Chairman – National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), Professor of Education in Indira Gandhi National Open University
Teachers must be the opinion leaders and torch bearers of the society. The more we revere our teachers the more they will aspire and make efforts to come up to the expectations. Unfortunately in our country teacher bashing has become a favourite past time. Look at any debate or discussion on education; it finally boils down to holding teachers responsible for all the ills in our schools and colleges. We fail to realise that whatever we have attained in our lives, it is because of the teachers who taught us. Even if the teachers are not doing a good job, we should as a national agenda, stop criticising teachers.
We look at successful children on television and set similar goals for our children and put this in their minds that they are destined to attain identical feats. However, we neither make efforts ourselves as guardians nor prepare our children to attain the desired goals. We don’t appreciate the labour and effort successful children must have put in. Finally when our children fail to achieve our dreams we hold teachers responsible. As against that in our families we keep talking about teachers in a derogatory language. Our children also fail to keep teachers in high esteem. Acts and norms designed and developed on the Western model has also put our teachers under tremendous pressure. Look at the Right to Education Act 2009. This prescribes such teaching conditions and punishments on teachers which is not seen anywhere in the world.
We are in the process of putting before the nation a New Education Policy. Some time back a bureaucrat was identified to head the panel which was to author the policy. When the report came it was unacceptable to the academia. The Government of India called it a draft document and shelved it. Once again we have identified a scientist, no doubt a space scientist of global fame but not an academic. He heads the committee which is going to author the new education policy. He may be good but the question the academia will have to answer to the world is that “Did this nation not have a teacher/academic who could head the policy drafting committee?” How would the teachers of this country defend themselves before global audience and intellectuals.
Teacher bashing has become so common that teachers have also lost self-esteem. Constant abuse has made the community shameless. Let us reverse the process. Even if they don’t deserve to be respected let us all start adoring and revering our teachers, at least in public. Make teachers feel important and come up to the mark. If a child commits a crime teachers must be asked to explain, how one of their students commit a crime. They must take upon themselves to stand up against all wrongs. We will require no television ads for beti bachao, safai, shaksharta etc.
They will themselves do all that our society requires to become a sone ki chiriya.