Vice-President calls for reforms to nurture teachers’ skills and competence
New Delhi: Concerned over teachers in the country being professionally “disempowered,” Vice-President Hamid Ansari today pitched for reforms in the education system to nurture their skills and competence.
Mr. Ansari, who gave away the National Awards to teachers here, described the recently passed Right to Education Bill “as more empowering, in terms of its impact, than the Right to Vote.”
The Bill will contain a framework of national curriculum, develop and enforce standards for teacher training and provide technical support and resources to the States for promoting innovation, research, planning and capacity.
“We have a situation today in which teachers are politically empowered and professionally disempowered. This is a disservice to the cause of education. The need of the hour is to painstakingly rebuild the professional identity of our teachers, nurture their skills and professional competence through continuing education,” he said.
Mr. Ansari questioned the current system of teacher recruitment, teaching methods, performance assessment, incentive and reward structure and manner of accountability.
“Far too often the focus, regrettably, is on completing the syllabus rather than on cultivating critical thinking skills and competencies. This needs to be corrected,” he said at the function where over 300 teachers from across the country were conferred the award on the occasion of Teachers’ Day.
In a departure from a 51-year-old tradition, the awards were not given away by the President but by the Vice-President. President Pratibha Patil is on a two-nation tour of Russia and Tajikistan.
Mr. Ansari said access and quality are central to education planning. The country needs to assess whether marginalised sections, including the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, minorities, particularly Muslims in general and Muslim girls in particular and rural people, have access to quality education.
He stressed on making teaching more innovative and conditioned to the specific requirements of the pupils.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said it was imperative on part of teachers to develop a life-long learning system. Teachers need to upgrade their skills andknowledge.
The awards, instituted in 1958, are given away every year on September 5 , to commemorate the birthday of the former President and eminent scholar Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakhrishnan.
The teachers were awarded a certificate of merit, a cash award of Rs. 25,000 and a silver medal. — PTI