The Vice President highlighted the need to upgrade the skills of teachers in e-learning.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that while central and state governments are taking measures to promote digital learning, it is important to ensure that there is no digital divide. To ensure this, the Vice President called for increased access to the internet, especially in rural areas and remote places, and to ‘keep inclusivity at the heart of the educational experience’. “The mantra should be: embrace, engage, enlighten, and empower,” he said.
While inaugurating the Sports Centre at the National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training & Research (NITTTR) in Chennai, Mr Venkaiah Naidu expressed concerns about the impact of the pandemic on education, and said that school closures affected girls, children from disadvantaged backgrounds, those living in rural areas, children with disabilities, and children from ethnic minorities more than their peers.
He also highlighted the need to upgrade the skills of teachers in e-learning. Emphasising the importance of quality teacher training in India, Mr Naidu said that ‘teachers constitute the intellectual lifeline of a nation and play a critical role in charting its development’.
The Vice President also inaugurated the NITTTR Open Educational Resource (OER). Calling it an important step in improving inclusivity through distance education, he observed that it would help the teachers improve their knowledge base and teaching methodology.
He further stressed the need to create teachers who are ‘learners and creators of knowledge‘ — teachers who touch lives and seek to uplift the human condition. “We need inspirational, transformational leaders in our classrooms, especially in rural India,” he added.
Speaking about India’s demographic dividend, the Vice President said that teachers have a greater responsibility in moulding India’s huge youth population into responsible citizens.
“Education does not mean just degrees,” he said adding that the true purpose of education is enlightenment, empowerment, and wisdom. Mr M Venkaiah Naidu also called upon the institutes to focus on developing a constrictive and positive attitude among the students.
The Vice President lauded the role of teachers as ‘COVID warriors‘ and said they were doing their best to ensure the academic continuity of their students during the pandemic. He noted that the teaching community explored technology and showed “remarkable flexibility in reinventing their strategies and methodologies to support the learning of students.”
Referring to the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 as a visionary document, the Vice President said that it seeks to transform the education ecosystem in our country and underlines the importance of energising and motivating young faculty members.
He urged teachers to adopt innovative strategies to address important national and global challenges and opportunities in an intellectually vibrant and collaborative environment.
Stressing the need for de-colonisation of India’s education system, he called for taking inspiration from India’s ancient knowledge systems and great sages who had made our country a “Vishwa Guru” – a knowledge giver.
Calling for regaining that position, he underscored the need to make society free from the divisions based on the cast, religion, region and language.
Emphasizing the need to promote and preserve Indian languages, Mr Naidu appreciated AICTE for starting technical courses in Indian languages. Reiterating that no languages should be imposed or opposed, he opined that one must learn as many languages as possible, but primacy should be given to mother tongue.
Advising teachers to impart “experiential learning” to students, he observed that such a learning methodology helps in promoting creativity and innovative outcomes. He called for taking teaching from a one-way mode of communication to a two-way mode where activities need to be connected from content to context.