The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, conferred National Awards on 47 teachers from across the country in the first ever award ceremony held virtually today (September 5, 2020) on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. The President in his speech congratulated the winners of the award and appreciated the steps taken by the teachers in order to improve school education qualitatively. He observed that about 40 percent of the winners of the National Awards were women and appreciated the role women have played as educators. The Union Minister for Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, and Minister of State for Education, Sanjay Dhotre also graced the occasion. Smt. Anita Karwal, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy and Amit Khare, Secretary, Department of Higher Education and other senior officials were present on the occasion.
Paying obeisance and tributes to Dr. S Radhakrishnan, President Kovind said that he was a visionary, statesman and most significantly an extraordinary teacher. Celebrating his birthday as Teachers’ Day is a mere token for the services he had rendered towards the development of the nation and also a mark of respect for the entire community of educators, he added. This occasion also gives an opportunity to pay respect to our teachers for their commitment and supreme contribution in the lives of pupil. He further opined that it is this commitment that is the foundation stone for any school as teachers are the true nation builders who are instrumental in building the character and knowledge of the children.
Emphasizing on the importance of digital technology in challenging times of COVID pandemic, President Kovind said that our teachers are taking the help of this technology to reach out to the children. Applauding the skills of teachers in shifting to this new technology driven teaching, he said that it is important for all teachers “to upgrade and update” their skills in the field of digital technology so as to make education more effective and also make the students conversant with the new techniques. President Kovind said the online education system has made it obligatory for the parents to join hands with the teachers and encourage children to evoke interest in new fields of learning. Pointing out at the digital divide, he also emphasized that steps should be taken so that children from tribal and far-flung areas are also benefitted.
Talking about the National Education Policy, President Kovind opined that the newly introduced policy is an endeavour to prepare our children for future needs and has been designed after considering the opinion of various stakeholders. It is now the teachers who would be at the center-stage for making the policy successful and productive, he added. All efforts are being made to make the teachers competent to implement the new National Education Policy and only the best would be chosen for the field of education, President Kovind said.
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While addressing the participants, Pokhriyal expressed his gratitude to the President of India Ram Nath Kovind for sharing his vision and encourage a great sense of pride among the participants. Pokhriyal appreciated the award winning teachers, who have earned this award in recognition of their contribution towards grooming the future of our children.
The Minister said that the teachers are considered to the most respected member of society as they shape the future of children and the future of the nation. Teachers are the nation builder whose character, spirit and energy shape the destiny of nations. He appealed that a teacher should make full use of their intellectual abilities to inspire generations and to achieve the goals of parity, social justice and excellence in national and global contexts. The Minister added that the main responsibility of a teacher is to be aware of the changing social needs and individual needs of the learners and also to take into account the past experiences, educational priorities and national development goals in teaching-learning process.
Further highlighting the role of teachers during COVID-19 Pandemic Pokhriyal said that the challenges faced by teachers were enormous because they had to replace face to face teaching with alternative teaching and learning strategies. The situation was initially challenging but our teachers overcame the obstacles and moved forward in the field of education made in a well-organized manner. Formal teaching was replaced by alternative learning mediums such as online, TV, mobile, radio, textbooks, etc. Students and teachers turned to digital apps – DIKSHA, SWAYAM, SWAYAM PRABHA, FOSSEE, NROER.
The Minister said that the NEP-2020 will witness a radical transformation not only in the education system but also in the life of the teachers. In NEP we have made some provisions related to teachers which will act as a positive catalyst from the qualification and appointment of teachers to improvement in their functioning.
While giving the vote of thanks Dhotre said that expressed his gratitude to the President of India Ram Nath Kovind for his generous presence and thoughtful address in the field of education. He said that the President has initiated several reforms in the universities of India and is continuously working for the differently-abled and orphans, along with supporting the greater participation of women in the creation of the nation.
Dhotre said that the role of teachers in any society is undeniably the foundation of the society. They are the teachers on whose shoulders any civilization stands and looks towards its future. Therefore, it is our endeavor to reestablish teachers at all levels as the most respected and important members of our society, as they truly shape our next generation of citizens. Dhotre congratulated all the awardees and hoped that that these awards will encourage the awardees and inspire others to keep the good work that they have started in the schools.
This year, the candidates appeared before the Jury through Video Conference and made presentations before the Jury. Jury selected 47 teachers. The selected awardees with their commitment have not only improved the quality of school education but also enriched the lives of their students and community through various activities like improving enrolment and reducing dropouts, adopting joyful and experiential teaching-learning practices, development and use of cost effective TLMs, organizing extra-curricular & co-curricular activities, spreading social awareness among children, encouraging community participation, appropriate and effective use of ICT in teaching, promotion of nation building and national integration.