New Delhi: India needs inspired teachers to instil in children the civilisational values of tolerance, plurality and compassion and impart education that removes boundaries of caste, community and gender, President Pranab Mukherjee said here on Saturday.
Citing renowned ancient seats of learning like Takshashila, Nalanda and Vikramashila, he asked educational institutes to regain their leadership position by attracting talent to the academic profession.
"I believe that more than ever, today we need inspired teachers to instil in our children the civilisational values of sacrifice, tolerance, plurality, understanding and compassion."
"I would define an inspired teacher as a value-oriented, mission-driven, self-motivated and result-oriented individual," Mukherjee said while giving national award to over 300 teachers for 2014 at a function organised here by Ministry of Human Resource Development.
An inspired teacher links the individual goals of the students to the societal and national goals. Such teachers appeal not only to the head but also the heart, he said.
"Through words, actions and deeds, they inspire the students and elevate them to a higher level of performance and thinking. Responsibility of producing aware, conscious and intellectual citizens who build the future of our nation lies with the teachers," the President said.
He said in the fast changing world of today where new ideas, values and concepts are rapidly replacing the old ones, the importance of quality of education for any student has further increased.
"The education has to liberate a person from narrow world view and the boundaries of caste, community, race and gender. Teachers have been entrusted with the responsibility of moulding the young minds to understand the world and make it better."
"To achieve this, teachers working in schools, colleges and universities need to define to themselves what it is to be a teacher and what effort can make their performance meaningful to achieve this aim. This is a high time for introspection," Mukherjee said.
Mukherjee said: "There was a time when we had renowned seats of learning like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramashila, Valabi, Somapura and Odantpuri".
"They attracted scholars like magnets from far and wide. The powerful minds who taught at such universities created an exalted position for our ancient education system. We have to regain our leadership position."
"We look towards teachers to guide the way. We must ensure that our education system attracts talent to the academic profession," the President said.
He said teachers need to get themselves a new orientation and evolve methodologies to create relevant and effective approaches to teaching and learning.
They also need to continuously renew their capabilities through research, experimentation and innovation to achieve excellence. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is another area where teachers have to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies, Mukherjee said.
"We must work for the long term goal of creating institutional facilities for innovative training and professional development of teachers," the President said.
Mukherjee congratulated teachers who received national awards today. He also greeted all teachers of the country on the Teachers' Day and expressed gratitude for their service and commitment.
A total of 338 teachers from across the country received the honour which carries a silver medal, certificate and Rs 50,000 as award money.
Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, Ministers of State for HRD Ram Shankar Katheria and Upendra Kushwaha, among others were present during the function.