The job of a teacher is to teach, and teaching is the only thing for which he or she is recruited by the government. Any teacher, whether recruited through JKSSB or other schemes like ReT and erstwhile SSA scheme, has to fulfill his primary responsibility of teaching students.
But unfortunately it has become a growing concern over the years that some of the teachers are shunning their responsibilities and manage their stay at the office of Chief Education Officer (CEO) or Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) and take up the non-teaching assignments.
No doubt in some cases, the teachers are deputed to such offices but the arrangement is made for a specific time period which ethically should not extend beyond two years. But in this part of the world, any teacher who manages his entry to CEO or ZEO office once, never returns to his school for which he was actually recruited and given salary by the government.
This practice not only violates the duties of a teacher but also deprives students of their services. While I am highlighting the unethical practice of some influential teachers who remain away from their primary job, there are hundreds of such teachers who give their blood and sweat to groom the students enrolled in their respective schools.
These teachers act as the backbone of the department and take up their duty of teaching with utmost dedication and determination.
But these teachers have to bear the brunt of the unethical practice of those black sheep who always remain associated with power echelons in the department and manage their deputation in offices where their services are least required; or rarely required, that too for a specific period.
In the recent past, a case has come to light where a teacher from north Kashmir's Baramulla district wrote an application to joint director north Kashmir and admitted to spending around 17 years in the department.
In his application he admitted that in these 17 years he has remained deputed to CEO and ZEO office and requested the Joint Director to get him deployed in his office again. This teacher's admission raises serious questions about the commitment of teachers to their profession - teaching.
The case of this teacher is not the only example to cite. There are dozens of such teachers who manage their deputation in offices and leave the students at the mercy of God.
But the case of this teacher came to light as the joint director concerned did not bother about the repercussions and directed the concerned ZEO to depute the teacher to his office.
This particular case got the public attention because of the immediate intervention of the joint director who while bypassing the CEO, marked the application of the teacher and directed the ZEO concerned to depute him to his office.
The incident revealed that the officers who are at the helm of affairs are themselves responsible for derailing the system. It also gave an impression that such practice must be prevailing in other cases as well.
Over the years, many teachers have been repatriated from Secretariat back to teaching due to public pressure and government initiative. However, the impact of this practice on teaching cannot be ignored.
The quality of education suffers when teachers are not dedicated to their profession, and students suffer as a result.
While these teachers enjoy patronage of officials to get deputed to offices, it is also important to examine the motivation behind teachers serving elsewhere than classrooms. It has to be investigated what keeps them away from classrooms and they get attracted to offices.
While teaching may not be as lucrative as other professions, it is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding professions in the world. The satisfaction that comes with shaping young minds and watching students grow and succeed is unparalleled. Teachers who choose to serve outside of the classroom must be motivated by factors other than financial gain.
Teachers who neglect their primary responsibility of teaching and instead spend their time in offices as non-teaching employees are not only behaving unethically but also committing a potential breach of the law.
The job of a teacher is to educate and shape young minds into responsible citizens. However, when teachers prioritise their own interests over those of their students, it not only hurts the quality of education but also sets a bad example for students who look up to them as role models.
One of the reasons why teachers may choose to serve elsewhere instead in the classroom is the perception that teaching is not a lucrative career. However, this is a misconception. Teaching is a highly respected profession that offers ample opportunities for career advancement and professional development. Moreover, teachers play a crucial role in shaping the future of society, making it one of the most rewarding careers.
To conclude, it is imperative that teachers prioritise their responsibilities to teach and not shun them in favour of getting deputed to other offices where they are assigned non-teaching jobs. The government should also take measures to ensure that teachers are not placed in positions where they are unable to fulfill their duties.
Teachers are role models for students, and their commitment to the profession is critical to ensuring that students receive quality education.
Author is senior correspondent Greater Kashmir
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.