Varied background, one aim: Nation-building through teaching

September 5th, 2011 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) They come from different parts of the country, different backgrounds, but what these 301 people have in common is that they are the architects of India’s future and now recipients of the National Award for Teachers.

The share a constant zeal to empower and educate children: some work to empower the girl child, some for those with special abilities and some for tribals. The fields vary, not the basic objective.

In his 50s, from the distant village of Wakching in Nagaland, T. Shahlem Konyak’s biggest challenge is bringing them to the classroom.

?Educating children once they are in classroom is easy,” Konyak says. “Bringing them to the classroom is most difficult as most parents want children to work in the fields. The students are so poor that they cannot even come to school.”

The man proudly wears a red-and-white sash, symbolising his tribe, across his shoulder. ?It is a part of our identity,? he says.

A teacher from Himachal Pradesh, Parkash Chand, is dressed in the traditional ‘Gaddi’ attire made of pure wool. He says that it is to give a message to his students that modernisation walks hands in hand with tradition.

?It is important to understand that tradition goes along with modernisation,? says the man who teaches in a school in Bharmour village of Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district.

His problems are no different from Konyak’s. In his remote village, poverty leads to many children working. “Though many scholarship schemes have been launched, poverty remains a big problem,? he says.

N. Rani from Y.S.R. District in Andhra Pradesh has taken up the cause of the girl child and encourages parents to send their girls to school.

?When girls don’t come to school for two or three days, I go to their homes and ask why they are absent,? says Rani.

Who will cook if girls go to school? She often runs into the question. ?I have to convince them,” she says. “Awareness is important, and if a girl is educated, the whole society will be educated.?

The teacher has also created a Trust to fund education for girls.

Ganaparapu Bhikshapathi from Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh is working with deaf students, while Umapati Mishra from Uttar Pradesh has made it a point to inculcate sense of social service in students, encouraging them to participate in activities like blood donation.

?We have even prepared a list of people and their blood group to help during emergencies,? says Mishra.

G.S. Dhillon, Principal, Dalhousie Public School, Himachal Pradesh, has decided to donate his Rs.25,000 award money towards the creation of infrastructure for educating slum children.

The aim for all teachers remains cultivating a sense of service to the nation and imparting complete education.

?To inculcate a sense of responsibility in students, value for culture and honesty is the aim for every teacher,” N. Bala Chowdaiah from the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh says. “That makes us successful, not awards.?

President Pratibha Patil presented 301 teachers from across the country the National Awards 2010 for Teachers on the occasion of Teachers’ Day Monday.

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