This week’s Indispire prompt raises question about credentials of a teaher. Should a teacher hanker after money?
In my mind, in Indian tradition a teacher is considered next to god. Given the exalted position of the profession in the society, only those interested in pursuit of truth and knowledge should join the profession. This is not a profession to make money. In Hindu barnashrama (the caste hierarchy) brahmins were traditionally entrusted with teaching profession. Brahmins were not expected to deal in money. There life and livlihood used to be taken care of estate of rulers who would set up schools. Brahmins used to practice of worship on auspicious occasions, the practice still continues, and whatever they got as offering to god would be their side income.
Post independence, India had created schools and needed teachers. In her idealism, the new nation hoped that teachers would fan out to distant corners of the vast country and help raising enlightened citizens. Our policy makers forgot that many remote areas wre not livable and salary offered to a teacher used to be paltry. As a result, government schools remained perennialy short on staff. Teachers came to school only at month’s end to collect their salaries. Many entrepreneurial minded initiated private tuition and group coaching classes to boost their incomes. As a result teaching in regular schooling hours got neglected.
To fulfill, insatiable desire of the society to get admission into engineering and medical schools, coaching centers specialsing in competitive examinations mushroomed. Today, a city is Rajasthan, Kota, in considered to be Mecca of all students interested in being coached for competitive examinations. Coaching centres in Kota pay salary to teachers based on their performance and experience. A competent teacher with close to two decades of experience may hope to earn as much as one crore (10 million) rupees per year.
I used to read debates and discussions in news papers about need to revise pay scale of teachers in universities and schools. At a time, when money is equal or more than god a teacher like any other citizen of the country needs money for a decent life. Afterall, a teacher also has to pay rent, send his kids to school and if needed fund their higer education, get their kids married and fulfill their social obligations.
No one can be stopped from making money by imparting coaching or tuitions. It is the right of an individual to adopt any legal means to create wealth. Nevertheless, unlike any other profession, teaching is a much exalted vocation. A teacher is equalted with god, because a teacher is expected to show the path of knowledge and path to god :
“Gururbrahma gururvishnuh,gururdevo maheshwarah, Guruhsakshat parabrahma, tasmai shrigurave namah”
I think teaching profession is not for everyone. Only those interested in the pursuit of truth and knowledge should become a teacher. A teacher must hold his life, his character, his honest and his integrity as a mirror to his students. Teaching is not a profession to make money and education is not for sale. Society and government must see to it that teachers are adequately compensated, so that a teacher can spend his time in the quest of truth.
This present post is written in response to Indispire Prompt at Indiblogger. More such posts may be found here.