5 Sep :Highlighting the immense role played by teachers in shaping and guiding our lives, the President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil said, “ Teachers are at the heart of the education system. There can be no viable solution to our education challenges without revitalizing teacher education and promoting respect for the teaching profession.
” Giving away the National Awards to Teachers – 2007 here today at Vigyan Bhavan, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil said that a good teacher is one who imparts knowledge in such a way that the fundamentals of the subjects become ingrained in the minds of students.“A good teacher teaches well, but a better teacher imbibes humanistic values in the ward in such a way that they become the guideposts for a lifetime”, said the President. Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil also said that India must take advantage of the era of the knowledge society in which we live. “This requires people who are competent, innovative and willing to find better and improved methods of functioning. A teacher can facilitate the construction of knowledge through active engagement of the learners”, she said. The President also said that she looks forward to the teaching community showing greater professionalism, commitment and dedication to transform the education system.
Welcoming the President on the occasion Shri M. A. A. Fatmi, Minister of State for School Education and Literacy, dwelt upon various programmes of the Govt. of India to raise the standards of education in the country and to spread it throughout India in an all-inclusive manner. He eulogized the teaching community and said that not only the students but the entire society owes to our teachers who render a selfless service to the nation. Smt. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Higher Education also graced the occasion.
The National Awards to Teachers are awarded by the President of India on 5th September every year on ‘Teachers’ Day’ to accord public recognition to meritorious school teachers. This year altogether 320 teachers have been nominated. Of these 82 are lady women teachers. 9 teachers have been nominated under Sanskrit category and 5 are for teaching in Madarasas. 13 teachers fall under the Special category i.e those who are either disabled or those who are promoting inclusive education. The award carries a Silver Medal, a Certificate and Rs.25,000/-.
Here is the full text of the President’s speech:
“The Birth Anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, our 2nd President is observed every year as Teachers’ Day in India. On this day, we honour this great intellectual and educationist and also the noble profession. It is an occasion to appreciate the role of teachers and their contribution to nation building. We salute all our teachers across the nation who so painstakingly educate students year after year, in schools be they in cities, towns or villages and in the dusty deserts, the coastal regions or on our lofty mountains. I congratulate all the award winning teachers for their commendable work and dedication.
India has been known for centuries as a civilization with a tradition of learning and scholarship. Thousands of years ago, when other parts of the world were yet to understand the importance of systemized education, our gurukuls were imparting knowledge to their young wards, with teachers observing the child’s attitude, aptitude and ability. In our tradition, teachers have been placed on a high pedestal as they help lead their students from the darkness of ignorance into the light of knowledge and, at the same time, teach skills help them earn livelihood.
Not only was our ancient schooling system much ahead of its times thousands of years ago, even our universities were known across the world of those times. Centuries before the universities of the Western world came into existence, universities such as Nalanda, Vikramshila and Nagarjunakonda were centres of learning which attracted students from abroad.
We have a responsibility to continue this great tradition of learning. Our teachers do so by often working in the most difficult of conditions. They provide invaluable service to the individual, society and the nation, by preparing a new generation to face the world. We must all remember that education is a vehicle to instill values for bringing about social change. It is often the teacher who is the window to the outside world, shaping the perceptions of the young students.
There is no doubt that a good teacher is one who imparts knowledge in such a way that the fundamentals of the subjects become ingrained in the minds of students. A good teacher teaches well, but a better teacher imbibes humanistic values in the ward in such a way that they become the guideposts for a lifetime. What are these values? I believe these are learning to be honest and to work honestly; respecting parents, elders and fellow human beings as well as learning to accept that each individual can have different opinions and those differences can be resolved through dialogue. If all teachers who are gathered here can imbibe these principles in their students, then we shall have taken a big step towards strengthening our democracy and our nation, which lives and thrives in the spirit of tolerance and unity in diversity. It is only when our nation is strengthened by a generation with these humanistic values that we would have developed in the true sense.
India must take advantage of the era of the knowledge society in which we live in. This requires people who are competent, innovative and willing to find better and improved methods of functioning. A teacher can facilitate the construction of knowledge through active engagement of the learners. As student in a an old proverb says,
"Tell me and I’ll forget;
Show me and I may remember;
Involve me and I’ll understand."
Active engagement involves enquiry, exploration, debate, application and critical reflection leading to the creation of ideas which in turn are put into action. A teacher, who is constantly learning, alone can teach – like a lamp which can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame. W. B. Yeats rightly said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." A teacher should ignite the minds of the young in such a way that throughout life they have a quest for knowledge and a desire to make this world a harmonious place to live in. Also education should equip the new generation to meet the ever increasing competition in a knowledge based economy and keep them in touch with our grassroot level life realities so that they have a human touch and develop the sense of fellow feeling for their disadvantaged brethren.
Teachers are at the heart of the education system. There can be no viable solution to our education challenges without revitalizing teacher education and promoting respect for the teaching profession. As Gandhiji has rightly said, "the student’s mind must not be caged nor, for that matter, those of the teachers." There must be constant efforts to upgrade the skills of the teachers. I am informed that in the 11th Plan there is an initiative to strengthen teacher education structures and that must be implemented properly. The Government has also accepted an important recommendation of the National Knowledge Commission to inter-connect all knowledge institutions through electronic digital broadband network to encourage sharing of resources and collaborative research. Similarly, the ICT makes available avenues for professional development of teachers and education administrators. Today, I launched a National Portal for Teachers. Its purpose is to serve as a forum for building knowledge, sharing best practices and experiences and creating a vibrant network of teachers. I would call on the teachers to make effective use of this portal in updating their teaching skills and methodologies.
Along with improvements in and strengthening teachers’ education programmes, there is also a need to provide quality education in rural areas. Our rural schools have problems of infrastructure facilities and non-availability of quality teachers. I am happy that the Navodaya Vidyalayas in the rural areas are fulfilling these objectives of nurturing rural talent. Besides, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas have also been set-up in educationally backward blocks to provide quality education to girls from the weaker section in a residential setting.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has been a watershed in its work of moving towards achieving universal elementary education, with special emphasis for education of children from disadvantaged sections. As a result of various interventions the number of out-of-school children has come down substantially. At the secondary stage, a new programme, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan is being launched, with access to secondary schools, while improving quality of education. 6,000 new high quality model schools, with at least one school in each block, are also planned to set the pace for improvement of quality in neighbouring schools through various interventions, including teachers’ improvement and capacity building.
Information and Communication Technologies are likely to change the teaching-learning scenario in our schools. Increasing use of communicative media, especially the computer and the television, will create an interactive electronic environment in the school and the home. This would require a shift from competitive and individualized learning to cooperative and collaborative learning. The classroom of tomorrow will be marked by collaboration, constructivism, exploration and problem solving.
I look forward to our teaching community showing greater professionalism, commitment and dedication to transform the education system. Teaching should not merely be an activity of planning a lesson or presenting readymade knowledge for achieving outcomes that can be measured objectively. It should also be a process of making the child think and try out what is being learnt. Therefore, I would like to see teachers shift away from their traditional role of ‘informing’ to that of ‘eliciting’ and ‘guiding’. I would also urge them to ensure that our great cultural heritage is preserved even while preparing our children to become global citizens.
I once again offer my congratulations to the award-winning teachers and extend my greetings to the teaching community and wish them well in their work.”