IN SCHOOL

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's vision for the nation



 

Despite being an eminent scientist and former President of India, you always wanted the people to remember you as a teacher. What is it about teaching that you place it above others?

Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me. Youth have a dream and also they have a pain. The pain comes out of their dream; they want to live in a prosperous, happy and peaceful India. This type of student’s environment ignites me and leads me to interact with young minds.

 

What does Teachers' Day mean to you? Do you think the advent of technology and free access to abundant information has the changed the profile and relevance of teachers over the years?

   Teachers day for me, gives me an opportunity to remember my teachers. Great teachers emanate out of knowledge, passion and compassion.  Teacher’s Day is to celebrate the great teachers who empower the students and put them into the higher ladders of thinking.

Internet has no doubt simplified access to information.  Modern gadgets and education learning websites will be assistive to teachers and the students. Technology can only facilitate but never replace a teacher. The more tech-savvy they are, the simpler their work becomes.

Ultimately, education in its real sense is the pursuit of truth.  It is an endless journey through knowledge and enlightenment. 

Such a journey opens up new vistas of development of humanism where there is neither scope nor room for pettiness, disharmony, jealousy, hatred or enmity.  It transforms a human being into a wholesome whole, a noble soul and an asset to the universe.  Universal goodwill in its true sense becomes the sheet anchor for such education.  Real education enhances the dignity of a human being and increases his or her self-respect.  If only the real sense of education could be realized by each individual, and carried forward in every field of human activity, the world will be so much a better place to live in.  Such a great role to be assumed by teachers.

 

You advocated the concept of making schools enjoyable to children. But students seem to be under constant pressure to perform better to join professional courses. How to slow down this race without compromising on career prospects? 

 

 Schools should always be enjoyable to children. But, there is nothing wrong in the classrooms having heavy teaching provided it is interactive and participatory which make learning enjoyable. The educational demands on the students from teachers will have to be designed in such way it is transformed into interesting learning experience, rather than a usual home work.

Our primary school teaching is not creative. What is important is to bring in reforms here.

We need creative classes, we need creative teachers, and we need creative syllabus, which will ultimately make the learning process simple. Teachers should imbibe the spirit of enquiry and make the students seekers of knowledge and become their guide and friend.



    With increasing commercialization of education and private institutions investing huge money to create world class infrastructure, what are the challenges before Government Schools and teachers?

   Really a competitive environment is emanating in the education sector. It is very important for the government schools to face the competition and create global human resource cadre.  All the IITs, NITs, Universities, higher education/research institutions and schools should take the responsibility of enhancing the quality of teaching.

    

What is your message to new generation teachers? With the cane becoming almost irrelevant, how can the teacher inculcate discipline among students? Do you remember being caned by any teacher in school days? If yes, can you share the occasion?

 

   Knowledge is always unique. When our teachers entered classrooms, we saw the radiation of knowledge around them, because of their accomplishments in education. We also saw the radiation of purity because of their Gandian way of life. Based on my classroom experience, it is always true that the great teacher derives respect by his knowledge, his way of thinking and his way of life. If we have such teachers, then necessity of the cane may disappear. It is an ideal condition for both the good teachers and good students…sometimes caning may become inevitable by certain teachers.

For example, I have been caned for indiscipline in doing my work by my Mathematics teacher Shri Ramakrishnan. Since he caned me, it gave me an opportunity to correct myself in my studies and that enabled me to score 100/100 marks. So both are possible and needed to imbibe the value system and also make the student excel in studies.

Realising the goals of energy independence, self-sufficiency, economic stability and overall growth is a long term programme that needs more well qualified and employable youth joining the national work force, particularly Government. Given the brain drain and lucrative corporate world, how can we achieve this?

The nation is going through a difficult economic situation, there is a feeling of despair among the youth whether India will succeed? This is the time Parliament should sit for on an exclusive session and discuss action for reviving the economy without any walkout or protest.

The topic for discussion may be “What should be the vision for the nation at the critical situation to revive our economy?”  Hence it is not only teachers who have a role, but the parents and the Parliament and the legislatures also.

Is there still a dream that doesn't let you sleep? 

My dream is to see the smiles in the face of billion plus people of my nation. To realize this Parliament should have a constructive discussion for bringing out a “ Vision for the nation to evolve a Sustainable economy

 Instead of thinking what we can get from foreign countries to improve the nation’s economy, we must think and evolve proactive policies through the Parliamentary Vision and by doing away with the old polices which have not yielded the sustainable growth. 

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