The educational system in India is at "a very critical juncture"
and teachers should guard against "lack of knowledge, poor
understanding, or biases", which students could imbibe, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday on the eve of Teacher's Day.
The prime minister, recalling his own years as a teacher,
described it as "the most satisfying and fulfilling" phase in his
life and said, "Through teachers flow the values and culture of a
nation and its people".
"Teachers’ own value system, their character and their behaviour
directly influence our children," Singh said while addressing the
winners of the Teacher's Day awards here.
India celebrates Teacher's Day Sep 5, in honour of the second
president of India, academic-philosopher Dr. S. Radhakrishnan,
whose birth anniversary falls that day.
"But, misinformation and limited learning behaviours that children
sometimes internalise can also be traced back to teachers' lack of
knowledge, poor understanding, or biases. We must guard against
these negative features," the prime minister said.
Manmohan Singh expressed his worry over teachers being excluded
from policy-making, governance and management of the educational
system as well as "day-to-day instructional strategy and decision
"In our endeavour for educational reforms we must, therefore,
emphasize the empowerment of teachers and that includes real
opportunity for them to share policy perspectives and
decision-making in pursuit of educational development and
reforms," he said.
The prime minister said the government was committed to provide
quality education to all.
"The Right to Education Act was passed by parliament last year.
The Right to Education Act and Article 21-A of our Constitution
guaranteeing elementary education as a Fundamental Right, have now
become operational with effect from 1st April, 2010," the prime
"I compliment and pay tribute to my colleague Kapil Sibal for the
zeal, dedication and enthusiasm that he has brought to bear on the
work of this most important ministry of Union Government, that
Human Resource Development Ministry is," the prime minister said.
He said no child, irrespective of caste, gender or community to
which he or she belongs should dread the thought of going to
"The RTE Act bans corporal punishment and mental harassment. It
also bans detention and expulsion," the prime minister said.
In answer to the teachers who questioned how discipline could be
maintained in the classroom, the prime minister said the answer to
this important issue was given by the well known philosopher Jiddu
Krishnamurti: "Discipline is an easy way to control a child, but
it does not help him to understand the problems involved in
living… If the teacher can give full attention to each child,
observing and helping him, then compulsion or domination or
discipline in any form may be unnecessary".