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Teachers at the heart of Education Recovery

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Saluting Teachers on World Teachers’ Day (WTD) -5th October
By: Prof. Jayadeba Sahoo
“Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Deva Maheswara; Guru sakshat Param Brahma, Tasmei Sri Gurave Namah.”

Teacher guides us towards the success in every aspect of life. It is important for both to respect the relationship.
Since times immemorial, Indians have respected and idolized their teachers and placed above the God.. Earlier, we used to call our teachers ‘Guru’ and now it’s the contemporary ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’. Nevertheless, the role of teachers has remained the same. They were, are and will continue to be our guiding light, creating conditions conducive to our overall development. We will always be thankful to them for their constructive support. It is as an expression of this gratitude only that we celebrate Teacher’s Day in India.
The idea of celebrating Teacher’s Day took ground independently in many countries during the XX century; in most cases, they celebrate a local educator or an important milestone in education (for example, Argentina celebrates Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s death Anniversary on September 11 since 1915, while India celebrates Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday on September 5 since 1962). These two factors explain why almost all countries celebrate this day on different dates, unlike many other International Days.
World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994, commemorates the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. It is an occasion to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. Since 1997, with the signing of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Higher Education Personnel, October 5 is also celebrated by colleagues in the Higher Education and Research sector. It is an opportunity for UNESCO and Education International to celebrate the profession and to promote international standards for the teaching profession.
The United Nations (UNESCO) presented the theme of World Teachers’ Day 2021 as “Teachers at the heart of Education Recovery” in respect of their determined and diligent efforts in the crucial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. One and a half years into the COVID-19 crisis, the 2021 World Teachers’ Day will focus on the support teachers need to fully contribute to the recovery process under the theme.
Teachers are an icon of knowledge. They are one of the most influential forces for quality education and development. They are a source of awareness and enlightenment. They nourish their students with their wisdom.  They teach the real skills of a successful life to children. Their es-cheats help us to discover the precise path across life. Despite the teaching profession being made up largely of women, inequality remains an issue. Even if measures to ensure equality are enshrined into the policies and constitutions of many states, for millions of female teachers, the goals remain unfulfilled. The teaching profession, both men and women, must unite and urge governments to implement their commitments
Just after Independence Dr. Radhakrishnan Chaired the University Education Commission in 1948-49. As Erich Fromm told “Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines,” he realized that our Education system does not appear to fulfill the true aim of education. He said, “The three things- vital dynamism, intellectual efficiency and spiritual direction together constitute the proper aim of education. Moral and spiritual training is an essential part of education. Enfranchisement of the mind, freedom from prejudice and fanaticism, and courage are essential. What we need today is the education of the whole man- physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual………If education is to help us to meet the moral challenge of the age and play its part in the life of the community, it should be liberating and life giving. It must give a basic meaning to personality and existence and equip us with the power to overcome spiritual inertia and foster spiritual sensitivity………. Seat of learning should produce men and women who will move together to develop common ideals and purposes, love each other and co-exist to create a co-operative common wealth.”
Radhakrishnan had also strongly recommended the teaching of spiritual and ethical aspects of the religions as it is evident in the report of the University education commission of which he was the Chairman. The report maintained that: “Unless morality is taken in a larger sense it is not enough. If we exclude the spiritual training in our institutions, we would have to be untrue to our whole historical development. To be secular is not to be religiously illiterate. It is to be deeply spiritual and not narrowly religious.” To enable students to become enlightened civilized citizen, he used to lay stress on the need of ethical teaching while addressing them.
The significance of celebrating World Teachers’ Day
The teachers are the Removers of spiritual blindness. We in our country look upon teachers as ‘Gurus’, ‘Acharyas’, what do these words indicate? Acharya is one whose ‘achar’ or conduct is exemplary. If he is a victim of ‘durachar’ then he is not an ‘acharya’. He must be an example of ‘sadachar’ or good conduct. He must inspire the pupils who are entrusted to his care with love of virtue and goodness and abhorrence of cruelty and violence. We must love the good and detest the bad. Until we are able to give our youngster that kind of outlook we cannot call ourselves good teacher.
World Teachers Day is the right occasion when we remember the time spent with our teacher, what they taught and what we are today. Teacher guides us towards the success in every aspect of life. Teachers are the prime movers who commit their whole life to the welfare of the youth; hence they are the greatest builders of a society or a nation. If we are proud of our country, our progress, our wealth and power, then we should be proud of our teachers. 
When Dr APJ Abdul Kalam became President of India, he located his centenarian class VIII science teacher Siva Subramania Iyer (who had changed his life with a lesson on how birds fly) in Tamil Nadu and put him on stage with him to share his honour. Dr Kalam said, “the launch of the rocket is most crucial. If it is given the right take-off, it can reach the moon. The teacher is the launching pad of every great person who reaches for the sky.”
On World Teachers’ Day, the basic message that a teacher needs to receive is quite simple- “We appreciate you”. We highly appreciate you having chosen this profession, one so fundamental to society, and the fact that you continue in it, despite – and often because of – the challenges you face. We value the initiatives you take in opening doors of knowledge and tolerance for each girl and boy. We are aware of what your profession demands of you, of your responsibilities and of your rights. We acknowledge the difficulty of your task, and the fact that it takes professional training and a decent work environment to teach well. We appreciate the care you take to direct your knowledge at children with special needs, and your awareness that all students have individual needs. We value your ability, developed through training and experience, to listen to your students and to shift the responsibility of being a learner from your shoulders to theirs. In sum, we appreciate you, and we call upon parents, community leaders, business people, trade unions and government officials, especially educational authorities, to find a way, this World Teachers’ Day, to tell you just that, in their own words and in their own way. . Let’s move from words to action: WTD is your day!
On this day, we gratefully remember and honor all the teachers that have made our life much more knowledgeable and fulfilled, as serving as our beacons of light.
(The writer is a Faculty, Brahma Kumaris & Professor ( Ex-Dean & Head ), Faculty of Education, Rajiv Gandhi (Central) University, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected])

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