New Delhi: Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister, Kapil Sibal today called upon teachers to upgrade their teaching skills. He said that the dedication, motivation and commitment of teachers, nurtures the young, who are the future of the country.

Sibal was addressing the felicitation ceremony of teachers selected for the ‘National Awards for Teachers-2008’.

The HRD Minister saluted all teachers on the occasion. Congratulating the awardees, he said that he has the highest personal regard for them, adding that each of them is a true leader and a role model.

Sibal also underlined the need for rapid change in the education system. He said that the government’s commitment towards this end can be recognized from the fact that the 11th five year Plan sees a near 5-fold increase in the outlays for education, over the previous plan.

Vice President, Hamid Ansari felicitated the teachers at the ceremony. While speaking at the awards ceremony, he said that the teachers’ life-long service has been recognized today.

The Vice-President gave the awards to over 300 teachers which include Primary and Secondary School Teachers nominated by various State Governments, teachers nominated by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), Central Tibetan School Administration (CTSA), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Novodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) and Sainik Schools.

Ansari said that the Right to Education Act passed by the Parliament last month is a historic step and probably more empowering, in terms of its impact, than the Right to Vote. But, he underlined that the time has now also come to assess whether formal enrolment has been translated into meaningful educational outcomes.

Ansari also pointed out that today we have a situation in which teachers are politically empowered and professionally disempowered which is a disservice to the cause of education.

“The need of the hour is to painstakingly rebuild the professional identity of our teachers, nurture their skills and professional competence through continuing education. The society on its part needs to recognize their work and reward them appropriately”, he added.