Teachers have been revered and honored in Indian culture for centuries. In the past, the teacher student - relationship in India was almost divine and if a person wished to become a sishya or student of a guru or teacher, he/she had to reside with the teacher, serve the teacher, engage in domestic activities and also acquire knowledge. Even kings and royalty was expected to adhere to these norms to gain understanding.
The British rule in India brought forth a series of changes in the Indian education system with the introduction of new languages, subjects and an altogether different mode of imparting knowledge. In spite of these modifications, Indians have continued to hold teachers with highest regard.
It was the second President of independent India, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who elevated the Indian devotion to teachers to a new level. During his tenure as President, he was once approached by well wishers who desired to celebrate his birthday. However Dr. Radhakrishnan benevolently declared that he would rather have his birthday observed as Tecaherís Day. Since then 5th September of each year has been celebrated as Teacherís Day throughout India.
All educational institutions honor teachers on September 5th in various ways. In some cases, senior students give teachers a day of rest by taking charge of classes. Some schools have felicitation ceremonies and honor the commitment of exceptional teachers. Students also organize cultural events and recognize the efforts of teachers by giving gifts, cards and flowers. Articles on teachers and their achievements feature in print and web media as well.
In addition to these efforts, the Government of India has instituted the National Award to teachers, to be distributed on 5th September every year. Teachers selected for this Best Teacher Award receive a medal, certificate and 25,000 INR as award money. Teachers with disability and teachers doing outstanding work for inclusion education are also recognized by this National Award.
Several private organizations and institutions have also come up with such awards to recognize the relentless contribution of teachers towards building the future leaders of the country.
Thousands of teachers are employed in Indian educational institutions. However, not every teacher may qualify for the teacherís day awards. But the biggest reward any teacher could get is the recognition of students and Teacherís Day is certainly that time of every year when pupils, both past and present honor teachers and let them know that their hard work and commitment is valued.
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