TEACHERS DAY: A TRIBUTE
Speech at Teachers Day celebration of Sainik School Rewa dated 5-9-1985
We have gathered here to celebrate Teachers Day. Dr. Radhakrishnan was one of the greatest philosophers of our country. He was a great teacher, besides being a great scholar. A scholar-teacher should be the ideal for our teachers which is why the birthday of Dr. Radhakrishnan was selected for celebration as Teachers Day. On this day, which is dedicated to our teachers, it is delightful that we have some teachers who are honoured for their excellence.
I should like to start my speech by answering a question raised by our Vice Chancellor. Why are the secondary school teachers alone celebrating Teachers Day? Why not the University teachers ? One of the ills of post-independence education is its excessive bureaucratisation. Bureaucracy has its virtues. Secondary teachers alone are celebrating the day because bureaucrats have given the directive. Nobody stands in the way of University teachers celebrating the day, but so for no one has given the lead.
We are proud of our cultural heritage, which gave eminence to the teacher. If you go through our literature, you will find, the teacher enjoyed the most prominent place in society. The ruler was a secondary person. The ascetic teacher was the friend, philosopher and guide to the people. He devoted all his life to acquiring knowledge and wisdom. Worldly things never engrossed him. Leading a spiritual life, he devoted himself to the search for truth.
The purpose of education then was acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Whatever the teacher acquired in the
course of his search, he gave to his disciples through his teachings. These became part of our rich heritage.
Education has a role to play in the growth of a nation. It should enable the young generation to learn about the past so that they may be proud of their heritage. It should enable them to know about their present strength. The knowledge of the present and the past will help give them a vision of the future. Only if we have the right vision, can we go forward. The role of education in the post-independence period is even more important since we have to prepare the young generation for building a great nation.
We had a glorious past. Our ancient literature, the arts, philosophy, astronomy, medicine, science, etc. give evidence of the great creativity of our ancestors. Then our people were highly inquisitive; they questioned everything around them. Hence our ancestors were ahead of the world. Real education inculcates the spirit of enquiry and it is this Intellectual adventure which helps in the extension of the horizons of knowledge. We should continue the traditions of our ancestors. After the twelfth century there appears a vacuum in our intellectual life which continues till the beginning of the renaissance in the nineteenth century which brought us our independence.
I would compare the job of a teacher to that of a boatman. The waters are stormy but he has to take the people across to the other shore. He has to ply the boat against the tides without overturning it and bring the passengers safely ashore. The present day teacher has to teach in the stormy world of today where most of the strong winds are our own creation. Those who have been successful
in piloting the boat, naturally, deserve all the praise and gratitude of society. The students who are sailing in the boat should desist from rocking it so that they are taken safely across. Today we express our gratitude to the boatman for his labour, for his dedication and for what he does for society.
It is in the fitness of things to recall the problems connected with our educational system.
A sound national educational policy is essential for national unity. Where knowledge should be free, how many have access to free knowledge ? 85 per cent of our women have not gone to schools. 65 per cent of our total population is illiterate. Shall we able to make education-even school education-accessible to all by 2000 A.D. ? We require a lot of resources and efforts to achieve this.
In the case of our State, the situation is still worse. The Government, with all their good intentions, will not be able to find all the resources needed. There is, therefore, need to involve all those agencies which benefit from educated manpower. They must share the burden.