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View teaching as a way of life: Modi

Author: Anita Joshua
Publication: The Hindu
Date: September 4, 2014
URL: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/view-teaching-as-a-way-of-life-modi/article6380107.ece

The PM advised teachers to be always two steps ahead of time to help students keep abreast with the fast-changing world.

 Ahead of Teachers’ Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday sent out an email message to all teachers stating that teaching is not just another profession but ``a divine responsibility to guide and enlighten.’.

 Reminding teachers that India used to be known as the `Vishwaguru’, Mr. Modi said: ``We must once again accord such respect to teachers and thereby regain that status where India becomes the beacon of knowledge for the entire world.’’ Stating that teachers laid the building blocks of society, he added: ``This is a responsibility of great significance because on this depends how our present and future generations will thrive.’’

Goalposts for teachers

 The Prime Minister set out several goalposts for teachers. These include widening the ``horizon of thinking of your students’’; encouraging them to think critically about issues concerning the nation, society and environment; and moulding good citizens capable of preserving the past and creating the future. He also sought teachers’ support in inculcating lessons in good citizenship in children; be it in obeying traffic rules, cleanliness, gender sensitisation or showing concern for the weak and reverence for elders.

 In a separate interaction with award-winning teachers at his residence, Mr. Modi urged them to view teaching as a ``jeewan dharm (way of life)’’ from which one never retires. He also advised them to be always two steps ahead of time to help students keep abreast with the fast changing world.

 Recalling his days as Gujarat Chief Minister for the first time, Mr. Modi said he had two wishes then: To meet his school friends and all the teachers who had taught him. Both wishes, he added, were fulfilled. The teachers also shared their views on the profession with him, according an official release.

 On Teacher’s Day, Mr. Modi will address students and then engage with those present in the Capital’s Manekshaw Auditorium and others gathered at NIC centres in Leh, Port Blair, Silchar, Imphal, Bhuj, Dantewada and Thiruvannamalai. The session will be aired live on Doordarshan and webcast. State Governments across the country had been advised a week ago to ensure that schools make arrangements for children to view the address within school premises itself.

 The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s decision to ask State Governments and the Central Board of Secondary Education to get schools to make arrangements for children from Class I to XII to see the address within the school has drawn considerable criticism with some detractors saying that it went against the federal structure of the Constitution.

In view of the criticism, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani subsequently clarified that it was not compulsory for schools to keep children back for viewing the telecast. However, many a school has decided to make arrangements in view of the feedback form that has to be sent to CBSE or the State Education Departments in which they have to detail the number of children who viewed the telecast.
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