Following is the text
of Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s address to Awardee Teachers on
the eve of Teachers’ Day:
“I am delighted to be with you on the eve of Teachers’ Day. I join you
all in paying homage to the great teacher, philosopher and educationist
of our time Dr. Radhakrishnan, whose birth anniversary is celebrated as
Teachers’ Day every year.
I congratulate all of you - Teacher Awardees - on winning this very
prestigious national award. On the occasion of the Teachers’ Day.
I also extend my heartfelt warm greetings to all members of the teaching
community and wish you every success and fulfillment in your personal
life and vocation.
Education provides the skills and competencies necessary for economic
development, it empowers citizens to fully participate in the political
processes and it imparts values that foster social cohesion and national
unity. A well educated population, is essential for the economic and
social progress of any country.
It is for this reason that our government has substantially increased
public spending on education since 2004-05. Education expenditure as a
percentage of our GDP has increased from 3.3% in 2004-05 to 4% in
2011-12. Per capita public expenditure on education has increased from
Rs. 888 in 2004-05 to Rs. 2,985 in 2011-12. The enhanced outlays have
helped in a massive expansion of the educational infrastructure and
sanction of additional posts of teachers on a large scale.
As a result of these efforts, we have made significant progress in
improving access to education. Enrolment of children in primary schools
has now reached near-universal levels. The gender gap in elementary
education has declined. Simultaneously, there is a significant reduction
in socio-economic inequalities in access to education and a narrowing of
the gap between SCs/STs, minorities and other social groups.
However, the poor levels of student learning remain a major concern.
Therefore, as we move ahead we need a clear shift in our strategy from a
focus on inputs, access and enrolment to what goes on in the classroom
and the school. We need to set up transparent and reliable systems for
tracking attendance of children in a truly meaningful way. At the same
time, we need to put in place a system of continuous assessment of the
benefit our children are getting from their education. Participation of
the community and parents would be essential in this process, so that
they can be satisfied with the quality of teaching.
It goes without saying that the teachers, are critical to the success of
our endeavours to impart quality education to our children. Teachers
have to be an integral part of policy-making, governance and management,
as also of day-to-day instructional strategies and decision making. The
empowerment of teachers that includes real opportunity for them to share
policy perspectives and decision-making will have to be the key
component of the educational reform process.
As teachers, we look to you to guide the children of our country in
their quest for knowledge and truth. Through you, we aspire to build in
our children a commitment to the values of democracy, and the values of
equality, social justice, freedom, secularism, and respect for human
dignity. I urge you to develop in children independence of thought and
action and the capacity for taking carefully considered decisions.
Through you, our children should also develop a sensitivity to the
well-being and feelings of others and also the ability to work and
participate in the processes of social and economic change.
I once again congratulate you for contributing so handsomely to the
processes of nation building. Teachers are key to a nation’s future as
they are the nation builders. I have full confidence that with teachers
like you the future of our country is safe and bright. I wish all
teachers in the country a very meaningful and satisfying engagement with