Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Sangh Adhiveshan in Gandhinagar, Gujarat

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi participated in the Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Sangh Adhiveshan, which is the 29th Biennial Conference of the All India Primary Teacher’ Federation. The Prime Minister also took a walkthrough of the exhibition organized on the occasion. The theme of this conference is ‘Teachers are at the Heart of Transforming Education’.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister highlighted the huge contributions of all teachers at a time when India is moving forward with the resolve of Viksit Bharat in the Amrit Kaal. Reflecting on the experience of transforming the education sector as the Chief Minister of Gujarat with the help of primary teachers, the Prime Minister pointed out that the school dropout rate diminished to less than 3 percent from 40 percent as informed by Shri Bhupendra Patel, the present Chief Minister of Gujarat. The Prime Minister said that his experience with the teachers of Gujarat helped him at the national level and also for creating a policy framework. He gave an example of constructing toilets in the schools for girls in mission mode. He also talked about starting science education in the tribal areas.

The Prime Minister also talked about the high regard that world leaders hold for Indian teachers. He said this he gets to hear very often when he meets foreign dignitaries. The Prime Minister recounted how the Kings of Bhutan And Saudi Arabia and the WHO DG talked highly of their Indian teachers.

Taking pride in being an eternal student, the Prime Minister said that he has learnt to observe whatever is happening in society. The Prime Minister shared his experiences with the teachers. He said in the changing times of the 21st century, India’s education system, teachers and students are changing. He said that earlier there were challenges with resources and infrastructure though students did not put many challenges. Now while infrastructure and resource challenges are being gradually addressed, students have unbound curiosity. These confident and unafraid young students challenge the teacher and take the discussion beyond traditional confines to new vistas. Teachers are pushed to stay updated as students have multiple sources of information. “Future of our education system is predicated on how these challenges are addressed by the teachers”, the Prime Minister said. He said that these challenges should be viewed by the teachers as opportunities for personal and professional growth. “These challenges give us an opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn”, the Prime Minister pointed out.

He asked the teachers to be the guide and mentors of the students along with being the educator. The Prime Minister reiterated that no technology in the world can teach how to get a deep understanding of any subject and when there is an information overload, focusing on the main topic becomes a challenge for the students. Shri Modi emphasized the need to arrive at a logical conclusion through deep learning of the matter. Therefore, the Prime Minister said, the role of teachers in the lives of students in the 21st century has become even more meaningful than before. He said that it is every parent’s wish that their wards are taught by the finest teachers and rest their hopes completely on them.

Underlining that students are influenced by the teacher’s thinking and behavior, the Prime Minister noted that the students are not only getting an understanding of the subject being taught but also learning how to communicate and put forward their views along with patience, courage, affection and unbiased behavior. The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of primary teachers and mentioned that they are among the first persons apart from the family who spend the most time with the child. “The realization of the responsibilities of a teacher will further strengthen the future generations of the nation”, the Prime Minister said.

Talking about the new National Education Policy, the Prime Minister conveyed his pride in the contribution of lakhs of teachers in the formulation of the policy. “Today India is creating new systems as per the needs of the 21st century and a new National Education Policy has been formulated keeping that in mind”, he said. He said that the National Education Policy is replacing the old irrelevant education system that restricted students to only bookish knowledge. This new policy is based on practical understanding. The Prime Minister recalled personal experiences of learning from his childhood and emphasized the positive benefits of the personal involvement of the teacher in the learning process.

Throwing light on the provision for education in the mother tongue in the National Education Policy, the Prime Minister pointed out that even though India was ruled by the British for more than 200 years, the English language was limited to a handful of the population. He mentioned that primary teachers who learnt their trade in regional languages faced the brunt due to the preference being given to learning in English but the present government transformed it by the introduction of learning in regional languages, thereby salvaging the jobs of teachers who prefer regional languages. “The Government is giving emphasis to education in regional languages which will also improve the lives of teachers”, the Prime Minister remarked.

The Prime Minister emphasized the need to create an environment where people come forward to become teachers. He stressed the need to make the status of teacher attractive as a profession. He said every teacher should be a teacher from the core of his or her heart.

The Prime Minister recalled his two personal wishes on the occasion of becoming the Chief Minister. First, to call his school friends to the Chief Minister’s residence and second to honor all his teachers. Shri Modi said even today he is in touch with his teachers who are around. He lamented the trend of declining personal bonds between teachers and students. Though, he said, in the sports field this bond is still strong. Similarly, the Prime Minister noted the disconnect between the students and the school as students forget about the school after leaving. He said that students, even the management, are not aware of the date of establishment of the institution. He said that celebrating the school’s birthday will address the disconnect between the schools and the students, he said.

Highlighting the importance of meals provided in schools, the Prime Minister said that the whole of society is coming together as one so that no child is left hungry at school. He also suggested inviting the elderly from the villages to serve food to the students during their midday meals so that the children inculcate the traditions and get an interactive experience to learn about the food being served.

Speaking about the importance of inculcating hygienic habits in children, the Prime Minister remembered the contributions of a teacher in a tribal area who would cut parts of her old saree to make a handkerchief for the children that can be pinned to their crests and can be used to wipe off the face or nose. He also shared an instance from a tribal school where the teacher had placed a mirror for the students to assess their overall look. This minute change, the Prime Minister said, brought about a huge difference in boosting the confidence of children.

Concluding the address, the Prime Minister underlined that a small change by the teachers can bring about monumental changes in the lives of young students. He expressed confidence that all teachers will take forward the traditions of India which hold the teacher in the highest regard and realize the dreams of a Viksit Bharat.

Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel, Member of Parliament, Shri C R Patil, Union Minister, Shri Purushottam Rupala, Union Minister of State, Dr Munjpara Mahendrabhai, President of All India Primary Teacher’s Association, Shri Rampal Singh, Members of Parliament, and Ministers from Government of Gujarat were among those present on the occasion.

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