING
LITTLE INNOVATIVE FLAIR AND POOR PRODUCTIVITY LAGGING
BEHIND COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE OVERCOME THE HANDICAP OF
SCARCE RESOURCES WITH A HIGH-QUALITY WORKFORCE1

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AUSTRALIA SIMPLY CANNOT HOPE TO COMPETE EFFECTIVELY
( AND THEREFORE TO GROW VIGOROUSLY) IN CIRCUMSTANCES
WHERE 25 PER CENT OF MACHINE TOOLS NN USE IN AUSTRALIA
ARE UNDER TEN YEARS OLD COMPARED TO MORE THAN
PER CENT IN JAPAN,
BOTH AUSTRALIAN MANAGEMENT AND LABOUR MUST BEAR
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS PARLOUS SITUATION.
MUCH GREATER EMPHASIS MUST BE PLACED ON INDUSTRIAL
REISEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, SECONDARY PROCESSING AND ON
WORKER PARTICIPATION IF WE ARE TO GET AHEAD IN AN
INTENSELY COMPETITIVE WORLD.
THE TASK BEFORE US IS TO MAKE TECHNOLOGY WORK
FOR AUSTRALIA. THERE IS NO ESCAPING THE FACT THAT INDUSTRIAL
INNOVATION IS ESSENTIAL TO AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE WELL-BEING,
NOT ONLY IN NEW INDUSTRIES, BUT THROUGHOUT ESTABLISHED
INDUSTRIES AS WELL.
OUR MAJOR COMPETITORS, ESPECIALLY THOSE WITHIN
OUR OWN REGIONj ARE UNDERTAKING NEW LONG-TERM INVESTMENrSj
ADOPTING NEW BUSINESS STRATEGIES AND APPLYING NEW
TECHNOLOGIES, 1.1/ 9

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AUSTRALKA'S LOCATION IN THE MOST DYNAMIC,
FORWARD-LOOKING PART OF THE WORLD IMPOSES ON OUR INDUSTRIES
A NEED TO DEVELOP NEW TECHNOLOGIES NEW PRODUCTS AND
PROCESSES IF WE. ARE TO COMPETE EFFECTIVELY,
THE UPGRADING OF AUSTRALIA'S TECHNOLOGICAL BASE
IS ESSENTIAL IF OUR COMPETITIVE PERFORMANCE IS TO BE
IMPROVED, AND THAT IS WHERE YOU ALL COME IN.
WE ARE COUNTING ON YOUR GENERATION TO BRING THE
FLAIR, UNDERSTANDING AND TECHNICAL ABILITIES NEEDED
TO ENSURE THAT VE CAN MATCH AND SURPASS THE BEST THE
REST OF THE WORLD CAN PRODUCE,
THE CHALLENGE IS A TOUGH ONE BUT IT IS ABSOLUTELY
VITAL TO THE QUALITY OF AUSTRALIA'S LONG-TERM PROSPECTS
THAT IT BE MET,
THIS IS NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE THE DIFFICULTIES,
THERE ARE, FOR EXAMPLE, CONSIDERABLE SOCIAL
IMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE. ,. 1/ 10

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WE HAVE ALL HEARD HOW NEW TECHNOLOGIES WILL
HELP-OUR WORK AND LEAD TO INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND
LEISURE TIME.
AT THE SAME TIME WE ARE SEEING AN INCREASING
NUMBER OF INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES CENTRED ON THE INTRODUCTION
OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES. IN SOME CASES THIS IS DUE TO IGNORANCE OF HOW THE
NEW PROCESS IS TO OPERATE,
IN MANY INSTANCES,, HOWEVER, IT IS THE RESULT OF
WELL-FOUNDED FEARS THAT EXISTING JOBS WILL BECOME REDUNDANT
AND CONSEQUENTLY THERE WILL BE INCREASED UNEMPLOYMENT ! N
THOSE OCCUPATIONS, IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT THE GOVERNMENT PLACES A
VERY HIGH PRIORITY ON THE TRAINING AND RETRAINING OF
WORKERS TO FILL THE NEW JOBS WHICH WILL BE CREATEDJ BY
TECHNOLOG ICAL ADVANCE@
WE ARE ALSO VERY CONSCIOUS OF THE NEED TO MONITOR
THE IMPACT OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES ON WORKERS'I HEALTH',
Too OFTEN IN THE PAST, PROCESSES HAILED AS GREAT
ADVANCES HAVE LATER BEEN SHOWN TO BE HAZARDOUS, IN SOME
CASES DEADLY, TO0 THOSE WORKING WITH THEM. 1. / l

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My GOVERNMENT IS CONCERNED TO ENSURE THAT THIS
SHOULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN,
TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE ALSO HAS THE POTENTIAL TO
LEAD TO EVEN GREATER INEQUALITIES IN OUR SOCIETY
BETWEEN THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND AND CAN WORK WITH THE NEW
; TECHNOLOGIES AND THOSE WHOSE JOBS ARE DESTROYED BY THEM.
IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A COMMUNITY TO ENSURE
THAT THIS DOESN IT OCCUR AND THAT BENEFITS ARE SHARED BY
ALL MEMBERS OF OUR SOCIETY,
I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT OUR BEST OPPORTUNITY FOR
MEETING THE CHALLENGES OFFERED BY TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE
LIES IN CONSULTATION AND DISCUSSION BETWEEN ALL CONCERNED
BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS, EMPLOYERS, WORKERS AND THE COMMUNITY
GENERALLY. ONLY IN THIS WAY IS IT LIKELY THAT THE COSTS AND
BENEFITS OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES WILL BE FULLY UNDERSTOOD AND
DISTRIBUTED EQUITABLY THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY.
IF WE ARE TO KEEP UP WITH THE PACE OF CHANGE,
AUSTRALIA'S WORKFORCE IN THE FUTURE WILL HAVE TO BE
INCREASINGLY FLEXIBLE, ABLE TO ADAPT READILY TO NEW
TECHNOLOGIES, o,,/ 12

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TO ENSURE TIS YOUR EDUCATION AND TRAINING MUST BE
CAREFULLY GEARED TO CONTEMPORARY AND FUTURE NEEDS.
THIS IS ESSENTIAL IF YOU ARE TO REALISE YOUR
POTENTIAL AS INDIVIDUALS AND TO MAXIMISE THE BENEFIT TO
SOCIETY OF YOUR CAPABILITIES.
OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM WILL HAVE FAILED IF IT DOES
NOT EQUIP YOU WITH THE BROAD SKILLS AND UNDERSTANDING
NECESSARY TO COPE WITH TP'E PROCESS OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE.
THIS IS OF OBVIOUS RELEVANCE TO ALL OF YOU GATISERED
HERE TODAY. BUT I ALSO HAVE IN MIND OTHERS IN YOUR
GENERATION WHO ARE PERHAPS LESS FORTUNATE THAN YOURSELVES.
MY GOVERNMENT IS INTENS ELY AWARE THAT CHANGES IN
SOCIAL* UQHE~ j IN TECHNOLOGY AND IN ' THE ECONOMIC SITOATION
HIAVE ALL HAD THEIR EFFECT ON YOUNG PEOPLE.
WE ARE VERY AWARE THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE INCREASINGLY
EXPRESSING THEMSELVES IN A NUMBER OF: WAYS AND AREAS THAT
DIFFER FROM THOSE OF THE EARLY SEVENTIES AND THAT THIS IS
HAVING A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON ATTITUDES AND ASPIRATIONS.

INCREASINGLY I SEE YOUNG PEOPLE ACTIVELY
CONCERNING THEMSELVES WITH SUCH AREAS AS ENVIRONMENTALISM,
THE STATUS OF WOMEN, THE PEACE MOVEMENT, THE RIGHTS OF
ABORIGINALS, ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLESJ THE NEEDS OF
STUDENTS AND THE UNEMPLOYED.
IN MANY CASES YOUNG PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED MORE WITH
THE NATURE OF PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS THAN
WITH THE FORMAL STRUCTURES IN WHICH SUCH RELATIONSHIPS
HAVE TENDED TO OPERATE IN THE PAST. THEY SEEM
PARTICULARLY CONCERNED TO PARTICIPATE IN DECISION-MAKING
AND TO DEMOCRATISE PROCESSES SUCH AS EDUCATION,
EMPLOYMENT AND TRAININGI
THESE TRENDS, WHILE PERHAPS PUTTING PRESSURE ON
ESTABLISHED ATTITUDES AND INSTITUTIONSj ARE ENCOURAGING.
THEY REFLECT THE VITALITY OF OUR YOUTH AND SUGGEST
A GENUINE INTEREST IN THE QUALITY AND CHARACTER OF
AUSTRALIAN LIFE.
PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY THEY HIGHLIGHT A REFUSAL
TO ACQUIESCE IN THE STATUS QUO AND A GENUINE COMMITMENT
TO BUILDING A BETTER LIFE FOR THEMSELVES AND THOSE
AROUND THEM.
WE NEED SUCH COMMITMENT. ./ 14

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IN THIS REGARD I FOUND IT INTERESTING THAT SOME
RECENT RESEARCH SUGGESTED THAT., WHILE YOUNG PEOPLE TEND
TO SEE A GOOD DEAL OF THEIR SCHOOL EXPERIENCE AS
IRRELEVANT TO THEIR REAL NEEDS, EMPLOYMENT WAS SEEN AS
IMPORTANT AND DESIRABLED
CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEFj THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE
OF A WEAKENING OF THE " WORK ETHIC" AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE
WHO RATHER ASSOCIATED EMPLOYMENT WITH PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
AND SELF-ESTEEM.
CONSCIOUS OF THIS, AND DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT
CONTINUING VERY HIGH RATES OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AND
DEEPLY WORRIED ABOUT THE LONGER-TERM IMPLICATIONS OF
ALARMINGLY LOW PARTICIPATION RATES IN AUSTRALIA' S UPPER
SECONDARY AND TERTIARY EDUCATION. THE GOVERNMENT HAS
EMBARKED ON A MAJOR REVIEW OF ITS YOUTH POLICIES AND
PROGRAMS& WE ARE LOOKING VERY CAREFULLY AT WAYS IN WHICH THE
NEEDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE CAN BE BETTER MET, INCLUDING
ALTERNATIVE POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND ARRANGEMENTS IN EDUCATION,
TRAINING, EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME SUPPORT.
I EXPECT THE RESULTS OF THIS REVIEW TO BE
AVAILABLE BY HID-YEAR& , s

IN IHE MEANTIME I WOULD URGE ALL THE STUDENTS
AMONG US HERE TODAY TO CONSIDER VERY CAREFULLY NOT ONLY
THE USE TO WHICH THIEIR PARTICIPATION IN THIS SUMMER
SCHOOL CAN BE PUT, BUT MORE GENERALLY, TO REGARD THEIR
FUTURE EDUCATION AS A. MEANS OF, AMONG OTHER THINGS,
EQUIPPING THEMSELVES, THE YOUNGER GENERATIONj AND HENCE
THE NATION, TO SURVIVE AND COMPETE IN THIE ERA OF NEW
TECHNOLOGY, IN THE PROCESS I WOULD HOPE THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
ITSELF IS ADAPTED AND GEARED TO MAKING GENUINE PROVISION
FOR OUR NATION'S REAL NEEDS AT THE SAME TIME AS
OFFERING TRULY SATISFYING EXPERIENCES TO ALL THOSE
CONCERNED. WE OWE THIS TO OURSELVESi WE OWE IT TO OUR
STUDENTS. TO0 THE EXTENT WE ARE SUCCESSFUL WE WILL BE A
MORE PROSPEROUS, SUCCESSFUL NATION.

Transcript 6294