The role and position of teacher has always been very well recognized in almost every society of the world since the earliest civilizations.
A teacher's job, though not administrative or authoritative in its nature, is believed to be very crucial and decisive in the society's onward march as it provides an intellectual framework to the general public besides being associated with the transfer of values and knowledge from a generation to the next.
The sky-high technological advancements have ushered the contemporary human society to a point where apparently a teacher's role seems extremely marginalized. But the reality is that nothing could shrink or replace the role of teacher in the modern society. His task has rather become more demanding in the present state of affairs. The new hi-tech and digital era, actually, calls for an urgent and appropriate transmutation of his role from simpler to complicated one.
And it is perhaps the incompetence and the incapability of the present day conventional teacher, at least in our context, that has relegated him from his position and responsibility in the changed socio-cultural setup. Behind his inability lies a huge array of the factors owing their origin, mainly, to the new highly commercialized setup of the things.
The grace and nobility that was once a feature of the teaching profession remains no more associated with it. This is an indication as well as an evident outcome of the rot of corruption and moral degradation that has greatly afflicted the society. Teaching, in fact, is the work of making learned and civilized humans but right at the time of the recruitment of the personnel for this noble work, bribery and nepotism play dominant part.
The larger chunk of the selected lot, consequently, turns out to be inefficient, mediocre and sometimes, owing to various relaxations, even ineligible for the job. Strangely the process of teacher selection, especially in school education department, is very casual as compared to the procedures practiced for other professional and civil services. In case of the college teachers' selection, state government has compromised UGC's norms in view of non availability or dearth of qualified/eligible candidates in certain subjects. Shouldn't there be an established way to prepare/coach candidates in such subjects to enable them to qualify the NET (the minimum eligibility for the AP post) rather than simply compromising on the eligibility criterion itself. How can good teaching be expected from those who themselves could not score satisfactorily in their concerned subjects. Quality education in such a situation remains merely a table discussion issue.
Adhocism and the recently evolved contractualism in the state add oil to the fire. Many among these contractual lecturers are rejected for being ineligible or unfit for the job as permanent teachers but they are engaged for the same teaching job on contractual basis. There are no incentives or encouragement for good work of teachers in schools and colleges. No infrastructural facilities exist to encourage and boost research work in the colleges.
UGC's API system has, instead of promoting quality research, met with a new trend of fake and worthless publications. Transfer and promotion policy is no-policy at all and a haphazard buying-off practice is largely in place. Involving institutional heads in extra financial affairs under various schemes has resulted in creeping in of various forms of commissions and percentages/corruption.
Profession of an individual in the society is often evaluated by its social significance, general decorousness and the grace associated with it. A doctor, an engineer, an administrator, etc. are some of the highly sought after professions for the youngsters in our society. There is hardly anybody who dreams of becoming a teacher, lecturer, professor or a researcher. The reason lies in the image of teacher as perceived in the society.
Teacher's job in the society is supposed to be "a nobody and an everybody" job. We desire and long for quality education but nobody cares or prepares for quality educators. Many among those who become educators of the society are the laggards assuming the charge out of financial or other compulsions. This most important job of leading, educating and training nation's would be administrators and citizens is left with the least efficient and otherwise rejected lot.
We may or may not realize it, but the truth is that the society, be it modern or ancient, is always in need of good teachers on whom it can depend for its own future. Under the influence of scientific analysis of substances, man sees his own existence in terms of atoms and molecules of matter. This illusory perception has compelled man to accept and apply materials and machines in place of man. But there are certain roles which can be assisted but can never be replaced by the machines.
Knowledge explosion and technological implementation are there for human welfare but the teacher is required for ensuring a safe and guided transfer of knowledge and technology across human generations. Nation's onward progress is linked to the presence and reverence of good teachers in the society. The teacher and the teaching need to be rediscovered and revalued in the society. A more sincere approach requires to be adopted to devise an appropriate system to bring in and produce highly competent professionals for this most important job in the society.
(Junaid Jazib is HoD, Environmental Sciences, GDC Thannamandi(Rajouri)
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