India needs more dedicated teachers: President

New Delhi : India needs more competent and dedicated teachers, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Teachers’ Day Friday, adding that students need to be taught values like tolerance, integrity and secularism.

“India today needs many more competent and willing teachers to dedicate themselves to improving the standard and quality of education. Teachers have a vital role to play in upgrading the quality of education,” the president said after giving away the National Awards for teachers here.

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“The world today faces challenges of violence, terrorism, intolerance and environmental degradation. The values of truth, tolerance, integrity, secularism and inclusiveness need to be imparted to our children to make the world a safer and better place to live in,” he said.

Teachers should use information and communication technology and keep pace with rapidly changing technologies, he stressed.

“It is vital for teachers to be comfortable in using ICT and to ensure that students get full benefit of ICT and emerge as citizens knowledgeable in the use of the information technology with the aim of pursuing higher education or entering the job market with relevant IT skills,” the president said.

Mukherjee said India is now investing substantially in the education system. He highlighted the fact that the budget this year has allocated almost Rs.29,000 crore for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for primary education and approximately another Rs.5,000 crore for the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan for secondary education.

He added that while teachers have been working under “diverse contexts and conditions”, there is improvement now.

“We are aware that our teachers are working under diverse contexts and conditions. We also know that the working conditions of teachers in many places are sub-optimal. However, over time there have been substantial improvements in salary scales and in the construction of proper school buildings with toilets and drinking water,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said the central government would soon launch an online library to make study material available to all.

“Use of ICT (information and communication technology) in education has great potential in the education sector,” she said.

“We shall soon launch a national e-library which will make material available to every one,” she said.

The National Electronic Library (NEL) is a digitised library which will be device independent. It will be accessible by every citizen of the country.