Improve Accountability

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State education ministry’s effort to restore the pristine dignity and social status of the teacher is welcome. It is a fact that material rat race over the decades has lead teachers to fall from the grace they once enjoyed. It is also a fact that they themselves are the principal contributors in compromising the position they were holding in the social stratification of the place. But that should not prevent the society from encouraging them to regain that status.

This also is a fact that the status is directly responsible to the contributions that one makes. So the education set up will have to undergo a lot of self introspection, even claiming that status back. There is no harm in making teaching the best paid job but that must wait till the change take off from ground zero.

Off late, teachers have become just another trade union. In fact, their leaders are the new fixers in the governance structures bartering votes and influences for the concession they seek from the government. They are the ones who are opposed to the idea of cross-checking the academic credentials of the people we call teachers. They are the people who do not want the Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers to sit in examination so that they are re-evaluated for the positions they are manning.

It is also a fact that the most of the problems J&K’s educational set up is confronted with are not a direct contribution of the teaching fraternity. But the mediocrity that reigns in the teaching stuff is complicating managing that mess.

Our texts are the best testimony of why teachers have outdated mindset. It explains how they have not been touched by the revolution that IT has brought in. It gives a clear idea how ignorant they are about the designing that a new generation is keen to have in their school bags. Off late, the vigilantes in the academic set up have started identifying the Himalayan mistakes that have been left in the text of various classes.

These issues are clear even in the question papers during examinations. Off late, there have been shocking revelations about the wrong questions being asked. In High Court, a case is pending about state subordinate bard in which more than 100 objectives questions were wrong!

Off late, the cell phone has immensely contributed to the happenings in the academic set up of the state. Now, we have students cooking food for teachers, offering them personal comforts, encouraging copying and even taking load of their teacher’s home. This also is a fact that the education ministry has taken note of all these instances and acted quite fast.

Unless these critical issues are not taken seriously and solutions thrashed out, there is no possibility of teachers even claiming the status they have already lost. Official circulars may give them a better seating arrangement, once-in-a-lifetime, but they will never be accepted by the society the way they were acceptable earlier. Interestingly, the faculty in the institutions of higher learning is suffering from a different set of issues than school and college teachers.

There are issues in curriculum, presentation, teaching techniques and the human resources managing all this. Change cannot happen overnight. A process has been set in motion and it is at initial stage of implementation. It might take some time to trigger a change but the emphasis has to be on continuity and response, from society as well as the teaching fraternity.

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