Education should become a force for nation's character building: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for education to be made a force for national character building and to restore the respect for teachers in the society in order to help mould the new generation.

Prime Minister Narendra ModiIn a unique interaction with students from across the country on Teachers' Day, the prime minister said the relevance of Teachers' Day on the birthday of former President Dr Radhakrishnan needs to be reinterpreted in a changed world. He said it is essential to highlight the importance of a teacher in society, and restore respect for the teacher in our society. Only then can the teacher mould our new generation, he said.

The prime minister said there was a huge demand for good teachers worldwide, yet India attaches less importance to teaching as a profession. ''Can India not dream of exporting good teachers to the world,'' the prime minister asked.

Highlighting the need for educating the girl child, the Prime Minister said it is essential to reduce drop-out rate among girls in order to ensure this. In this context, he referred to his Independence Day address in which he had spoken of building separate toilets for girls in every school within a year.

The prime minister was responding to a question by a girl student from Dantewada, Chhattisgarh about the initiatives for education of the girl child.

The prime minister referred to his recent visit to Japan, and how he was impressed by their education system. He said in Japan, the teachers and students together keep the school clean - this is part of their character building. Can we not make it a part of our national character building, the prime minister asked. The prime minister also mentioned the emphasis on discipline, technology and scientific temperament, in Japan's education system.

In response to a question on whether he would launch a programme on the lines of "Vaanche Gujarat" (Read Gujarat) at the national level, the prime minister referred to the Digital India mission, and said he hoped everyone would be able to get connectivity and access to knowledge that they needed.

In response to another question, the prime minister highlighted the importance of skill development.

He also suggested that eminent citizens should try to teach at least one period a week in a nearby school.

He said children could also contribute to nation-building by doing simple things such as striving for cleanliness, and helping to conserve electricity and water.

He urged students to be active and play hard even as they study hard. He said students must enjoy, and not let the child in them die.