Vice President of India calls for providing integrated and holistic education to children

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New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for providing integrated and holistic education to children.

Describing teachers as architects of national development, he advised them to inculcate values of democracy, equality, freedom, justice, secularism, concern for others well being, respect for human dignity and human rights in children.

Addressing teachers from Delhi Tamil Education Association Schools on the occasion of Teacher’s Day, here today, Shri Naidu said the best way to pay tribute to India’s first Vice President Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was by conducting themselves as ideal teachers.

The Vice President called upon teachers to rededicate themselves to transform classrooms into hubs of joyful learning by raising the entire education system to a much higher level than what exists today.

He also wanted them to understand the psyche, strengths, and weaknesses of children during their interactions with them in classrooms and counsel them.

Stressing the need to make the Children aware of the rich heritage, traditions and the glorious history of the country, Shri Naidu wanted text-books to include lessons on freedom fighters, eminent scientists, artists, and others to inspire children.

The Vice President asked for inclusion of concepts such as sustainable development, living with nature, making children aware of programs such as Swachh Bharat, Clean India, and other people’s movements.

Shri Naidu said it was necessary to promote physical education at par with academics and encourage students to actively take part in activities such as sports, games, and yoga to ensure that they were fit and healthy.

Talking about the importance of mother tongue, the Vice President urged teachers and parents to encourage children to speak in their mother tongue at home. He also wanted mother tongue to be the medium of instruction up to primary school level.

At the same time, the Vice President advised children to learn as many languages as possible. Saying that one should not hesitate to learn new languages, the Vice President, however, said no language should be imposed and that no language should be opposed.

Observing that the country needs teachers with competence, confidence and commitment to bring in a difference in the educational landscape, the Vice President said the teachers have the unique opportunity to lay the foundations of a vibrant nation through their knowledge, attitude, behaviour and the ability to create the right conditions for learning.

The Vice President sought comments, suggestions and ‘innovative’ inputs of educators, teachers, and scholars on the new education policy and asked them to contribute to the shaping of a policy that would take our country forward in the 21st century.

More than 100 teachers from the Delhi Tamil Education Association and students of various schools were present at the event.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“I am delighted to be with all of you today on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, a day when the nation celebrates the extraordinary contribution teachers are making to national development. It is a day when we respectfully remember the first Vice President of India, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a great teacher, an intellectual giant and an eloquent exponent of Hindu philosophy.

Ours is a country that has given a central place to teachers. We call them ‘gurus’, a Sanskrit word that connotes ‘a source of illumination’. In fact, the respect a teacher receives in our culture is well depicted in the lines:

“Gurur Brahmaa, Gurur Vishnuh, Gurur Devo Maheshwarah Guru Saakshaat Parabrahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah— ‘Guru is like Brahma the Creator initiating us into learning, Vishnu the Preserver nurturing our talents and Maheshwara the Destroyer dispelling doubts and negative thoughts. Guru is the Supreme God and my salutation to such a Guru’.

We are the inheritors of the system of gurukulas. A system in which the teachers and the students lived together and pursued studies in a caring environment. It was a system of education that was based on a constant dialogue between the teacher and students. It was a system that promoted the concept of ‘Vidya’ as a process of discovery.

You are all blessed to have the unique opportunity to shape the destiny of our nation in your classrooms every day and every minute through your interaction with students.

We, in India, have come a long way after independence. Today, 95 percent of children are in schools and we have more universities and institutions of excellence than we had in 1947.

Nearly 70 lakh teachers are teaching 20 crore children in 15 lakh elementary schools across the country. The literacy rate has been steadily improving from a mere 18 percent in 1947 to nearly 80 percent at present.

One of the most important issues facing school education today is the need to improve quality in education and learning.

We need more teachers who can build in our children a commitment to the values of democracy, equality, freedom, justice, secularism, concern for others well being, respect for human dignity and human rights. Children should be made aware of our rich heritage and the glorious history.

I call upon all teachers at all levels in the country, in the pre-primary centres, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities to rededicate themselves and pledge that they will transform the classrooms into hubs of joyful learning and raise the entire education system to a much higher level than what exists today.

We cannot rest on the past laurels. Nor can we be satisfied with a few islands of excellence. We need a system that responds effectively to the learning needs of all children, youth and adults and keeps constantly innovating.

We need teachers who have the required competence, confidence and commitment to make a difference to the educational landscape of our country.

As has been said:

“The mediocre teacher tells;
The good teacher explains;
The superior teacher demonstrates;
The great teacher inspires.”

What we need today are more and more great teachers. We need teachers who are learners and creators.

We need inspirational, transformational leaders in our classrooms.

It is not merely the grand building that makes a school good but the dedication and commitment of teachers that makes it great.

Dr. Radhakrishnan had said; “true teachers are those who help us think for ourselves”.

In a similar vein, Shri Aurobindo has said “The teacher is not an instructor or task-master, he is a helper and a guide”.

All these principles emanate from our ancient Indian heritage which views education as integrated development of all faculties. As Swami Vivekananda said, “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s own feet”.

The new education policy contains a lot of good ideas. It is before the country for comments, suggestions and ‘innovative’ inputs. Please have a look at the draft and contribute to the shaping of a policy that will take our country forward in the 21st century.

You, teachers, are the key architects of national development. You lay the foundations of a vibrant nation through your knowledge, attitude, behaviour and your ability to create the right conditions for learning. You lay the foundations for your happy, fulfilling life. I wish you all the best in your efforts to shape a new, resurgent India.

Thank you.”

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