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Posted at: Jun 15, 2015, 12:56 AM; last updated: Jun 15, 2015, 12:39 AM (IST)

Prez took notes as we spoke: Varsity teachers

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 14

For Bilal Ahmad Ganai, a professor of political thought at the Central University of Kashmir, a date with the President was unthinkable few years ago. But on June 6 when President Pranab Mukherjee personally greeted him and 30 others at Rashtrapati Bhavan where they arrived for a week’s programme, Bilal was touched by the thought of the head of state extending such a personalised welcome to teachers.

“More than anything else, this programme was about according dignity to teachers, listening to what they have to say and inspiring them to go out there and spread the message that teaching is beautiful. In a place like Kashmir, teachers, with rationality of thought and objectivity of opinion, can make a world of difference to thought processes,” Ganai said today at the culmination of the In House Programme for Inspired Teachers the President had announced in February in his bid to inculcate a sense of pride in teaching.

Interactions with 31 participants today revealed interesting bits about how the President, in his capacity as visitor to 114 Central institutions, was celebrating teachers. For one, he surprised all his guests by taking notes as they spoke to him about the need to improve the quality of teachers and inspire students to take up teaching as a profession.

“He took notes every time we spoke to him. He surprised us. At one point he filled three pages in 30 minutes. It was like speaking to someone who cared about what we had to say. I raised the need to treat 44 Central universities as institutes of national importance on a par with IITs and IISeRs. The President registered my point. For the first time I got a sense that my voice mattered in education policy,” Dr Felix Bast, Professor at Central University of Bathinda said.

All teachers lauded the fact that this first of its kind programme had served to de-colonise the iconic Rashtrapati Bhavan and presents to them its democratic side.

“We met the President, senior officers of Rashtrapati Bhavan, HRD Minister, Vice Chairman of NITI Ayog, and everyone who mattered in education. This was the first occasion when I had a chance to interact with policy makers.

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