HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday said reaching out to children who are out of the school system was of vital importance even as he called for greater community participation in education.

“There is a vital need to reach out to children who are still out of school,” he said while stressing on the need to involve communities in education. “Teachers can be the agents of change,” he said, adding that reaching out to the unreached is the focus of the NDA government.

Javadekar also spoke on the need to focus on pre-school education especially for tribal population. He had a freewheeling interaction on innovation in teaching with 346 teachers who will be conferred the National Teachers’ Awards by President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday. Teachers from various parts of the country also shared the problems they tackled by coming up with innovative solutions.

An award-winning teacher from Bikaner mentioned how girls dropped out after class X in her school after which teachers formed a group to convince parents to let them study rather than push for early marriage.

“As a result, the numbers have increased manifold,” she said. One of the teachers from Madhya Pradesh spoke about how he painted stories on walls to teach tribal children while another one from Telangana mentioned translating nursery rhymes in Sanskrit to teach children.

Referring to the interaction as “Javadekar sir’s class”, the HRD minister invited innovative suggestions, saying they could be taken across the country. He told the gathering that his mother was also a school teacher in a village where they lived.