India’s 10 most inspiring teachers. Our children surely need more of them!
The impact teachers have in our lives can never be measured. They reveal the reality of this world and prepare us to fight the harsh battles of life. This famous Sanskrit sloka pretty much sums up the importance of teachers in our lives.
Unfortunately, in a country like India where every child has the right to free and compulsory elementary education, not all of them have the privilege of attending schools and acquiring the much sought after assistance from a ‘guru’.
However, not all hope is lost. Despite numerous challenges, there are a few people in India who’ve dedicated their lives towards nurturing the future generation.
On Teachers’ Day, we take a look at 10 such mentors who are spreading the light of knowledge in some of the darkest corners of our country.
1. Aditya Kumar: The cycle guru
A science graduate, Aditya Kumar has devoted his life to teaching the slum kids of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. What makes his story really special is that Kumar cycles everyday for over 60 kms to bring education to probably one of India’s most underprivileged children. Kumar, who gives impromptu lessons, provides this facility for free. His mobile school has been around for two decades now and does not follow any fixed pattern or curriculum.
2. Rajesh Kumar Sharma: The flyover school
Mr. Sharma, who runs a general store in New Delhi, teaches at least 30 slum children under a metro bridge in the city for two hours a day. This teacher has been providing free education for over three years now and despite the lack of facilities in his flyover school, Mr. Sharma does his best to impart knowledge to these underprivileged kids.
3. Khurshid: Transforming young lives
A volunteer teacher for Pratham, Khurhid decided to teach the children of his village, Ranipur, West Bengal, after unsuccessful attempts to find work for himself. He takes classes in a verandah behind some of the houses of his village where students rejoice taking turns to read from their books. Today, Kurshid is a role model for the children of Ranipur and they too want to attend college and become tech-savy like him.
4. Anand Kumar, Super 30 programme: Churning IITians
Best known for his Super 30 programme, mathematician Anand Kumar is today a globally recognized face. For the last 14 years, Kumar has been tutoring underprivileged children for the IIT-JEE entrance exams free of cost in Patna, Bihar. Kumar was also recently honoured by the Legislature of British Columbia in Canada at Toronto University for his contribution in the field of education.
5. Babar Ali: World’s youngest headmaster
At 16, Babar Ali is the world’s youngest headmaster and runs a school for poor kids in his village Murshidabad, West Bengal. What makes Babar’s story remarkable is his desire not only to teach, but to continue educating himself amid acute poverty. He just completed his Class XII studies from Cossimbazar Raj Govinda Sundari Vidyapeeth.
6. Gagan Deep Singh: The right vision
A special needs teacher in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, Gagan Deep Singh is transforming lives of several visually impaired children. Apart from developing a programme unique for every child, Gagan also focuses on counselling the families to ensure they provide full support to their child. Gagan, who’s received training at the National Institute of the Visually Handicapped, also supports these kids with learning equipment like the Braillers.
7. Sugata Mitra: Bringing school to children
Winner of the 2013 Ted Prize, Sugata Mitra’s ‘School in the Cloud’ focuses on children teaching one another. An educational researcher by profession, Sugata believes that children have the power to teach themselves in the absence of formal supervision. He says, “The acquisition of basic computing skills by any set of children can be achieved through incidental learning provided the learners are given access to a suitable computing facility, with entertaining and motivating content and some minimal (human) guidance.” (Read about Sugata’s Hole in the Wall experiment).
8. Fr Julian: Solar-powered school on wheels
Aiming to educate every single child about computers in the district of Chitradurga, Karnataka, Fr Julian of Don Bosco Institution holds classes in a one-of-a-kind bus! Popularly known as ‘classes on wheels’, the bus has been refurbished with desks and chairs. It also has 10 laptops installed that get charged through solar panels. This unique bus, which provides free training in batches of 20, started its journey in January 2012 and has so far educated over 2,000 government school children.
9. Uttam Teron: Investing where it counts
Responsible for educating children of his village Pamohi and 10 other neighbouring villages near Guwahati, Assam, Uttam Teron continues to live his dream of 100 per cent literacy in the state. Uttam, who started his journey in 2003 with Parijat Academy, strongly believes that education is a child’s birthright and no child – rich or poor – should be devoid of elementary education.
10. Sudhanshu Biswas: Educating young minds for 40 years
Serving the nation remains 95-year-old freedom fighter Sudhanshu Biswas’ aim till date. In the last 4 decades, Sudhanshu has set up close to 20 free schools in the remote villages of Sunderban and its nearby areas. With his organisation Sri Ramakrisha Sevashram (SRKS), Sudhanshu has transformed the lives of thousands of orphans and continues to fight a battle to eradicate illiteracy.
These teachers and many such silent educators are using the power of education for a better future. India’s children surely needs more of them!
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