Some students and friends approached Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in 1962, the then President of the country and a former academician having stints with University of Calcutta, University of Oxford and Banaras Hindu University, requesting him to allow them to celebrate his birthday falling on September 5. Dr. Radhakrishnan instead opinionated to observe his birthday as the Teachers’ Day, in respect of the contribution of the teaching fraternity and since then we observe 5th September every year as the Teachers’ Day.
Dr. Radhakrishnan believed ‘teachers should be the best minds in the country’.
That was in 1962.
Figures like Dr. Radhakrishnan do inspire even today but what about the teachers of the day?
Do they still inspire? Do they come from among the best minds in the country? Are they motivated enough to build the character of the students?
In a report released on September 3, India fell by 11 places to 71 on Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) released by the World Economic Forum. GCI is an annual report that measures performance in 12 categories including macroeconomic policies, infrastructure, health and primary education and higher education.
India’s rank in ‘heath and primary education’ category is 98 while it is ranked 93 in ‘higher education and training’, but below its overall ranking of 71 that tells us the poor show and neglect of these sectors in the country.
What is behind this sluggish performance? Certainly not ‘the best of the minds and the motivated teaching professionals’!
What ails the teachers in the Indian education system, especially the elementary education that builds the character of the students to prepare them to take the higher challenges?
At elementary and college level, it is not attracting the best of the minds. Let’s see some of the parameters to see the ground reality: