A basic human right is education. It works to raise men and women out of poverty, level inequalities and ensure sustainable development. But sadly, worldwide 244 million children and youth are still out of school for social, economic and cultural reasons.

Education is one of the most powerful tools in lifting excluded children and adults out of poverty and is a stepping stone to other fundamental human rights. It is the most sustainable investment.

Those of us who have been privileged enough to get the best education have a huge responsibility on our shoulders to ensure we are able to shape a better society to live in by knowing and respecting rights, laws and regulations.

Educators have even more responsibilities as theirs is a multifaceted profession. A dedicated teacher not only imparts education but listens, mentors and constructs meaningful education experiences and learnings that last a lifetime.

I have had the good fortune of being taught by inspiring teachers who have been par excellence. They have played a pivotal role in molding our lives. They stand apart for not only imparting academic knowledge but also sharing ethical values, and imbibing morality that shapes our personality as better human-beings. I call them the building blocks of society with immense patience, tolerance, and bright shimmering smiles.

During our college and hostel years at my alma mater, St. Bede’s College, Shimla, our professors held a significant impact. We were at that stage in our lives where we had moved away from home and into experiencing a certain amount of independence and adulthood.

We were hot blooded, impulsive, zesty and enthusiastic all at once. At times questioning discipline and rules and other times defying the laws of nature. But our professors kept us grounded.

Slowly, there is an interweave in the relationships and teachers become friends and mentors who inspire us to aim towards great life achievements. They also knowingly and unknowingly impart important, valuable life lessons to students.

Through teaching, our educators have acquired something loftier: the power to transform lives, to enhance the independence and self-esteem of young students, rich and poor alike, through learning.

As you step out into the real world, very often you end up recalling what was taught to you by your professors, or advice given or even a conversation with them. Those lessons go a long way, and teaching methodologies leave an impact.

It’s been an enriching experience for me to reconnect with my professors from college over the last decade or so. It was exhilarating to meet them in person some 33 years later. These are moments when time stands still and the years in between just vanish.

One cannot describe in words the feeling of love, respect and happiness in meeting them again and such bonds must be treasured. It was even more special for me as they could meet and connect with my parents, husband and children.

Through the endless natter realisation dawns that one must be grateful to them for every lesson, smile, piece of advice, punishment as well as for a vote of encouragement.