This week Indispire debates if teachers of today be called untalented leftovers? I tend to agree with the motion.
In our country and culture a teacher is equated with god. “Gururbrahma gururvishnuh, gururdevo maheshwarah, Guruhsakshat parabrahma, tasmai shrigurave namah.”
A teacher is expected to show the path of knowledge to his / her student. In today’s India, our teachers have long way to go to reclaim the high pedestal. There are many problems that are ailing Indian education system. Be it infrastructure, be it course content and be it human resource we are facing problems in all spheres. According to reports, there has been some improvement in infrastructure in terms of access to school, drinking water and toilet for girl students.
One of the main problem, however, remains availability of well qualified teachers. According to report, India has a shortfall of 500000 teachers in elementary schools. Nearly 14% of public schools do not meet the minimum requirement of 6 teacher per school. In many states, post of teachers remain vacant. Form example, the Karnataka state has 23000 vacant positions, whereas Bihar and Uttar Pradesh together have 4.2 lac unfilled positions
It has been argued because salary of a teacher is low, many graduates opt for jobs in IT sector and BPO sector. According to available data, average salary of a school teacher in India is around 2 lac per year compared to 40 lac / year in the US and 53 lac per year in Canada. Though post graduate trained teacher with experience may draw as much as 18 lac per annum, one may reach that level after serving long years The situation has further complicated due to arrival of International schools that pay high salary and mushrooming of private schools that also eat into government schools share of teachers. Arrival of coaching schools have further weaned away experienced teachers. A trained and experienced teacher in a coaching school in Kota can earn as much as one crore (10 million) rupee per year.
It has been reported that many aspirants for a teachers position lack proper qualification. In teachers eligibility test conducted in Bihar, only 17% of applicant who wrote for the exam qualified. Because of shortage of qualified teachers, many states are forced to hire under qualified and contractual teachers. According to published report, Bihar has as many as 38.7% elementary school teachers, who are unqualified. In West Bengal the number of unqualified elementary schools teachers is 31.4%.
According to report nearly 20% teachers remain absent from school on an average. Some on leave, a few on training and others for official work at district head quarters.
Teachers that qualify in eligibility test and get appointment, it is doubtful if they have in them to ignite curiosity of students, and compel them to think originally and independently. Do they have inclination, bend of mind and skill set necessary to train young minds into enlightened, compassionate and questioning citizens of tomorrow? To be fair, teachers hired by the school system have to follow the curriculum against whom a student will be evaluated. There may be little scope to deviate from set path. To bring in a change in thought process, education system may need to be changed.
Read : Man Making Education
But there is hope. I shall mention one name, that is Anand Kumar of super 30 fame. For last fifteen years of more, Anand Kumar trains every year thirty students, chosen to of 5000, from economically weaker section of society, for the joint entrance test of IIT.
Then there are other innovative teachers that look at education in a different way. They teach students to think differently and creatively. They reach out to poor students and extend a helping hand. To name a few, (i) Anil Pradhan of International Public School of Rural Innovation (ii) Kiran Bir Sethi, Riverside School (iii) Omprakash Mishra (iv) Safeena Hussain, Educate Girls.
In summary, though teachers are held in an exalted position, at the present time there is shortage of teachers in India. Those that are recruited, it is doubtful if they can impart quality education. But a new breed of teachers are emerging who look at education differently.
Note : This post is written in response to Indispire prompt. More posts may on the prompt may be found here.