By Yasir Wani
The movement of renovating the education system has gained pace with innovative circulars from the directorate office. Intermittently, something new is coming from the education department. This is in fact a good omen and if the same passion is maintained, renovation of education system is inevitable.
In spite of these veracities, the needs and demands of teacher community should get key attention. We have to recognize that they are the key stakeholders of this revolutionary process. Their motivation is directly linked to the success of this movement.
As is obvious, the motivation by coercion will lead us to a conflict and the only way out is treating them as being the best human resource which needs special attention in the education policy of the state.
In this regard, I questioned a lot of teachers and did a little bit of research to inscribe how the system can be made more effective.
Human Resource Management (HRM)
The contemporary Kashmir educational institutions are found lacking in the practice of HRM. A separate cell of Human Resource Management in the department of education headed by a professional HR manager is the need of the hour.
Human Resource Management has revolutionized the world in every capacity. Today, the business world cannot afford to ignore this concept and same is the case with education department. The private schools have already initiated this change and I have seen this constituent part getting roots in numerous private schools which directly adds sweetness to their success stories.
Unless and until we don’t know the importance of Human Resource in this modern world, we cannot be a successful nation.
Money as a Motivator
In spite of the other basic facilities, money acts as a key motivator for performing a task. Money is the basic need as stated by Maslow in his Need Hierarchy Theory. But in our state, the case is altogether different. Whenever public employees are seen protesting on streets for their salaries, it is the teachers, which directly affects the education system.
The new education policy cannot flourish unless and until this issue of salaries is resolved once for all wherein ‘the-on-time’ salaries should have a special mention.
Teachers claim that they are asked to do a long range of non-teaching tasks which takes them away from the class. The teachers are the booth level officers maintaining the records of election.
If I have to get an election card, I have to waste the precious time of teachers. They have more concentration in the management of Mid-Day Meals (MDM) than education. A number of surveys are being conducted by the teachers.
Already deficient schools have to assign clerical positions to one teacher which again adds salt to the injury, et al. The new education policy should free teachers from these non-teaching jobs, too.
The teacher-student ratio has also been the cause of concern in government schools. This is directly connected to the quality of education in our state.
In this grim scenario, teachers being engaged in non-teaching activities, training, et al again adds to the grim picture of the education system. The new education policy should not only define the teacher-student ratio but do necessary steps in filling the gaps with fast track recruitments.
Regularization of Teachers
Those who have been recruited on temporary basis (ReT) with the condition of engaging them on permanent basis after 5 or 6 years are being ignored. This has resulted in protests, leading to de-motivation of teachers which has badly affected our education system.
Currently, the teachers are being recruited under the new recruitment policy which also guarantees their permanent position after few years. In order to avoid any such “unknown” circumstance in the future, new education policy should address this issue so that current cases are resolved and future happenings can be averted.
Passing the One Who Fails!
Those who fail in an examination up to 8th are to be passed according to the education department. Though it is also backed by logic, but it has its faults per se. Especially for the teachers, this is a demotivating factor to carry out their work.
Psychologically, teachers get depressed and demotivated by these types of guidelines. A middle path has to be found in addressing this issue too which should also be a part of the policy.
It is also one of the key motivating factors not only for teachers, but also for students as well as parents to get lured to government schools. Somewhere teachers teach in rented schools, somewhere in open air, somewhere schools are without windows/doors.
The tale of our native village (GMS Panzoo Verinag) is something different. A well-established building has been completely constructed on a new design. But teachers still teach in rented building because road leading to the school demands a restoration (only few meters) and non-availability of water (requiring few thousand rupees). If the half of the rent the department is paying for the building would have been spent on the repair of few meters of road and getting water connection, the condition would have been different. A proper infrastructural map that a school must have needs to be the part of the policy.
The teachers that give their best to the students need to be appraised with rewards, promotions, et al. Apart from monetary motivation; teachers also need non-monetary motivation too. New education policy should clearly specify about the performance appraisal of teachers.
(The author has an MBA and PG Diploma in Islamic Banking & Finance.)