Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teachers Day - Thanks to all my teachers; And my 18 point charter for Improving Indian Educational System

S. Radhakrishnan - 2nd President of India
Drona - Arjuna

There is a relation between people on the left and right. It is one of the most sacred relations - the one between a teacher and a student. In Indian cultural order teacher’s position is coming in third, even above God. As India's one of the most celebrated poet, Kabirdas, wrote,

"Guru Govind dono khade kake lagu paay
Balihari Guru aapki Govind diyo batay.

Translation - “If both Guru and Govind (God) appeared together in front of me, I will touch my guru's feat first, as it is my Guru who showed me the way to God."

In this teacher's day I express my sincere gratitude and thanks to all my teachers who taught me how to read, write and showed me the window of knowledge and life.

Each teacher has a great responsibility in them to give the light of knowledge to their disciples; to teach them the right methods, to find the right direction and achieve success in life. In the same way each student also has the responsibility to contribute something back to his/her alma matr.

Current Situation

This is a time for introspection as well. Do we still give that much respect to our teachers? Do the teachers consider teaching simply as a profession or ready to walk the extra mile to assure the success of students? Many may still be doing that, but there are some fundamental underflows which raise serious questions about our educational system.

1.       Stop considering education as an industry:
Schools and colleges are more or less treated as an industry than as national institutions, centre of excellence to build next generation Indians. This attitude needs to change. I am a strong supporter of selling of government run companies, but education is an area where government needs to invest heavily.

2.       Scrap auctioning Seats to Highest Bidder
Policy of admitting students after taking hefty donations should be scrapped. I agree that, it will bring money to the table but the percentage should be lowest possible not 40 or 50.

3.       Stop auctioning teaching posts
I saw this anomaly especially in Kerala. I don’t know whether it is the same in other states as well. In aided schools (land and building belongs to management but fund for salary, pension and other expenses are coming from government treasury) candidates needs to pay a hefty sum to management to get a posting. In fact, management will pocket this amount and government will pay the salary. Is this the way to select teachers?

4.       Absenteeism
In many of north, central, east Indian suburbs and villages students rarely see teachers in schools. They will be busy with their private tuitions.
Student - Teacher Statue @ Germany

5.       Absence of basic facilities
Forget about stadiums to play. Many schools don’t have separate toilets for boys and girls. It’s better to say nothing about hostel facilities in many places, especially in tribal areas.

6.       Outdated syllabi
We are running far behind the modern day developments. For e.g. many of our honors courses have a syllabus which the western and eastern world left behind years ago.

7.       Need to give importance to practicals
Neither student, teachers not the people who design the syllabus give any importance to practical part of science – leaving this part will make both of them boring. Organic chemistry is not only about writing equations on paper.

8.       No industry tie up
In pursuit of their own goals curriculum committee often overlooks the need for an industrial tie up. They often shut their eyes towards the demand of industry.

9.       Refocusing on Humanities
School is not only about science and mathematics, but about humanities as well. Society needs not only engineer and doctors but poets, novelists and writers as well. Over focus on engineering, management and medical courses made these streams as second grade.

10.   Directionless student body
Other than working as a satellite of political parties and declaring strike when their political master demands most of our student outfits don’t have the guts to engage in meaningful discussions, research and development.

11.   Absence of an All India Services  (ITS)
We have so many all India services, but do we have an all India service for teachers?  ITS (Indian Teachers Service)? or any special service branch for teachers in state level?

12.   Pay structure
Pay scale and opportunities offered by growth industries are often taking the cream of youngsters away from teaching field.

13.   Reluctant Teachers
Once joined in teaching many are leaving their research pursuits forever. On top of that most of our universities often don’t compel them to follow that path. How many of our universities compel lectures, teachers to publish research papers in renowned journals?

14.   Skewed Teacher- Student ratios
Do we need a ratio of 1:60 or 1: 40 or 1:30 or 1:20?

15.   Political Interference in University boards
Many of our universities are ruled by powerful politicians. Vice chancellor often reduces to a figurehead, it’s better to say nothing about chancellors. We need to leave the universities to the academics and provide independent funding.

16.   Political interferences in academics
Our academics are not free from political leanings. It’s ok. We are not expecting them to be free of any political associations. But that doesn't give them right to change the history as they wish, exclude the books they don’t like, include the one suitable for them. We need to focus on the scientific pursuit of history.

17.   Scientific Temper
Even though it is mentioned in the constitution schools hardly impart this to the students.

18.   Absence of a strong alumini
There are aluminis and get-togethers. But how many of them are actually contributing financially and meaningfully to their Alma matr.

I wish during this teacher’s day we focus on issues affecting Indian educational system and try to find remedy for some of them.


No comments:

Post a Comment