Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD), Kapil Sibal has called upon UNESCO to commence a world-wide campaign to restore the respect of a Teacher in society. Giving the keynote address at the first ministerial plenary forum at the 35th UNESCO General Conference in Paris today, he said that it would be in the fitness of things if we all take up a 'Teachers First Campaign' aimed at restoring respect for this noble profession. Sibal urged UNESCO to start a global campaign leveraging scientific knowledge for societal benefit on the lines of India's 'Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED) programme. This programme seeks to provide opportunities to motivated scientists and field level workers, to take up action oriented and location specific projects aiming at socio-economic upliftment of the poor and disadvantaged sections, through appropriate science and technology interventions especially in the rural areas.
Adding that India has made major progress in ICT and has also developed e-learning materials, Shri Sibal offered to share this knowledge with the world community. The HRD Minister underlined that education, particularly higher education, must inculcate the values of sustainable development in the minds of the youth. Sibal emphasised that Mahatma Gandhi's messages of non-violence assume relevance even in the area of sustainable development. He expressed the hope that the proposal would be approved by the General Conference of UNESCO, for the Institute to spread the message that unsustainable development will breed conflict and that sustainable development is a necessary pre-requisite for peace. The minister stated that a significant initiative reflecting the political commitment of the Government of India to universalize 8 years of schooling, has recently been translated into action by making elementary education a fundamental right of every child in India.