Why Robust and Efficient Pathways to Career Development for Teachers must be Priority?

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ll professions offer their recruits the opportunity of pursuing a career and its advancement thereof, in the sense that individuals can be promoted through a clearly delineated promotions hierarchy. This aspect of a career is referred as its vertical mobility dimension. Promotion is regarded as the passage to a higher rank and is one of the reinforcers of the rewards system to help motivate employees. From a motivation perspective, if rewards are allocated only on non performance factors like seniority, job title and so on, employees are likely to reduce their efforts. On the other hand, in a hierarchy using promotion solely as a reward for good performance , people tend to enhance their performance( in fact, ‘pay for performance ‘ programmes are gaining more popularity)
With utter disregard to the modern day career advancement opportunities, J&K continues with less motivational promotion policy of employees , especially the teachers which is one of the reasons of their declining performance. Besides adopting seriously faulty and silly methods of recruitment, the career development opportunities are equally limited for school teachers.
A large number of trained post graduate and qualified candidates have made their way in the school education department during the past two decades but there is hardly any motivation for these immensely talented young energetic teachers as the system still rewards seniority rather than sheer talent or efficiency. There are so many other departments which offer promotions to their employees through departmental examinations, why no such opportunities for teachers who deserve to be rewarded, recognized and motivated on the basis of their performance?
There is no rational logic behind promoting an employee or a teacher merely on time bound basis. Many a times, teachers are promoted as lecturers or masters when they are at the verge of the retirement or have lost their interest in assuming a new role .It would be really beneficial even for the students and the department itself if after 5 or 6 years service in the school education department a teacher is given an opportunity to appear in a departmental examination to enable himself to become a master or a lecturer. It would always keep a teacher motivated and up for the challenge.
There is also a perception that many teachers after managing degrees from less known universities across India happen to get promoted as lecturers merely on the basis of seniority and without undergoing any real test for the promotion. Such masters and lecturers hardly possess the efficiency and the capability to deliver as the position demands which eventually affects quality education. The teachers or masters who are elevated as lecturers or headmaster on seniority basis after rendering long services hardly possess the intensity to cope up with their new assignments simply because they are either disinterested or don’t have the required knowledge to teach modern concepts of various subjects.
A well planned departmental examination is also necessary because many educators want to spend their careers as classroom teachers guiding students through the day to day processes of learning and growing .but some also want to take additional responsibilities, experience new challenges and be a leader to students. It is important to understand the fact that while a teacher is honing his or her teaching skills and developing a great reputation in the classroom, there’s more he or she can do to prepare himself or herself to eventually move on to a leadership role.
A performance bases reward will also motivate teachers to know that just because the bell rings at 3pm doesn’t mean his or her work day is over but he or she has to upgrade his or her knowledge and update him or herself to take on additional responsibilities. In many countries and even in Indian states like Delhi school Principals and vice principals are directly recruited as well.
J&K has witnessed degrading standards in education because scheme based recruitment and less pay salary of teachers has rendered the teaching job as unattractive and, as such, many talented young students having higher qualifications opt not to choose their careers as school teachers. To redeem the glory of teaching and to motivate the more talented youth to build their careers in teaching, it is imperative that career advancement is guaranteed on the basis of performance and actual talent possessed by a teacher. Job enrichment has many other benefits also which include increased mental health of employees ,job satisfaction, increased motivation to work, improved performance and effective utilization of human resources.
The intrinsic aspects of motivation also include achievement, recognition, satisfaction derived from the challenging nature of work, responsibility and advancement. When all these factors are ignored when it comes to education, the quality is bound to suffer .There is also a popular opinion that government should also switch on to a one time benefit for reserved categories during appointment so that quality is not made a casualty. There’s no harm even if masters are given opportunity to appear in departmental examinations to get promoted as Headmasters and zonal education officers. It never means seniority should be undermined but there should always be scope for advancement on the basis of capability and performance.
The annual performance of teachers based on results and most importantly extra co curricular activities should be duly respected while awarding promotions in order to trigger a competition among teachers which will only benefit the students and ensure better standards of school education. The role of teacher has drastically changed; it is not just about dissemination and retention of knowledge anymore. Students in the present time can access to any content or concept through Google or YouTube. Therefore, the teacher has to remold himself as a guide, facilitator, counselor and a leader only then moderate global citizens can be produced for a promising future. One can only hope that better sense prevails and people at the decision making level understand the need and importance of bringing about change in the existing system of rewards and promotions to ensure a uniform system and equality of opportunity for all based on a fair procedure.

—The author is a writer and a columnist and can be mailed at: rayeesmasroor111@gmail.com