Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu led the nation in greeting the teaching community on Teacher's Day today, which saw a number of states awarding their best teachers and announcing special measures for students' benefit.
Modi said teachers had a central role in realising the vision of a "New India" and paid tribute to former president Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on his birth anniversary today. The day is celebrated in his honour.
The prime minister, who is in China for the BRICS summit, in a message said the next five years should be about "teach to transform, educate to empower and learn to lead".
Breaking with tradition, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, instead of the president, gave away the national awards for teachers.
President Ram Nath Kovind later interacted with the 219 awardees at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
Constituted in 1958, the awards cover teachers working in primary, middle and secondary schools.
Naidu termed teachers as "unsung heroes" and "bharata bhagya vidhatas' (shapers of India's development)".
On the occasion, he also launched DIKSHA, a national digital infrastructure for teachers.
The Odisha government announced free uniforms for all the students in state-run schools.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik presented awards to 100 teachers for their "outstanding" contribution to the field of education.
"Teachers are the cornerstone of an empowered and enlightened society. On the occasion of Guru Divas, I thank them for their invaluable contribution towards nation building," he said.
His Bihar counterpart, Nitish Kumar, said his government would open a plus-2 school in every village to ensure that all the girls in the state are educated up to Class 12.
As part of its efforts to increase literacy among girls, their enrolment in Class 9 is now almost equal to that of boys in Bihar, he said.
He said educating girls is also a solution to control population.
On the occasion, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her government would focus on teaching English in schools.
"There were years when generation after generation were not allowed to learn English language. I want English to be taught (in schools)," Banerjee said in an apparent reference to the erstwhile Left Front government, which had stopped the teaching of English in state-run schools till Class VI in 1983.
Preference should be given to one's mother tongue or choice of language but students should also possess knowledge of the local dialect, she said at a Teachers' Day programme.
Students will learn Bengali as well as English. They may learn other languages if they want to. They can learn Gorkha, Nepali, Ol Chiki, Maithili or whatever they feel because language is one's prerogative. But because a student is staying in West Bengal, he/she must know the regional language, she said.
Nagaland also honoured 16 teachers with state-level awards, and declared a holiday for schools tomorrow.
"Teaching is a noble profession as teachers are the real source of knowledge and wisdom, and their sacrifice is silent but tremendous," Minister for School Education Tokhaho Yepthomi told a gathering of teachers and students in Kohima.
Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki asked the teaching fraternity to encourage students for imbibing positive thoughts and values along with education.
After conferring state awards on 29 teachers on the occasion of Teachers' Day at a function, he said: "A teacher is a nation-builder in the real sense of the term. He/she shapes the future of a child much the same way as a potter gives shape to the clay."
Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani asserted that establishment of smart schools, skill development and promotion of sports would be his focus in the next academic session.
"The government is focusing on the parameters for the development of education in the state and working in that direction," Devnani said, while addressing a gathering at an event where teachers were also felicitated.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)