By Manzoor Ahmad Parey
In response to the government order that from now onwards, private tuition will be allowed only after permission from concerned authorities, which comes under the back drop of the High courts’ order that government cannot issue a general order banning private tuition by teachers. While quashing the circular, Honourable High Court Observed, “It is pertinent to mention here that Rule 10 does not enable the State Government to issue general instructions to the officials of the Education Department for imposition of such a complete ban. Therefore, the action of the State Government in imposing a general ban vide impugned circular dated 04.01.2017, which only extends to the teachers, cannot be sustained in the eye of law”.
The education system from last few decades has changed considerably. There was a time when only those students were required to go to tuition centers who could not cope with their studies. It was considered as a disgrace if a child went to these tuition centers after school time. Today, fortunately or unfortunately things have changed completely and even brilliant students are moving to these coaching classes; moreover during contemporary times , it has become a fashion and even parents link it to their reputation. It is also a fact that parents think that there is something in these tuition centers which fulfills the demands of students and to be fair there are some coaching centers who by the dent of their hard work have built a reputation of producing excellent results. There are many examples where a meritorious student has been guided by these centers and ended up being a successful in their career. It is also a fact that coaching centers exist when there is a demand for these centers.
Whether a government school teacher should be allowed to teach beyond official working hours or not, I think it is against the concept of natural justice to bar a government teacher from private tuition even after official hours of service, and above all, to particularize a teacher only when doctors and other employees are performing private practice without any hindrance and government dictate. It becomes an added injustice to a ‘poor’ teacher. We are living in times where the needs have increased and savings have decreased, so, if at all a teacher wants to live a comfortable life, he/she needs to have a multiple source(s) of income, which is their legitimate right like others. When our doctors are earning lakhs of rupees by means of private practice done in broad day light under the nose of administration , why then teachers are singled out?
Simply issuing an order that teachers will be given VIP status will not work and it will hardly make any difference until and unless a pragmatic approach will not be used to uplift the status of teachers. Moreover, does the teacher have no right to live a decent and comfortable life? Why on earth have we stereotyped the teacher as a ‘poor’ ‘master ji’, and, if at all we are not allowing them to earn through legitimate means, aren’t we opening the door for them to earn through any other means or simply be a part time business man/woman. It is high time that government should implement the High courts’ order in letter and spirit so that if at all teachers have talent they will sell it and earn more for their family in a legitimate way, according to their capacity or capability. Apart from that, if a teacher continuously keeps himself/herself engaged with teaching learning process even after school time, it will simply increase his/her professional capacity which will in turn help him/her to become a more proficient and effective teacher.
It is also true that certain tuition centers have been converted into business centers in collaboration with few government teachers but , at the same time , a blanket ban on these coaching classes by government is an act of sheer injustice. Teachers should be given a chance to enlighten us more and more; they should not be restricted illegitimately because of the few people in the department who are hell bent on damaging their status by wrongdoings. The whole community should not be the victim of government dictates. These few should be identified and punished accordingly, while others should be given a fair chance for the betterment of the society in general, so that our children will put their best efforts to compete with the rest of the world.
Banning teachers’ private tuition cannot be an appropriate solution ; instead, these coaching centers should be regulated in a certain way that under no circumstances a teacher should be allowed to work for these centers during official hours and if at all found then he/she must be penalized even to the extent of termination of service. But if he/she wishes to continue teaching before or after official hours , he/she should not be stopped and, most importantly , this permission business should be discouraged instead full-fledged regulatory mechanism should be framed and supported by network of monitoring officials who will keep surveillance on teachers whether this framework is being implemented or not.
If the government suggests teachers to get permission, this will waste the precious time of teachers by wandering from one office to another for getting their permission done and it will also open the doors for corruption and another industry will take birth within the prestigious education department, which has the responsibility to enlighten us all. The best thing the government can do is to put a limit on the maximum fee that these teachers can charge during these private classes. This way, we can prevent unnecessary high fees being charged by these teachers during tuition classes.
Last , but not the least, it depends upon the conscientiousness of the teacher whether he/she is delivering the things same way in government schools as during his/her private classes so that it will not create doubts about their credibility and will not give space to people as well as authorities to put a question mark on them.
—The author is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Higher Education.
—He is currently posted at Government Degree College, Ganderbal, Kashmir and can be reached at: [email protected]