Teachers’ Day is a national function, celebrated only in India. It is held on September 5th of every year which is also the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of Our former Presidents. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was an ideal teacher. It was decided to celebrate his birthday as Teachers’ Day to honour that noble profession.
The main idea is to draw the attention of the society towards this profession. No other profession, either medical or legal, have a day meant to celebrate and honour the best among them. It is a unique honour awarded to the teaching profession in our country.
On that day nearly a hundred teachers selected from primary, upper primary and secondary schools, oriental schools and colleges are invited by the President of India and honoured by giving a certificate of recognition along with some cash prize. The award given by the President is called the National Award for Teachers, which is a great honour to the humble teachers. Selection for these awards is made on the basis of many considerations-teachers’ personal character and conduct, his professional competence, his sociability, the results he produced, the contribution he made to the profession as a writer, and as a researcher in education., the popularity he enjoys in public, his efforts to eradicate illiteracy, public support he got to build infrastructure for his institution etc. The part he plays in extracurricular activities is also taken into account. So it is not easy to get a national award. Only ideal and worthy teachers can get it.
Besides National awards, State awards and awards by National Foundation for Teachers are also given. In some districts, district level awards are also given to encourage ideal teachers. Giving an award is a good incentive.
Of late the awards given by government have become mechanical. The original idea of involving the society at large, to recognise this noble profession is missing. Many functions are being arranged by teachers to honour their fellow teachers. The parents are not showing the expected interest. It was true that a teacher enjoyed a place of honour after the mother and father and was only next to them, in our ancient society.
Many changes have taken place. A teacher is no longer a selfless Guru. He is a paid employee, just like any other worker in an office or factory. With this social concept, it is difficult to expect society to honour the teachers. But even now there are teachers who are respected and loved for their selfless service, spotless character and unbiased love and affection they show to all their students. All such teachers may not get awards. The social respect they command is itself an award. As Dr. S. Radhakrishnan had himself said, teaching is its own reward. The satisfaction it gives the teacher is not comparable. A good teacher is always remembered by the student wherever he is.