The Right to Education is the fundamental right of every Indian citizen. Access to quality and affordable education opportunities plays a significant role in shaping a country’s future. This is what National Education Day 2022 also aims at - to work towards promoting innovation, reducing socioeconomic inequalities, and strengthening educational institutions.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad understood this, knew the importance of education for society, and worked towards bringing such progressive thoughts to action. This is why his birthday is dedicated each year to reflecting upon India’s education system, as November 11 National Education Day 2022.
Schools and higher educational institutes annually observe National Education Day with full enthusiasm by organising informative seminars, essay-writing competitions, debates, rallies, etc. Students, teachers, the government, and every citizen comes together to advocate and raise awareness about the importance of education and literacy.
On September 11, 2008, the Ministry of Human Resource Development announced to honour the great freedom fighter, scholar and India’s first Education Minister, Bharat Ratna, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, on his birth anniversary every year in the form of National Education Day.
But you must be wondering why Maulana Azad. Well, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad served as independent India’s first education minister, who’s also credited with playing a significant role in laying the foundation of India’s education system. He strongly advocated for girls’ education and free and compulsory education for children under the age of 14.
And, what’s better than dedicating the day to recognise the leader’s efforts and visions, right?
Each year, The Ministry of Human Resource Development changes the theme for National Education Day to compete with the changing global trends and to focus on the changing educational requirements.
This year, the National Education Day 2022 theme is “Changing Course, Transforming Education.” The theme is set this year to highlight the urgent need to reform the Indian education system as per the current requirements. This year, National Education Day aims to focus on reforms in education by making it more student-centric, inclusive, and innovative, improving quality, and promoting equitable education. The theme also emphasises on making the Indian education system more adaptable to the changing global trends.
By dedicating a day to India’s education sector, the government aims to improve living standards, including income and health, by ensuring educational opportunities. National Education Day 2022 helps highlight the shortcomings and unsolved challenges in the National Education Policy. It helps focus on the educational reforms in terms of improvised curriculum, teacher education and development to ensure a child-friendly environment, which may otherwise go ignored.
The day allows government and people to check the progress of Sustainable development Goal-4 (SDG 4), which mandates inclusive and equitable quality education for all children and equal access to affordable vocational training to eliminate gender and wealth discrimination.
By talking exclusively about India’s education system on National Education Day 2022, unsolved challenges get highlighted, such as the increasing dropout rate of girlchild from schools before completing their secondary education, the extremely high percentage of children who are still considered in learning poverty in India, number of children from remote areas with no access to digital connectivity, etc.
Apart from conducting entertainment functions based on National Education Day and chanting meaningless National Education Day slogans, this year, schools can host informative seminars about the importance of basic education and the significant contributions made by Maulana Azad.
Students should be taught to value their immense educational opportunities and not ignore the power of literacy. To further help those with less or no opportunity for quality primary education, schools can encourage students to donate their old/ unused books, and even distribute stationary materials to unprivileged children.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad served as the first Education Minister of independent India, from 1947 to 1958, in Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.
A reformer, freedom fighter, writer, Islamic theologian, and senior leader of the Indian National Congress, Azad was committed to shaping the nation’s education sector. He paved the way for the establishment of the UGC, AICTE, Jamia Millia Islamia, IIT Kharagpur Secondary School Board, the Secondary Education Commission and the University Grants Commission.
Maulana Azad also worked as a journalist and contributed articles to several Urdu publications. In 1912, he published his weekly Urdu newspaper, Al-Hilal, which focused on unveiling dirty British politics.
Regarded as one of the prominent national political figures of the time, Azad also worked to further brotherhood in Indian society as he believed in the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity and strongly supported secularism and socialism.
The education stalwart, Azad, was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1992, India’s highest civilian award.
Thus, this year, on the National Education Day date, every Indian should read about the works of the great reformer and intellect Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and get inspiration from him, and should resolve to bring the light of education to every child of the country; only then can India become the leading country in the world!
So, Happy National Education Day!