A teacher plays a vital role in shaping the destiny of not only a young student but also that of a society and that of a nation. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India in his book, Inspiring Thoughts, says, “A teacher has a great mission to ignite the minds of the young. Not only does the teacher provide knowledge, but the teacher also shapes the student’s life with great dreams and aims“.
Let me share some economic and demographic indicators about our country, India, to bring out as to how important the role of a teacher is:
The economy of India is growing rapidly and is currently, the eleventh largest in the world by nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which stands at US $ 1676.143 billions. Sustaining and improving upon this economic growth would demand availability of suitable human resources.
As per GDP by sector, services sector has the distinction of having the highest share of 55.6% of GDP followed by industry and agriculture having 26.3% and 18.1% respectively. India is moving from an agrarian economy to services and manufacturing economy. Many people presently engaged in agricultural activities are likely to shift to the other lucrative sectors and would need to be re-skilled.
- As per Census 2011, India, with 1,210,193,422 (1.21 billion) people, is the second most populous country in the world. It is about 17.5% of the world’s population, which means one out of six people on this planet lives in India.
- With the population growth rate at 1.58%, India, by 2030, is expected to be the most populous country in the world with population of 1.53 billion people. The increase in the population density, will put immense pressure on the natural resources and infrastructural facilities, thereby affecting the quality of life.
- More than 50% of India’s current population is below the age of 25 years and over 60% below the age of 35 years, which means every second Indian is a youth bubbling with energy which needs to be timely channelized in the right direction.
- The effective literacy rate is on the rise and currently stands at 74% of the total population aged seven years and above. The balance 26% are illiterates. In absolute terms, this equals 0.27 billion, the largest illiterate population in the world.
- The number of female literates is on the rise as compared to the male literates. The gap in literacy rate among males and females is narrowing down. This trend is likely to have far-reaching consequences on the development of the society.
Population is one of the constituents of national power. India can truly become a powerful nation if youth are prepared timely and empowered rightly. We need to develop our youth so that the demographic dividend can be realized. It is certainly a colossal task and needs to be undertaken urgently to develop the human resources.
Thus, the key challenge before India today is to develop her human capital. Government of India is making endeavours to provide knowledge and skills to our youth and illiterate through several initiatives like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), vocational training and literacy programmes to address this situation in the right earnest. But, eventually, it is the teachers who have to accept this challenge and shoulder the responsibility of educating our young minds. The quality of education imparted to our students will decide the quality of our human capital, which in turn will determine the quality of life that we lead and the course our nation would eventually traverse.
We, the teachers, need to act with responsibility, wisdom and alacrity, to ensure that we not only ignite and shape the young minds of our students with value-based education, but also take our society and nation to greater heights of success.
To sum up this post, I quote the words of ‘Dr. Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan‘:
” Education is not only imparting information and training of skills. It has to give the educated a proper sense of values.”
Lastly; this blog post is dedicated to scholar, statesman, philosopher, Bharat Ratna, Dr. Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, our former President (1962-67) and Vice President (1952-62) of India, whose birthday is celebrated as the Teachers’ Day on 05 September.