Education for Sustainable Development: Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, February 09, 2016: Dr Bruce Alberts, one of world’s leading biological scientists and former President of the US National Academy of Sciences, has emphasised the urgency of empowering great teachers’ in order to improve the quality of education. I quote from his editorial in Science (15 Jan 2016) “Unless the United States can make dramatic advances in empowering its teachers, the nation will never have public school systems that make the best decisions for their students. Nor will it be able to attract and retain the highly talented teacher corps that every nation needs”.
Gurdev Tagore also said in Gitanjali, “A candle which is not lit, cannot light others; a teacher who is also not learning, cannot teach others”, thus emphasising the need for opportunities for lifelong learning. The UN Sustainable Development Goals need the attention of our teachers. Our education system therefore should give the highest priority to promoting great teachers and to attending to the special needs of first generation learners. I hope that in the years’ Union as well as State Budgets, there will be adequate provision for teacher training and empowerment. This will be the best investment for a sustainable future. This is what an old Chinese Proverb stresses, “If you are thinking one year ahead, plant rice; if you are thinking ten years ahead, plant trees; if you are thinking a hundred years ahead, educate the people”.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.