Reforming Education Part 3: Teachers and Shortage

We have observed and known that our teachers are paid meagre compensation. This is one of the reasons for not getting talent to train the future generation of the country. It is not that we don’t have talent. We have few best brains teaching world in few of the best Universities across the world. We have failed miserably in retaining the talent which can redefine our nation. We make lot of fuss of having biggest pools of doctors and engineers but equal fuss should also be of not being able to train this pool by the best brains. The meagre salary which we pay to our teachers from primary to higher education leads to brain drain and private teachings. This is one of the reasons of the boom of coaching institutes.

This is worrying trend because the advantage which we have in terms of youth may become our biggest disadvantage if our students fail on bigger stage or lose out to other students of the world. Quantity and quality of highly specialized human resources determine their competence in the global market.

  • Why is that we don’t have any Nobel prize after CV Raman?
  • Why is that our best institutes fail to deliver world class researches and papers?
  • Why is that there has been perhaps no reckonable contribution from our country in any stream of education in past 3-4 decades?

The simple reason is that our students don’t get requisite guidance and support which is quintessential for them to do research and other things. India needs to wake and pump in funds to retain the best talent in teaching and creating world class infrastructure.

An idea of having Indian Teaching Services (ITS) on similar lines of IAS/IPS is also worth giving a thought. If we can have ITS on similar lines of civil services then we can attract best brains and teach them to deliver a punch to growth of the country. This also can solve the case of paying low salary to our teachers. The idea may appear naive but if worked out properly is very much possible and can set a trend of attracting and retaining the talent to our educational institution. It may take some time to give results but we should make a start at the earliest. This can also be one of the solutions to the problem of having uneven teacher student ratio in our colleges. The shortfall of teachers can also be countered by investing more money into education. The biggest challenge faced by higher educational institutions in India is the acute shortage of qualified and competent faculties. “Lamenting the shortage of high quality faculty for prestigious management and technical educational institutions in the country, a mechanism should be devised to enrol and retain quality faculty by providing them more incentives and research facilities. (N R Narayana Murthy).” The returns of the educational investment are may be late but it is cute and best for the nation building process and personal development also.

I would like to end with a line by MK Gandhi-

“Hesitating to act because the whole vision may not be achieved or others do not share it is an attitude that only hinders the progress.”

Reforming Education Part 2

John F Kenedy once said that “All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talents.” But there is no denying that our education system does not provides an equal opportunity to all. The coaching institutes about which i mentioned in my last post are the biggest player in making the opportunity unequal. The one from well off background are able to utilize the coaching institutes to their advantage and the one who cannot afford fails to make a cut on a bigger stage. These coaching institutes in a way also are responsible to attract the best teachers from various colleges by paying them hefty amount as salary. (The meagre compensation which we pay to our teacher is also a reason)

So what is the solution?

Firstly, why can’t we have more institutes like Super 30s being run in Patna? All of us have an urge to contribute to society. It can be great if we according to our capability provide services like this at our level. All of us cannot teach for IITs but we all can contribute at primary level to senior level and may be upto IIT level. What is required on our part is the passion and dedication for making this society a better place. We should have that patriotic feeling within us to ensure that future of our nation is secured and illiteracy is removed completely.

Secondly, why can’t our coaching institutes as part of their social responsibility have a batch of under privileges students? There is no denying that these institutes consider education as business but then every business has some Corporate Social Responsibility. Can’t they play a role in shaping future of many needy students? If Honourable Supreme Court of India can direct private hospitals in Delhi to have few beds reserved for poor then why can’t the same be applied to these coaching institutes? There may be some hurdles in this but if owners of these institutes think of larger picture then this can pay rich dividends to our society.

Thirdly, the problem can be resolved up to certain extent by the schools/colleges them self. As an education provider they should make an endeavour to ensure that all the students brilliant or weak does well. This requires that extra effort be put on the weak students. The best way is that they can have free remedial classes for those students. If an extra effort of few hours can ensure that future of the students then that is the best reward for any teacher or principal.

The education can pave a way for us becoming a developed nation and will ensure prosperity. Education is the movement from darkness to light. Education not only moulds the new generation, but reflects a society’s fundamental assumptions about itself and the individuals which compose it.

Reforming Education Part 1: Food for Thought on Teachers Day!

Marva Collins once said, “Don’t try to fix the students, fix ourselves first.  The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior.  When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed.”

Teachers_PrayerThe parallel and commercial education in the form of tuitions and coaching has made deep inroads in our education system and is really detrimental for the future of the youth and nation. I still remember my school and engineering days when we use to rely heavily on the coaching given by some renowned teachers from various colleges as private tuitions for which they charged a handsome amount. The attendance at school and college was merely for fun and getting admit card to sit in examination. The professors and teachers were also aware of this attitude of students and they will also teach during lectures for the sake of it. Very few teachers showed the interest in making their students learn.

This is where a student coming from a economically backward section looses out and eventually hampering his growth as an individual and professionally. Moreover, majority of the students who go to private classes also succeed by rote learning and not understanding of the concepts. Due to this reason majority of our graduates are considered unemployable by the industry. The practical application of the concepts has taken a back stage and the success merely depends on the “guess papers”. Even Narayan Murthy has said that IITs are no longer the quality institutions they were in the 60s and 70s. Stating that the IITs and IIMs have had very few world-class researches coming out of them in the decade gone by, he said, “In 2004, China produced 2,652 PhDs in computer science and in that year the figure was 24 in our country. Attributing the drop in the high standards of IITs to the boom in the number of coaching classes for joint entrance examinations, he said, “Today, students prepare hard for a year solving sample questions for IIT-JEE. One of these samples matches in the entrance examination and they crack the test.”

This is perhaps the biggest drawback of this commercial education where education has become a business and is looked upon as a “golden egg laying hen”. Historically imparting education was considered as most pious and noble profession, but over the period, this system too has got influenced by commercialization and now teaching is no longer a profession of dedication and devotion towards building better people and country; it is all about money and status.

At this point, I would like to ask the teachers,

  • Is it correct on their part morally? I believe that most of the teachers choose this profession because teachers hold the candle of enlightenment, knowledge and prosperity. And if the money lures you away from your duty then the very meaning of word teacher diminishes.
  • Why is it that a teacher who takes so much effort and pain in private classes doesn’t show that much interest while delivering lecture in colleges and schools?
  • Isn’t a failure on your part if a student has to join private classes to succeed?
  • As a morally responsible teacher, aren’t you playing with future of our nation for the sake of money?

My respected teachers whatever India will be in the next generation will depend upon what you do to your students today in the classrooms!!!!