President Ram Nath Kovind today asked teachers not to commercialise education, noting that there would be no difference between them and traders if they indulge in such activities. Teachers fraternity must impart education not to make their students doctors or engineers, but to groom them to become a good human being first, he said. “If they are made good human being and become teacher, they will be good teacher. If they become officer, they will be good officer…if they become politician, they will be good politician,” he said. The president was addressing the 319 recipients of ‘National Awards to Meritorious Teachers’ in Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of Teachers’ Day. Kovind said that education was never sold or commercialise in the Indian tradition and was considered as ‘vidya daan’ (selfless act of imparting knowledge). “Those who do charity or donate are in the highest echelon of the society. Only those who have something with them can donate…If we convert this (donation) into coaching and tuitions, then I feel there would not be any difference between a businessman and a teacher. “Those who indulge in such activities, they are even at lower category than traders in the society,” he said.
There has been a fall in the standard of education because some of the teachers are “deviating from their responsibility”, he noted. “You have reached here because of your teachers and society. We have to give back to the society,” he said, adding teacher are the “nation builders” and are seen “equivalent to God” in Indian culture. The president said that India is a land of diversity and children in schools come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. “Teachers need to take care of this. They should make an effort to understand a child’s family background and minimise disparity among the students in a class,” he said.
Kovind said S Radhakrishnan, A P J Abdul Kalam and Pranab Mukherjee became the president but were “cherished as teachers”, and asked the teaching fraternity to embrace the importance of their profession. He also asked teachers to never stop learning and reminded them what Radhakrishnan had once observed: “When we think we know, we cease to learn.” Teachers build the next generation and it is for them to bring the best out of the children, he said, adding that they can be role models for their students with their actions and deeds.
Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh were also present at the event. Javadekar said it is a strength of Indian democracy that President Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who are from ordinary families, have reached to such positions. There is need for the teachers to teach students about this strength of democracy, he added. Singh said teachers should be respected at every moment and not just on a few occasions like Teachers’ Day.