Renowned educationists Dr John and Zakiya Kurrien were feted with the Kumud Bansal Award on the occasion of Teacher’s Day for their exemplary efforts in the field of elementary education for more than three decades.
The couple was felicitated by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. The award was instated in 2013 in the memory of Bansal, who was the former secretary of the school education and sports department as well as the co-founder of Pratham, a non-government organisation (NGO).
The Kurriens co-founded Centre for Learning, an NGO based in Pune, which focuses on improving the quality of early childhood and elementary education. “In the mid-80’s, the quality of primary education in the country was very poor and no efforts were being taken to upgrade it,” said Zakiya. “This was the reason behind us starting this organisation.”
Farida Lambay, co-Founder, Pratham, said the Kurriens’ were selected for the award for their work through the NGO.
“We decided to acknowledge this beautiful couple for their work in improving the quality of education in the county, especially for the disabled children,” she said.
The Kurriens were elated that their efforts have been recognised. “We are very delighted that Pratham has acknowledged our work towards upgrading the quality of education at the primary level,” said John.
In a message to all teachers, Zakiya said: “See yourself as being central to the lives of children. You are affecting their minds and spirits.”