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Teachers Day 2019

Teacher’s Day 2019: India’s most renowned educators share their message

September 5, 2019
According to a survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2015, the literacy rate in rural India was 71 percent as against 86 percent in urban India. While the statistics have improved over the past decade, there’s still a long way to go. India is still not among the top 10 countries the world when it comes to education.
So what do the best education systems in the world have that our country lacks? Let’s look at Finland. With an education system ranked #1 globally in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018, Finland  has completely revolutionised the concept of education. The country’s pre-primary education doesn’t start until the age of 6 and if parents are interested in sending their children before, the government provides an expansive education system for them. Basic education starts once the child turns 7. According to the Finnish National Agency for Education, this has proved to lead to a balanced growth.
With nine years and 109 days each year of schooling, the education policymakers of Finland leave plenty of room for local school administrators and teachers to rework on the curriculum. They also give relatively fewer tests and homework.
Meanwhile, the Singapore education system ranks among the top three in the world. Their classes tend to be more focused on practical solving skills and gives equal importance to all subjects. Their students are 10 months ahead in English than any other country and are extremely proficient in mathematics and science. Unlike Finland, exams are held routinely to guarantee a higher quality of education. The country also launched a programme known as ‘Teach less, Learn more’ in order to ensure better quality of education and not quantity. Parents also sign up for extra classes for their children.
A better education system calls for good teachers. A teacher, who is knowledgeable and can make teaching fun and creative will instantly grab the attention of the class. On the occasion of Teacher’s Day 2019, let’s hear from some eminent Indian educators:
Shomie Das 
Shomie Das + Teacher's day 2019Shomie Das served as headmaster of three top-ranked boarding schools that includes Mayo College, Ajmer (1968-74), Lawrence School, Sanawar (1974-88), and The Doon School, Dehradun (1988-96). Besides, he was a consultant to 76 schools, education foundations and corporations in several countries around the world.

Challenges faced by a teacher: “The biggest challenge for a teacher is to be a teacher to all – every student in class and not just look at the best students. Look at the average students as well and give them additional attention. That’s the biggest challenge to see that all students get your time and you actually give them time according to their needs.

Another challenge would be resources of all kinds, which may not be available and as a teacher we have to think of innovative ways of doing things to show them certain concepts. ”

Message to other teachers on Teacher’s Day 2019: “Try and keep up with changes that are going to take place in the next ten years. The use of technology in education like using computers and robotics – I think that’s going to be a major challenge. They should embrace new things happening. 

Another thing they should do is spend time reading and not just their subject. Influence your general awareness about everything like reading fiction, articles on current affairs, autobiography, basically widening of the mind. Be aware of things happening.” 

Ashok Misra

Ashok Mishra + Teacher's day 2019Prof. Ashok Misra is currently serving as the Chairman of Intellectual Ventures India, Bangalore.  Prior to this, he was the Director of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), from 2000 to 2008. In 1977, he joined IIT Delhi as the Head of the Centre for Polymer Science & Engineering. He is also part of the Board of Directors of Reliance Industries Ltd. and Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd.

Challenges: “In present times, when it comes to higher education, the motivation level of the student is somewhat lower while at class. The students seem unmotivated and are going through routine work rather than getting involved. That is a bit of challenge for teachers because their aspirations and what they are learning may be different. The teachers have to make the classrooms exciting and informative as possible. In this way, the students will get more engaged and their attention span gets better.”

Message: “A very important part of our society at all levels whether it is secondary, higher education or Ph.D., teachers are the ones who are the givers of sharing of knowledge. They have to be very dedicated and sincere . Not only they share knowledge but along with students, they also develop new knowledge. They should be very knowledgeable in their field and impart the same to the best of their abilities.”

Shyama Chona

Shyama Chona + Teacher's day 2019Dr. Shayama Chona is the founder-president of Tamana Association, an NGO for multiply challenged and autistic individuals. She was also the former principal of Delhi Public School (DPS), RK Puram. Widely regarded as one of the most accomplished educationists in India, she is a Padma Shri (1999) and Padma Bhushan (2008) awardee. 

Challenges: “I’m all for the students and maybe we as teachers are challenge for them. So, the biggest challenge is to be a teacher herself. What we need in the classroom is that to give an opportunity to every student to question and also be ready to accept that some students may know more than you because today’s world is full of information.

I never really had any any challenge in my class because if you are teaching interestingly and you are answering the question of the students and you are giving them an opportunity to learn and bring their learnings to the class in a collaborative manner, I don’t think their is any challenge.

One challenge I can think of is absentism. There’s lots of senior students who are going to coaching classes after they are enrolled into professional courses. Yet, they prefer to learn at coaching centres and thus their attendance tends to be low.”

Message: “Make your classes child centric and not syllabus centric.”

Maya Menon

Maya Menon + Teacher's day 2019Maya Menon is the founder-director of The Teacher Foundation (TTF), an organisation focused on training teachers. A full time teacher since, she is an Accredited Teacher Trainer for Jenny Mosley Consultancies (UK) and an Accredited Master Trainer for the Cambridge International Diploma for Teachers and Trainers of the University of Cambridge International Examinations, UK.

Challenges: “Teachers in general face the twin challenge of inadequate personal & professional awareness and limited skills. Of course, there are always remarkable exceptions! The lack of awareness makes them think that one can get by with teaching in mediocre or outdated ways. They do themselves and their students a grave injustice by not constantly honing their craft, seeking professional expertise and help.

The limited skills prevents them from expanding their repertoire of teaching strategies and methods that add rigour, vigour and variety in the classroom. Teachers need to exercise professional autonomy and for that they need a clear sense of professional and personal identity.”

Message: “Make your life matter! Teach with a profound sense of power and purpose. No other job contributes to a nation’s wealth and well-being as much as teaching. Let no one convince you otherwise!”

Swati Popat Vats
Swati Popat Vats + Teacher's day 2019Dr. Swati Popat Vats is the founder-president of the Early Childhood Association and president of the Podar Education Network. She is also the director of Podar Jumbo kids and is the author of many books for children and parents.
Challenges: “I faced two challenges while teaching. The first problem being the number of children is too high in the class, so it becomes very difficult as a teacher to give one-on-one attention. I think there should be a good amount of adult-child ratios. The second challenge is always getting the respect both from the community and the parents because most people still feel teaching is not a very lucrative profession. Besides, struggling to get the resources and research materials.”
Message: “A good teacher is an important part of the change in society, and if we want society to change for the betterment of our children then we need good teachers, a good teacher can touch the lives of children and contribute to a better nation. A good teacher is proud to be a teacher and is in the profession because she wants to be teacher and not because she could not qualify for any other profession.”
Posted in National, News
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