Zeeshan Rasool Khan
The role of a teacher in a nation is something that cannot be underestimated. Teacher is responsible for the construction of nation. The future of any nation is dependent on its youth and it is the teacher that builds this future by nourishing individuals’ soul, by shaping its character, caliber and future-bedrock for nation’s progress and development.
Every civilized nation reveres a teacher for his/her importance in society. In countries like China, UK, USA, Turkey, Egypt, Greece and so on, teachers are valued greatly. Teachers enjoy great respect and are equated to doctors in China. In China, parents encourage their children to become teachers and interestingly, in many of above countries, teachers are highly. In the Indian system of education, the teacher has always enjoyed great esteem. In both ancient and medieval periods like Vedic, Buddhist and Muslim period, the teacher has been exalted and profoundly honored. The people including pupils believed that no education and knowledge is possible without teacher and used to serve teachers with devotion.
In present times also, teaching unquestionably continues to be a well-regarded profession and the teacher is an admired person but at the same time he/she is the one whose status, self-esteem is badly mauled intermittently, either by the administration or the public. In our Kashmir, such things are no longer new. Teachers are facing the heat from different quarters specifically from the administration. Earlier, besides academic assignments they were mostly assigned non-academic jobs like, election duty, census data collection duties and were given assignments for implementing various schemes, overburdening the already overburdened as handling students is no ways an easy job. In recent past after recruiting teachers through ReT scheme they were asked to go through screening at the point of time when most of them had turned grey and bald, a sheer mockery with them and their profession. Ironically, they were asked to serve as ‘watchmen’ during last year’s uprising which amounts to belittling them.
In a first of its kind incident, two teachers were fired from a school by administration on their wedding day. On justifying the move, the school management claimed that the duo was in a romantic relationship which had adversely implications for students. The couple was singled out in a manner like they had committed wrong by getting married. The said teachers were correct in claiming that the school management tarnished their image.
In another ignominious incident, a school teacher was allegedly thrashed and made to rub his forehead over his own spit by the SDM, reportedly punished for seeking back a teacher sent on deputation to the SDM office for “election duty” to the government’s winter coaching program. We cannot say that the teacher was inculpable to be exonerated but derogation he faced cannot be rationalized by any stretch of imagination. This is not only individual insult to a person but to a teacher and teaching profession. In a place where a teacher, the heart of the education system is maltreated, how can the system of education run well there? When a teacher, the agent of positive change is affronted and humiliated, how can we hope of any positive change in our society?
Before aiming to make education system better, we should improve the condition of teachers- socially and economically. We need to develop a system that would encourage people to choose this profession rather than discouraging them. It is only then we can have the best education system.
—The author writes about current socio-political issues. He can be reached at: [email protected])