Government must consider its decision banning government school teachers from taking private tuitions in the larger interests of beleaguered student community
Representational ImageFile/ GK

The school education department last week issued circular instructions to all the private coaching centres that no government employee should be hired for taking classes at the coaching centres.

The circular was issued by the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) and to impose the ban on government employees hinted that no government school teacher, master or lecturer can be hired by the private coaching centre to teach students.

The move created a debate whether the government should be strict on engaging government employees amid the pandemic wherein the students have already faced huge learning losses in view of the prolonged closure of the educational institutions.

Imposing a ban on government school teachers has two aspects. One is that disallowing government employees will provide job opportunities to the educated unemployed youth in J&K. But on the other hand, it is also a fact that qualified and experienced teachers are available in the government sector. These teachers have been taking classes in schools as well as private coaching centres for years now. Now in the backdrop of the covid19 situation it is not good to bar these teachers from teaching at coaching centres when the covid19 restrictions are yet to be lifted from schools.

The educational institutions continue to remain closed for the past two years now which has resulted in huge learning losses for the students. In view of this, the topic should not be who should teach the students but the concern should be how the learning gaps should be filled.

To me, the idea to impose a ban on government school teachers at private coaching centres is not good at all. No doubt private coaching centres can act as a job industry for the unemployed lot but all the educated unemployed youth are not fit for teaching students. Teaching students needs dedication, knowledge and experience which obviously can be found in government school teachers. No doubt there can be people other than government teachers who have gained a huge knowledge and experience of teaching students at private coaching centres but that doesn’t mean government school teachers cannot be allowed to impart teaching at private coaching centres.

There is no harm if the government teachers take classes at the coaching centres two hours before and after the office hours of their duty. One should understand that a student always remains teacher centric. The crux is that given the prevailing situation where students are already at the receiving end, the government decision to ban government school teachers from taking classes at tuition centres will further impact the school children who are preparing for the annual board exams and other national level competitive examinations.

We have found many senior IAS and KAS officers taking classes at private coaching centres where students are enrolled to take coaching for civil service exams. So, the school education department should also reconsider its decision of banning government teachers at private coaching centres.

The fact of the matter is that it is not only the coaching centres which can play a role in decreasing the unemployment rate by accommodating educated unemployed youth but the government has to play its part to provide jobs to the educated youth of J&K.

Because of the pandemic, we have observed a change in different departments due to the covid19. Over the past few one year the doctors were re-engaged in the health and medical education department after their retirement. Also, some retired engineers were also rehired by the government to utilize their services. Such decisions were taken at a time when the rate of unemployment is rising with each passing day. But the government re-hired its retired engineers and doctors only because of the experience and the additional value they carry with them. Maybe the new entrants recruited in the department may not carry these additional values with them. So the same goes with the teaching profession where experience should be given some consideration.

“There might be some well educated youth in different fields but might not carry that experience with them. We might have good scholars and researchers but they may not prove to be good teachers in the classroom,” said a noted academician, Prof Tariq Ahmad Chalkoo.

Prof Chalkoo believes that if the government mounts the pressure of not hiring government teachers at private coaching centres it will not help the students to come out of the crises created by the pandemic.

“There should be some relief given in this at least for two years till the time students come out of the crises created by the pandemic. Government should however focus on implementation of the guidelines issued for coaching centres for accommodating economically weak students free of cost and put in place other necessary amenities at the institutes,” he said.

The DSEK order, according to teachers, is the clear violation of the High Court orders that has already allowed the government teachers to undertake tuitions with the rider that they shall not undertake the tuitions two hours before the opening of the schools and two hours after closure of the schools.

Chairman Coaching Centres Association Kashmir (CCAK) G N Var says that during the contemporary times the context of education was totally different where imparting the education was an emergency.

“Government should not bring all these laws into force at this point of time. Schools are already closed and it is very difficult to compensate

“Students have suffered a lot and they should be given a chance to learn wherever possible. Banning government school teachers will disturb the functioning of coaching centres which will ultimately adversely impact the students,” Var said.

Var said it was the moral responsibility of coaching centres to employ the unemployed youth and the government should also adopt ease of doing business in the present circumstances. “Government should provide some relaxation to the unemployed youth to run their own coaching centres,” he said.

Keeping all the circumstances into consideration, the government should rethink imposing a complete ban on government school teachers from taking classes at private tuition centres.

The situation demands that the government should take a lenient view in this regard and not act so harshly against the coaching centres hiring government teachers to take classes of students. Let studies of the students be a priority with the government. Hope good sense prevails.

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