NEW DELHI: Underlining that there was a need to give dignity and recognition to quality teachers, President Pranab Mukherjee has said that the big challenge country faces today is the quality of teaching and learning in our higher academic institutions.
"Without upgrading the skill and knowledge quotient of a vast majority of the teachers, it would not be possible to improve standards of education in our country. India today needs many more competent teachers willing to dedicate themselves to improving the quality of education," he said.
Meeting 31 teachers from Central Universities across the country who are participating in an 'In-Residence' programme of Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday, Mukherjee said an inspired teacher links the individual goals of the students to the societal and national goals.
He stated that with that purpose, he found strong support from the Greek writer and philosopher, Nikos Kazantzakis who had said 'True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own'.
The President said it was essential that such inspired teachers be recognized so that they have motivation and drive.
He said the one week 'In Residence' programme at Rashtrapati Bhavan was part of that endeavour.
"Inclusion of members of the academic fraternity as accompanying delegates to foreign countries has also had a beneficial impact," he said.
The President said that despite the proliferation of institutions for higher education seen in recent years, it is the quality of education imparted that poses serious concern.
"If we look into our past, we were leaders of higher education and could find seats of higher learning such as Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri which dominated the world for a long period of time. However today, we lose meritorious Indian students who go abroad to pursue higher studies," he said.
Mukherjee also noted that Indian Nobel laureates such as Har Gobind Khorana, Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar and Amartya Sen did their graduate or post-graduate studies in Indian universities but went abroad for higher learning.