Just yesterday we celebrated the birthday of the second President of our country Dr.S. Radhakrishnan more popularly known as Teacher’s Day, a day marked in honour of the builders of our nation. But then are they still the builders of our nation? Do they command the same respect as that of their predecessors in whose memory such a day was designated? And is it actually useful and suitable in today’s scenario? Makes me wonder?
While some of us would strongly disagree with it, there is a huge school of thought that still exists who believe in giving the highest level of respect to teachers. Who immediately dismiss and look down upon the idea of categorizing it as yet another profession. For them ‘Teachers are their Gods’ who show them the light on life’s dark and long path. For them, the factors of respect and discipline are essential to the process of learning. According to them teachers mould our future by educating our children, by inculcating in them the values that form the pillars of our society and hence need to be placed in higher esteem.
But then there are people who have done away with these concepts. According to them, teaching is yet another profession. Teachers’ are paid to do their work. When saving lives can be a profession then why can’t teaching be? They dismiss the whole ‘respect concept’ as unnecessary dogma and hypocrisy. They consider it as a form of submission, a curtailment of freedom and ignorance of personal intellect. “You don’t need to hold someone in great esteem to learn from them. What you need is a desire to learn and the determination to work for it.” There is none who is too perfect to make mistakes. The normal amount of etiquette is more than adequate. Besides, it is not that teachers’ are not privy to the pangs of corruption, deception, nepotism and partiality that they should be placed above others. All men are equal and so are all kinds of profession. Every kind of work has its own deserved importance and dignity. Neither more nor less!
As far as my thoughts are considered, both the ideologies have their own merits and de-merits and an optimum combination of both is what needs to be adopted by the society. Discipline and freedom are like the Yin and Yang, always infringing on each other’s territories.
Today’s scenario however demands much more attention than any of the above ideologies. From a time when the cream of society used to take up the mandate of teaching the future generations, we have ended up in a time where teaching is an ignored and charmless profession for the best students. Instead of the most successful, the unsuccessful join it. Teachers today are seen struggling with basics themselves. The thoughts of innovation are even beyond the horizon. In such a case, how can we expect the youth to respect their teachers and learn from them? And even if they do learn, what is the credibility of such learning? In addition moral degradation of teachers poses yet another threat to our education system aided by the rapid privatization of the sector.
It is not my intention to say that those who are not outstanding as students cannot be great teachers. History has time and again been witness of the opposite. Each one of us is a teacher to someone else at some point of time. However, everyone has his own forte and when it comes to grinding newer concepts into fragile minds, someone who has proven his command over the same should be assigned the job. However, teaching remains one of the least-paid jobs in our country. The importance due to them though recognized widely, still remains devoid of action. The high respect given to them in our society is of course a consolation but then the general trend now shows a deviation from the same and respect does not buy you the food and luxuries which we all crave for. Adequate Remuneration does!
Students are no far behind. With the ever increasing amount of distractions, education is often neglected. Freedom is often misused. Sensitivity of teachers is taken advantage of. Measures to induce discipline are met with resistance and defiance aided by parents themselves under the banner of modern thinking and freedom. Cracking exams has become the sole purpose of education; enlightenment itself has lost its light. When mugging and predictions can get you certified as capable why duel the concepts and waste precious youth?
The above list I guess can never be completed. The stack of problems in our education system keeps on increasing unattended by both the society and its keepers. At this trend the day is not far when India will end up in yet another crisis – ‘The Quality and Education Crisis’.
It is time to wake up lest it will get too late.
P.S. – I have not mentioned just academics for a purpose. Education is not just about books. It involves the holistic development of the individual and should be addressed in all aspects. Kindly take note of that 😉