At their best teachers are everyday gods, standing at the entry to the world. If they are fair and good, they are possibly the most morally impressive adults. For a while, they are the law, they are the knowledge, they are the justice. Theirs is the profession that creates all other professions.
Teachers are greatly valued in all religions. Every religion focuses and emphasizes on the respect of teachers. Islam speaks high of teachers as is clear from a hadit(saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) which reads: if someone prayed a thousand rak’ats, the sleep of a scholar(teacher) will still be superior. Hazrat Ali’s words that he who conveys a single message to me, I owe him/her lifetime highlights the nobleness of this profession.
However, unfortunately teachers(especially Govt. Teachers) have been facing humiliation and criticism for so many years. The worst hit are those working in primary or middle schools. They are being humiliated on one context or the other depending upon the taste of critic/s. The humiliation find its more advocates during PDP tenure and even earned a notorious epithet “the cow teacher” for them. Recently some advocates of the rights of private teachers blamed govt. teachers as “back-door entrants “, a harsh humiliation in itself.
There is no doubt in the fact that there are some blue eyed Teachers who are selected on political basis. But it is not fair to brand all the teachers in that category. There are thousands of teachers who have doctorate degree in their hands, who have qualified NET/SET and who had been appointed after qualifying SSB exams. To brand them as “backdoor entrants”is a big blot on our mentality.
It is easy to say than to do. Likewise it is easy to criticize than to understand the ground reality. No one is ready to digest what difficulties a government teacher faces. On knowing the reality the humiliation becomes baseless.
Let’s highlight some issues faced by teachers at primary school and middle school level and then compare it to Private schools for better understanding of the baseless criticism of teachers.
First, in private schools the newly admitted child has to sit in four KG classes viz pre-nursery, nursery, LKG and UKG. After spending four years in these classes he/she is admitted to class first. During these years he /she learns to read and write all the basics needed for class first. Such is not the case of Govt. schools. Here a student is either directly admitted to class first or hardly after one year in KG. So how can we expect a govt. school student to compete a private school student of the same class. Isn’t it a mere injustice?
Second is the lack of accommodation. Private schools face no problem of accommodation. There are separate rooms for each class. Modern labs, modern teaching – learning aids are provided for the teaching purposes. There is no dearth of teachers. Such is not the case with govt. schools. There are no separate classes and no separate teachers. Two or three classes are accommodated in a single room. This makes classroom noisy and creates hurdles. Improper rationalization too has added to their miseries. Some primary schools has to carry on teaching learning process with just two teachers for six classes. So, improper rationalization of teachers, by the people at the helm of affairs, tells upon the teaching learning process of government schools.
Third, most of the students enrolled in government schools come from poor families. They have no books, no uniform and other facilities. The teachers have to arrange on their own. The parent hardly visit the school to check the progress of his/her child. They prefer their child to help them in their work rather to attend school daily. Such is not the case with private schools. Here the parent/s closely monitor the progress of his /her child. They visit schools to check the progress of their wards.
Keeping these few issues in consideration, it is not just to blame teachers about what is out of their power. It is the responsibility of public in general and of government in particular to improve the standard of government schools especially primary and middle ones. Advanced infrastructure, modern teaching – learning materials, justified rationalization is the need of the hour.
So, we have to stop blaming teachers for all of the ills and injustices. We have to stop humiliating them. And that means treating them with respect offered to good private school teachers – treating them as distinguished members of the community, or at least as life-on-the-line public servants.
Sayar Ahmad Rather teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at AIMS ACADEMY, Kulgam. The writer has qualified UGC NET and J&K SET in English. Email::[email protected]