VARANASI -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched a mission to produce good teachers in large numbers and asserted that the whole world was looking at India with great expectations. But he said India wasn't ready yet.
He advocated introduction of a five-year training course after schooling for those aspiring to pursue a career in teaching and said the country should aim to export top-class teachers across the world.
On a visit to his constituency, Modi said an environment needs to be created for producing teachers who are rooted in the country's culture and tradition and can be exported in lakhs as there is a large demand globally.
"The 21st century is the century of knowledge and India has the responsibility to make its contribution. It is the demand of time," he said while addressing a function at Banaras Hindu University here as part of 'Good Governance Day' celebrations.
"My experience of six months as Prime Minister says that the whole world is looking at India with expectations. But we are not ready. The world is ready but we are not ready," he said.
Launching a mission in the name of BHU founder and Bharat Ratna awardee Madan Mohan Malaviya for teachers' training, Modi said an environment needs to be created where children aspire to become teachers after 10th or 12th and can be trained in this area.
"There is a dearth of good teachers. Even if you ask rich people who have crores of rupees, what they want, they will say they need good teachers. Even a driver says he needs good teachers," he said.
Observing that "good education does not fall in the realm of infrastructure," Modi said "Can't there be a scenario where children decide early to become teachers? We should create an environment where children can decide to become teachers after 10th or 12th.
For creating that environment, he said there can be teachers training course after 10th or 12th where an aspirant knows what he is going to become. The training can include child psychology, tradition, counselling of children. It can all happen through training. Modi said the whole world has the requirement of good teachers and if India can produce good educators, "we can export teachers in lakhs."
"There is a great demand. We need to produce teachers," he said while announcing the launch of the mission in the name of Madan Mohan Malaviya.
The Prime Minister noted that there is a big requirement for science, technology, innovation and invention where India can play a crucial role.
He said teaching is chosen as a profession largely by those who have not been able to get into other fields and this perception needs to be changed.
About the education system in the country, he said it is "not designed to create robots". We produce culture of education rooted in tradition... We have to see how to enrich it." .
Modi, who also launched Varanasi Mahotsava in this culturally-rich city, talked about the rich heritage of handicrafts and suggested that it could be given a fillip by involving technology.
It will help improve both quality and quantity, he said and suggested provision of online sales.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the tourism potential of Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, and suggested that schools here should have cultural programmes to attract tourists.
"Each school in Banaras should have mastery on one cultural subject, one may adopt Tulsidas, some other may adopt Kabir and so on... The school can then have one-hour programme each evening on them so that tourists can visit them. When it becomes popular, they can have tickets, earning money for the schools," he said.
While talking about Varanasi's cultural tradition, he referred to Yoga and the recent decision of the UN to declare June 21 as International Yoga Day.
He noted that he had made this suggestion while addressing the UN General Assembly in September this year for the first time and the resolution was adopted within 100 days.
"Usually, adoption of such resolutions takes a year or a year-and-a-half? But the Yoga resolution was adopted quickly.
I feel proud that 177 countries became co-sponsors of the resolution, which is a world record," he said.
Modi also referred to his cleanliness drive and said it had economic benefits for the poor. "On an average, a poor person spends Rs 7000 annually for treating ailments caused by bad hygiene. He can save this money when there is cleanliness all around."