Abdul Rashid Zargar recently received the Meritorious Teacher Award on Teacher’s Day for his unparalleled commitment towards his job. Nazir Ahmad Rather finds out what makes Zargar a role model for the teaching community.
For his outstanding performance as a teacher, Abdul Rashid Zargar, former headmaster of High School, Sanoor Kalipora received the Meritorious Teacher Award during a function at SKICC Srinagar on the occasion of teacher’s day. The award was presented to him by the Education Minister for state, Peerzada Mohammad Syed. This is the third award received by the headmaster since 2003.
Hailing from Sanoor Kalipora, a village in district Budgam, Abdul Rashid Zargar started his teaching career from national high School Karanagar. It was in the year 1983 when Mr Zargar got inducted into the education department as general line teacher. He believes it was his cherished dream to become teacher. “I came in to the department by choice and not by the chance because I wanted to become a teacher, it was a dream for me,’’ says Zargar.
Love for teaching was so intense that Zargar left his previous job as a Field Contact Assistant within a few months of joining.
“I left my first job within a few months because my heart was not into it,” says Zargar.
One of the biggest contributions of Zargar as teacher came during early 1990’s when the state’s educational machinery was out of gear. He managed to run schools where he worked even in the peak of turmoil.
“He would personally convince students to be regular even during strikes,” says Mushtaq Ahmad Parray, an former student of Government High School, Harda Shoora in Tangamarg. Farooq another former student of Zarger, now himself a teacher, says that Zargar managed to run the school without any break even during the three month-long strike of government employees in 1990.
In September 2003, Zargar was sent to Government High School, Poshker, an educationally backward village of district Budgam. This school had a very poor reputation owing to the disappointing results year after year. The teachers Zargar managed to give 95% result in 2003 -2004 class 10 Board examinations. It was in the same year Zargar was presented with the first meritorious teacher award for the remarkable improvement in the school results.
In September 2010, Zargar received another award for outstanding results for three consecutive years in the class 10 examinations in Government Higher Secondary School Sanoor, Kalipoora.
“Under his headmastership in 2008, the school allowed 45 students to appear for the board examination in which 43 were declared successful with five distinctions. The school allowed 54 students to sit in annual examinations in 2009. 53 students passed with seven distinctions.
The school managed to get 17 distinctions in board examinations in the year 2010,” says Mohammed Yusuf Dar, a teacher of the same school. “During 2008-2009 summer uprising when most of the schools in the valley remained closed, our school was remained open on regular basis,” says Mohammad Yusuf.
“During that period, we started receiving students from some of the reputed private institutions , like Burn Hall Srinagar , Mzharul- Haq, Beerwa and RMP Magam,” says Abdul Majeed, another teacher.
It is not the teachers who claim that Zargar deserved the award but the students also hold a similar view.
“He has been a humble teacher and great mentor who possessed a unique skill in inspiring the students,” says Tariq Aalam one his students.
Zargar believes that it is not only the class room teaching that can help a teacher to get better results in exams, but community mobilization and public awareness is also an important activity to get better output in the schools. “I think it is very important to have the community involvement in the process of educating children,” he says.
Zaragr believes that there must be a sense of self-accountability among the teachers.
“I have never put in my hard work with the aim of getting an award, it was only my sense of self accountability that helped me deliver my best in the classroom. That is also the reason I never sent my own children to private schools,” opines says .
He says that if the society wants to have a better education in our schools the best remedy is to make it obligatory for the teachers to admit their own children in the government schools.
Abdul Rashid Zaragar, now in his last phase of his teaching service, has plans to serve his community even after his retirement. “I will serve my community as a teacher till the my last breath,” he says.