Dear teachers, my greetings to all of you.
I am talking to you on the special occasion of Teachers’ Day. Every year on 5th September, we gratefully remember the well-known educationist and the first vice-president and the second president of India Dr. SarvepalliRadhakirishnan, whose dream was that “teachers should be the best minds in the country.
I am indeed honoured to stand before you as teacher, administrator and vice-chancellor of the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak.
Teachers’ day is marked by the birth date of great educationist Dr. SarvepalliRadhakirishnan, who was a great philosopher, statesman and also a recipient of Bharat Ratna.
As we all know, that this day is celebrated, where teachers and students report to schools, colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning and research as usual but the usual activities and classes are replaced by numerous activities of celebration,thanks and remembrance in varied forms.
In a country like India, teachers’ day is a special day for the appreciation of teachers. However, many include celebrations for their contribution in social engineering and restructuring,and, at times, honour teachers for their special contribution in a particular discipline and community thereby adding something new in the existing body of knowledge.
A teacher has to remain as a lifelong learner because the moment a teacher stops learning he becomes old no matter whether at the age of 20 or 80.
It’s hard to materialize the scope and aspirations of transforming the whole business of educational transactions. At the turn of the twenty first century, emphasis of professionalization of teacher has indeed been greater. A professional teacher is a well informed person and if he remains uninformed, he shall remain unprofessional.
A teacher is supposed to be trained in pedagogy, sensitive to the issues and more importantly professional in his/her pursuit to knowledge, skills and attitude.
Like any other profession, teaching profession also demands three things:
1) In-depth knowledge of the field or subject of study,
2) Expectation i.e. output.
I must also tell you that not having any expectations out of what we do as teachers is also highly unprofessional, and
3) Positive approach.
Now, it’s high time; all of us need to introspect whether we are professional enough as far as our approaches are concerned.
As academia, we are all responsible for adopting a robust approach in the pursuit of heightened learning experiences. In the context, one must not forget that the whole provision of higher education and research is not a preserve of the few.
And in order to reach the unreached, report of NKC i.e. National Knowledge Commission (2009) emphasizes that “wherever feasible, information and communication technology should be made more accessible to teachers, students and the administration”.
Report of the Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education, Government of India (2009) lays emphasis on “active and constant engagement with the young minds and hearts of the society also implies that the universities are to serve the society as a whole, and in order to achieve this, considerable investment in continuing education is essential”.
As institution of higher learning and research, let me also assure you that we are committed to what National Knowledge Commission (2007) pointedly emphasizes on reengineering the systematic processes to change the basic pattern of governance for simplicity, transparency, accountability, productivity and efficiency.
Ladies and gentlemen, teachers must become ambassador for technological change. And, I firmly believe that:
In order to be professionally competent, university teachers in the twenty first century will have to be comfortable with cross-disciplinary ideas and abstractions, going beyond the mastery of core subjects, good at both analysis and synthesis, suggestive and not judgmental, creative, constructive and innovative, self-disciplined, well-organized andready for instant learning like instant cash,now a days, and have the flexibility to adapt quickly to frequent changes in technology enabled pedagogical practices.
As reported, there have been many instances of teachers found missing even on the teachers’ day.
Resistance did not confine to east India. It was almost universal in all Adivasi areas. In north-east India, Khamtis broke out in open revolt in 1830s. In central India, the Gonds of Satpuras took to arms under the leadership of an adopted leader, Appa Sahib,in 1818, and in the west, the Bhils of Gujarat rose in 1846 under the leadership of Kunwar Jive Vasao.
Since the Adivasiswere the first to rise against the British rule, let us not shy away to acknowledge them as the first freedom fighters of the country.We should also not hesitate to call the early Adivasi revolts as the first ‘Mutiny’ or the first ‘War of Independence.’I may mention here that even the legendary Adivasi freedom fighter, Birsa Munda, was denied a place in history for a long time. Only the celebrated biographical work on him by K. Suresh Singh, Dust-storm and Hanging Mist, published in 1968, and, a novel by late Mahasweta Devi based on this book, forced the nation to get him the due recognition.
I can proudly say that we are lucky enough to be associated with the only tribal university in the country or perhaps the world which provides all of us new avenues of learning, teaching, and evaluation and more importantly research that too in an inclusive environment.
Friends, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University is a place where new experimentation has to be carried out in order to realize its mandate and address the needs, expectations and aspirations of the Adivasis, Dalits and other marginalized sections of the society.
Finally, I would like to salute all those responsible teachers who have been continuously instrumental in shaping and mentoring hundreds and thousands of students and researchers in the desirable direction and remind the students’ fraternity to actively participate in the emerging knowledge society.