Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam – this adage is said to be one of the greatest truths of the world. Teachers are the guiding force for students, who chisel them into fine individuals and valuable members of the society, thus, shaping an entire generation.
The pandemic seems to have reshaped education and the mechanism of imparting lessons to students. While educators and students have taken to remote learning and technology in an unparalleled manner to meet the need of the hour, the teaching fraternity has gone out its way to ensure that they remain connected with their students in the best way possible. Needless to say, it’s time the teaching fraternity is rewarded for their work.
The ‘Teacher’s Excellence Award’ by The Times of India and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is one such step in the direction. The aim is to recognize and honor the distinctive contributions of some of the state’s best teachers. The winners will be remembered as knowledge fighters. The announcement for the award was made on the occasion of Teacher’s Day (September 5).
Elaborating on the awards, Maheshwara Chaitanya, Chairman, Admissions at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, tells us, “The concept was envisaged last year; but we were unable to launch it because of the pandemic. The teaching community was drastically affected during the period. They struggled with a number of factors- lack of resources, finance, they were unable to conduct classes and couldn’t meet students in person. Despite all these deterrents, they strived to deliver their best within the given circumstances and constraints. We need to recognize teachers, understand the hardships they go through, and make sure the finest are honoured. Let this award be an inspiration for everyone and become the platform to get their achievements highlighted. Teachers need to grow, only then the education sector will evolve in future.”
The Minister for School Education, Govt of Tamil Nadu, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, shared some fond memories of his teachers in a special address on the occasion. He recalled, “Though my father and grandfather were politicians, my teachers never gave me any special treatment. I really admired that. Whatever I am today, I learn in my classroom and from my teachers. I also learned a lot from Kalaignar M Karunanidhi ayya. The one thing I really admire about him is that he was always on time – be it waking up in the wee hours of morning for his workout or catching up on the news for the day. He took criticism in his stride, responded to questions in a courteous manner, wrote for Murasoli, penned his poems, underwent thorough preparations for meetings and chalked out plans for the state – he is a university in himself.”
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The schools in the state recently threw open their gates for students after a long hiatus. When quizzed about the preparations post-pandemic, the minister says, “The first question that we are asking teachers is if they are vaccinated. I inspected a number of schools and 95 to 98 per cent of the teachers have got their vaccine shots. In government schools, we have advised teachers not to plunge into the syllabus directly but break the ice with a refresher course to bridge the gap. Students, who have been cooped up at home, are excited to meet their friends after a long time.”
The minister also had a word of appreciation for the Teachers Excellence Award, “Hats off to TOI and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham for envisaging the Teachers Excellence award. It will definitely bring about a change. Teachers are a crucial part of our lives. We never prefix the term ‘former’ to teachers and martyrs. Once a teacher, you are always a teacher,” he stated.
So, who can apply for the award? Teachers who are full-time teaching faculty in any affiliated educational institution in Tamil Nadu as on August 31, 2021 can apply for the award. They should have a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience as on August 31, 2021. Teachers should highlight their journey and the innovation initiated by them in the last one year ie, July 01, 2019, to August 31, 2021. inspectors of education, the staff of training Institutes and contractual teachers are not eligible for the awards.
The awards are primarily divided into three categories – years of experience (5-15 years, 15-25 years and above 25 years), grade (10 and 11 & 12) and subjects (English, regional language, mathematics, science and social studies) for Grade 10 teachers and mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science for Grade 11 and 12 teachers).
To know more, log onto www.amrita.edu/tea2021 or call us at +91 73388 37283