The Teachers’ Day celebrations in the state started at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar Friday morning with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) anthem “manushya tu bada mahaan hai, bhool mat”.
The song that was sung by a group of students near the stage reverberated across the packed seminar hall on the first floor of the building.
Along with teachers to be awarded, ministers and bureaucrats, there were more than a hundred students from nearby government schools in Gandhinagar district occupying the last row, seated in a national flag formation with Tricolour caps.
The song was followed by an aarti with the song: “Jai shikshak guruji, jai shikshika mata…”, dedicated to teachers as “guru vandan”, especially written for the day by Secretary Youth, Sports and Cultural department — Bhagyesh Jha.
The function was presided over by Governor O P Kohli, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, while Education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, education ministers for state (higher and technical education) Vasuben Trivedi and Nanubhai Vanani (primary secondary and adult education) also in attendance. Also present on the stage were Additional Chief Secretary (Education) Arvind Agrawal and Director of Primary Education R C Raval.
After the distribution of awards to teachers, Governor Kohli, in his address, stressed on the importance of the RSS anthem. “The song sung in the beginning ‘manushya tu bada mahaan hai’ every individual realise his inner strength to clear every obstacle ahead,” he said.
“Radhakrishnan had once said that let Western thoughts come but not through a Western window or a Western jharokha, through an Indian window and Indian jharokha. It means that we should be open to Western thoughts and technology, but not forget our own values.”
Speaking about “national re-construction”, he referred former chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) Dr D S Kothari and the Kothari Education Commission report that was submitted in 1966. “Kothari, in his report, has said that education is an important part of national re-construction. Let us on this occasion remember Kothari’s words as every teacher in one way or other is involved in the national re-construction. While one of the important aspects of national re-construction is national development, another is preserving our cultural heritage. This is the task for the day,” he said.
On the present education standards, he expressed disappointment over the ranking of our universities. “The children gifted us the book Chanakyaniti today. It reminds me of universities of Nalanada and Takshila. Let us pledge, on this day, that we would strive to bring our education standards to a level that it was during the time Nalanda and Takshila universities existed,” he mentioned.
On value education, he stressed on the teachers’ duty to teach value education to children. “In Ramayana, Ram chose his father’s vachan (words) over the empire and went for 14-year exile. In the same way, we have to teach value-oriented education to children,” he said.
While Chief Minister Anandiben Patel stressed on the duties of a teacher. She suggested that all teachers who were awarded should adopt one nearby school and replicate all good practices they follow in their respective schools.
Further, she emphasised on the need to eradicate malnutrition among children, especially girls. “All women present here today must take this responsibility to ensure every child is taking proper nutrition, then there would not be a single death during delivery,” she said. She also spoke of the importance of cleanliness and toilets in each house.
The award-giving ceremony to teachers was followed by a question-and-answer round between the CM and students at Mahatma Mandir. The programme was shown live to students across the state except 10 districts under the Model Code of Conduct due to upcoming bypolls.