India was not a World Leader in education because there were standardised and policy-bound selection criteria in that age. We had teachers who actually wanted to teach and they were allowed to make an impact in the lives of the disciples. Now, teachers are hired and there are more employed-individuals than teachers.
The age-old discussions and international summits have not resulted in any remedy for the dying educational institutions in India. In most parts of the New India landscape, we see a dearth of actual teachers. When I make this strong distinction between the in-job individuals and teachers, I really mean to create a case to debate further. Argue in favour of rationality and the pertinent need of education.
Who is a Teacher? The one who earns a bundle of degrees and then qualifies some particular tests and presents the candidature in a selection interview. Acknowledging that the eligibility to apply, qualifying the tests and interviews does ensure the selection. Hence the thus selected teacher must be able to deliver well, must be able to lead the students to a new dawn in their life as ‘he himself or she herself’ has been free from academic and life vices and is capable of imparting skills as well as values. All said and heard. What is the condition of the world around us now?
The students coming out from schools are a lost generation which has not even lost a purpose. They actually never got to know what a Purpose is! Teachers at schools had a Bachelor of Education degree that certified that they learnt the Teaching of the Subjects. How come then the acumen and temperament isn’t up to the mark? How do we see aimless and skill-Less masses then? Talk to a school teacher of the category I want to wake up, you will realize how the roots of education are watered and nourished. The landscape is left barren actually and the policy fluctuations are adding to the drought in the classroom.
These crowds enter the HigherEd to meet the ‘UGC-AICTE governed’ policy web of having ‘Scholars and Professors’ to teach them. It is rude to label the selected ones with sarcasm but the harsh words go to those who are well-qualified in terms of the ‘Divine API or Selection Criteria’, but have been the reason of failing the careers of those who would otherwise have gained some reasonable common sense through learning. We get raw and we return ruined raw to the society. The race to get SCOPUS and some High-rated Impact Factor based Indexing scores has turned so ugly that the research has lost its sanctity. There are paid journals, in fact, there is comprehensive facilitation machinery which can get you things done from a PhD to publishing a book, chapter or paper in lieu of monetary costs. Teachers are quite appreciated to earn these marks, they are promoted and most importantly hired by that.
The universities are dying to grab the NAAC and NIRF stickers on their websites and banners. Nothing wrong in being mad and whimsical though. The least it is doing is ruining the whole purpose of getting public-private establishment in Higher Education. The game is of branding and shining placards now. Teachers are lost midway. They aren’t able to solve this puzzle. The phenomenon is the same worldwide. Stories in the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ bring out the pathetic feelings of those who were great teachers but could not carry forward because they had principles and a purpose to teach.
I am always in confusion whether skills to impart learning and innovative approaches are the hallmarks of a ‘required teacher’ or the number of degrees, preferably the ‘Holiness PhD’ and the UGC NET? The answer that wins is the later one but the one that shall save education is the former. We shall get the common sense someday. When the government wants competent and dedicated people to join them irrespective of the UPSC or SSC selections; when the global giants in the corporate world are doing away with the obsessions with academic eligibility; when education and employability needs the 21st century skills, we cannot reject the idea of ‘Competent Teachers’ sans the paper-based eligibility whims. I know I have to surrender myself to the regimen, so do I! But I await a sunrise when India shall see Teachers who were meant to be teachers and they were brought to Teaching by a process marked with appreciation and acknowledgement, not eligibility and bargaining.
There were days when the teachers would teach and students would learn. Then students started teaching and the teachers were left to learn. Now, both want to teach but none wants to learn. There is something strange in this nano-tale. The predicament of the selected is that he wants to do his job but does not know how to do it in the present context. Not all appointed are bad at teaching, not at all. But even 01% of teaching professionals make it a massive number to affect the lives of billions. Once educated with or without learning means that the student is going to carry that way in life. We make students who have prepared themselves for a responsible present and promising future or we make technology and resource-ruined individuals is a choice that we all should make.
Rants aren’t a thing to be appreciated or allowed in all situations. Sometimes we should wait and watch the transition from efforts to impact as well. For how long? One cannot see the whole process die a death of ignorance. There are people designated with the job to kill teachers and hire professionals who deal and bargain with them, not in terms of substance but money. Teachers are sold and purchased, not selected.
Exceptional Substance in Teachers has been a thing that gives meaning and makes any institution the most sought-after place. Of course, quality sells. But who cares?
Read More: Trust Your Students
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