‘Who dares to teach must never cease to learn,’ said John Cotton Dana, an influential American librarian. A similar mood was witnessed at the annual Hindustan Times-PACE (Partnerships for Action in Education) Teachers’ Meet at the Hyatt Regency here on Monday when more than 650 teachers from schools across Delhi and the NCR participated in a learning experience on various social issues plaguing the country.
It was a thought-provoking meet for the teachers as various issues such as problems faced by leprosy patients, street kids, people engaged in collection of human excreta and farmers who have to fight for their land in courts were brought to the fore with a rivetting play titled ‘Unsuni’, based on Harsh Mander’s book Unheard Voices, staged by Asmita, a Delhi-based theatre group.
Arvind Gaur, head of Asmita and the director of the play, was the special guest. Venky Venkatesh, business head, HT Media Ltd; Annapoorna Sehgal, head-education, PACE; and Mayank Sanghani, zonal manager (north), Croma, were also present.
The play, based on real life stories, was really an eye-opener, said the teachers, adding that it made them sit back and ponder over the plight of the weaker sections of the society.
“The connection that generally gets lost in the midst of our busy lives was reinforced through the play,” said Rita Bhatia, a teacher with Cambridge School, Sriniwaspuri.
The importance of sensitising the students about the relevant social issues came into light during the interactive session after the play. “Today, after watching this play, I am determined to play a dual role of facilitator of education and moral values,” said Renu Puri, a teacher from NC Jindal School, Punjabi Bagh.
Gaur answered teachers’ questions and also accepted their invitations to perform for their students. “My teachers played a major role in what I am today. Sensitising the teachers will help in further spreading awareness among students. I am happy that my students (actors) have contributed towards the cause,” said Gaur.
Teachers also shared their experiences related to the issues highlighted in the play and accepted that much more needs to be done.
Earlier in the day, highlighting how HT PACE has made an attempt to take education beyond classrooms, Sehgal said: “We have been working with schools and the students through various interactive platforms in order to take education to a new level. Our endeavour is to increase the level of interaction and association with schools in future.”
Kidsplay, a guide launched by HT for parents and teachers on how to make summer vacations productive for children, was also introduced.
It was not all work and no play, as the serious interactions culminated in a lucky draw contest for the teachers. The prizes were sponsored by Croma. Sehgal, along with Sanghani, gave away the prizes.