Today is World Teacher's Day:
'Invest in future, invest in teachers'
"Teacher is a maker of man. He is the foundation of all education,
and thus of the whole civilisation of mankind, present and future. No
nation reconstruction is possible without the active cooperation of the
teacher." - John Adams
"Teacher is the maker of nation." - Chanakya
Professions in the current world are diverse. Among them, there are
reputed professions. Some professions are more attractive since they are
highly remunerated. Some are respected and privileged. If someone asked
me to name the noblest profession, in the world, I dare say "It is
teaching." Teaching creates and builds all other professionals. Doctors,
engineers, vocalists, dancers, artists, accountants, technicians and all
kinds of professionals initiate in the hands of a teacher.
It is the teacher who holds the prime responsibility of building the
future of nation through imparting knowledge. Teachers not only impart
knowledge but also they nurture the children with spiritual qualities to
become disciplined members of civil society and develop skills required
to become productive contributors of the economy.
Teachers are the second parents of children. At the very young age of
three years, child is handed over to the teacher with great enthusiasm.
Parents have high expectations about the great ability of teacher in
shaping the future of children making them economically productive,
socially disciplined and culturally sensitive. Parents assure that their
children receive affection, and attention throughout the period of study
in the teacher's association.
Mother and father sometimes complain when their children are
mischievous at home. Teachers gladly undertake and manage to teach 30 to
35 students in a class with diverse behaviours, attitudes, cultural
backgrounds and learning capacities, showing no resentment. This is the
true nature of our teachers.
Teaching is a meritorious deed rather than a profession. Apart from
knowledge, children receive parental affection, physical and
psychological safety, consoling words, encouragement to learn and
guidance to solve problems at school. The teacher shows these
constructive attitudes towards their children. They treat children in an
indiscriminate manner, irrespective of social, cultural and family
The child becomes productive to society if he develops intellectual
abilities with good human values. The Teacher makes untiring efforts to
produce a disciplined person augmented with knowledge and social values.
Other professions do not involve such a vast range of responsibilities
and parental feelings towards their clients. Teachers are silent about
overloading, salary increments, and bureaucratic harassment and not
rewarding for good performance. They are unvoiced on issues in their
We rarely hear teachers holding organised strikes and fighting
against employers to win their demands. It is not the teachers who take
such initiatives at the expense of students. Hearts and minds of
teachers are soft and delicate towards children. These are the
characteristics of a noble profession. Teaching is venerated and
The teaching profession had its roots in the period before Christ.
Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, (861 BC) is considered to be the first
private teacher in the world. However, according to Asian history, The
Buddha is treated as the first great teacher and the philosopher to
appear in the world (620 BC).
Even before that there is evidence for the existence of teaching
profession in India. In the Vedic era there were teachers to teach Vedic
literature. The Buddha, before enlightenment received education from
In the Jathaka stories, the Buddha referred to a prominent and
reputed teacher - Disapamok from whom the children of elite families in
India received education. These stories give evidence for the existence
of teaching profession having its roots in the very distant history of
During these days the pupil stayed with the teacher in his residence
and learned. The teaching was limited to the primary function of passing
knowledge acquired by teacher to the pupil.
There was no fee levied for teaching and the pupil had to work for
the teacher respectfully. However, the teaching profession has earned
dignity and nobility since these olden days in the Asian culture.
The role of the teacher in building society is multi-dimensional, as
a teacher, a role model, a mentor, a facilitator, and a problem solver.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) has declared the World Teachers' Day to celebrate and highlight
the priceless profession of teaching worldwide.
Accordingly, The World Teacher's Day falls on October 5 annually. The
first World Teacher's Day was celebrated on the fifth of October 1994.
The theme of year 2014 is "Invest in future, Invest in Teachers".
Countries around the world will mark the day through organising various
events and programs to appreciate and salute the unparallel service
offered by teachers to their communities.
The UNESCO calls upon students, parents and community members to get
together and to demonstrate their appreciation acknowledging the
contributions that teachers make to build their nations.
The UNESCO declaration of World Teachers' Day opens the minds of
governments and authorities concerned on the importance of professional
development of teachers enabling them to undertake the challenges
emerging in the education field in the 21st century. Secondly, the day
is to highlight the issues around the teaching profession in the world
and request governments to take appropriate courses of action that help
mitigating such issues. Certain countries in sub Saharan region and
Arabic countries do not invest adequate funds for education and improve
the quality of education.
Education is a basic human right and a basis for development of all
other fields. Some of these countries spend considerable amount of funds
for weapon production rather than improving education.
In the globalised and technologically advanced world, countries with
illiterate and uneducated young population will remain isolation in the
darkness for ages. UNESCO invites such governments to open their eyes
and minds to provide necessary support systems for universal education
including development of teachers.
At the global level, lack of teachers is seen as a prominent issue.
UNESCO has estimated that global scarcity of teachers' amount to 1.6
million by 2015, to reach the goal of universal primary education. It is
calculated that another 3.66 million teachers are required to replace
teachers leaving the profession by 2030. There are 57 million school
going age children that do not attend school owing to lack of access to
UNESCO draws the attention of the world to the need of increasing the
number of teachers. Just increase the number of teachers would not serve
the purpose of education. Teachers need to be equipped sufficiently,
with updated knowledge on respective curricula, skills and new teaching
techniques and understanding the students behaviour and mind sets to
play the new role under emerging challenges in the field of education.
UNESCO is of the view that most of teachers in the world are lacking
these skills, underpaid and have no adequate recognition for their
With the massive revolution of knowledge and development of
technology, including IT, there is a dramatic transformation in
education process as well. Education in the 21st century has developed
with several important attributes. In place of fragmented curricula,
formulation of integrated, interdisciplinary curricula which address
students' diversity has emerged.
Textbooks based education has succeeded research oriented and project
based education The curricula encourage students' creative thinking
skills, multiple intelligences, technology and multimedia and multi
Students become active learners in place of passive listeners in the
class room. Curriculum and skills are not taught but students have to
learn them through application in projects in a real situation.
Students are self directed and working independently and
interdependently as well within the classroom. Knowledge is no longer
considered as memorisation of facts and figures, but is constructed
through different information sources, students' research and
Knowledge is also developed connecting previous knowledge, personal
experience, interests and talents of students. Students' assessments
have moved from traditional measurement of memorizing facts and figures
to demonstration of understanding through application in a variety of
Assessment is done through application of knowledge in world
situations and students' ability to apply knowledge to solve problems in
the real context.
The 21st century is considered to be the century of knowledge. The
most valuable commodity a country can offer to its children is
There are plenty of new tools including internet, email, television,
radio, video and cellular phones for quick acquisition of information.
These information should be transferred into knowledge and knowledge
into wisdom to broaden students' innovative thinking and understanding
about surroundings and beyond.
More importantly, knowledge provides the basis for civilised society
through wholesome development of individuals. Knowledge is the basic
ingredient to find best careers.
The current situation requires knowledgeable generation who can apply
knowledge practically in work situations. Teacher guides children to
find information from various sources, turning information into
knowledge, internalize knowledge and then to practice them in the real
This is a new way of understanding the concept of "knowledge". Along
with these vital changes in the education system, there is a greater
demand for better learning and teaching/learning techniques. These are
said to be the characteristics of quality education The central factor
for quality education is availability of quality teachers.
Professional Development of Teachers - Fulfillment of objectives of
21st century education can only be achieved, if appropriate teaching
development programs consisting quality improvement components as
against traditional teacher training programs are launched.
Teacher development programs must produce a constructive and a
comprehensively equipped teacher with a broad understanding of his role
in the modern day context. Teacher needs to know that the student
produced in the classroom should be a blend of knowledge, skills,
intelligences, and different literacies.
They need to be productive workers, effective communicators, creative
thinkers, and masters of technology when they complete classroom
education and step into society. This is the massive task that we set
upon the shoulders of teachers.
Professional development program for teachers therefore, should aim
at changing old attitudes and modifying their thinking into new vistas.
Teachers development programs must take into account the following.
Teachers in the modern context need to be aware of the paradigm shift
of education from traditional system to children centered, information
rich and skills oriented education.
He needs to become masters of their subject matter. Teacher must
understand and be fully aware of group dynamics and maintaining good
rapport with his students in the classroom. S/he should be able to get
children to acquire information from different sources and guide them
for application of acquired knowledge in real situations through
research and projects.
Teacher should be a good organiser to arrange the classroom and
organise children in an appropriate manner so that all the students
participate in discussions, written and oral assignments, presentation
programs and team work. Teachers should engage students to look at
issues in the actual world, analyse and solve them in a variety of ways.
Great teachers set high expectations for all students and they are
smart to engage all students in classroom exercises and activities.
He applies appropriate teaching techniques with oral presentations,
written communications, review civic and environmental issues, conduct
research, understand concepts, and career opportunities so that learning
process become interesting for children. Teachers need to have clear
objectives to achieve in the end of the given time period.
Effective teachers are organised, prepared and present students a
clear idea of what they will be learning. With all these new
developments, we should not forget the responsibility of teacher as a
He still has to play a traditional role in nurturing children with
human values. An educated person with no moral and cultural values is an
empty person. Teachers need to be warm, accessible, showing affection
and caring for students and cite examples of morally good characters.
Countries which do not have due priority for education must lay
emphasis on the vital requirement of educating children providing
Recruitment of qualified teachers, undertaking regular knowledge
upgrading programs, strengthening teacher training institutions,
development of standards for teachers, conducting research and
generating knowledge on effective teaching and provision of conducive
policy instruments are the important steps that should be taken from
Teachers empower and enlighten children with knowledge and skills and
produce the future workforce.
They build the characters of children with discipline and spiritual
strength to become useful and peaceful citizens to society. Nobody can
assess the value of teaching profession in monetary terms. Nothing can
replace a quality teacher.
On the world Teacher's Day we determine to respect our teachers with
dignity. We thank them for their untiring efforts to build the nation.
"If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful
minds I strongly feel that there are three key societal members who can
make a difference, They are the Mother, the Father and the Teacher"
The writer is the Deputy Minister of Education and Monitoring MP of
the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development.