MALIK NAZIR AHMAD
Education, for all reasons, remains a top priority for any society and compromise or a plunge in the quality can be fatal because education is a sector where human destiny is cherished and human character is forged and structured. There can be no compromise with it. History bears witness to the fact that the prosperity in the domain of education has resulted into a prosperous society. It has shaped national character and given nations edge over those societies which have remained educationally underprivileged.
As obvious this fact is, so obvious is the pain and trauma that a teacher faces in our society. The community of teachers is highly censored, criticized, bulldozed for time and again. Who to blame for this? Education department has divided itself the same teaching fraternity in different categories viz general line teachers ,RET’s, SSA, 3rd teachers, RMSA Masters and Headmasters ,direct recruits of PSC ,promotees, first grade and second grade and so on. With such chaos and varied distinctions, the masses as well as people from department are confused.
Ironically, these dimensions, diversions, and obstructions to a coherent, well knit and structured system is caused intrinsically by the system itself. Instead of fighting collectively for the derailed and lost status of the teacher by putting heads together in the march towards excellence and transformation of the character of the students, this oddity and perversion has negatively divided our society into haves and have-nots.
Recently Ret teachers where given the run for their life. To ensure their existence, they were forced to hunger strike, traumatized, agonized and humiliated by the same system that adopted them after following a certain procedure and modus operandi. These ill fated men where cherry picked and denied benefits of the seventh pay commission. To many it was a bizarre act and duly recognized with the passage of time and therefore addressed.
However ,the SAC decision of redressal of the issue among certain sections has created an uneasy feeling that the decision has plugged down the chances of employment of some who have taken recourse to unwarranted criticism.
The argument that Ret’s are comparatively less qualified and least competent is absurd. Such views surfaced in many columns especially in many English dailies a few days back. The part of an argument regarding the mediocrity of Ret’s is well taken as below par and things are unacceptable in education sector. But the question that should be asked as a rebuttal is ,”why only mediocrity among this lot only ?” Don’t we find below par things at secondary and higher levels? How could you forget the appointment prior to 2011 when majority got appointed by submitting certificates obtained from universities where one needs to submit only a tidy sum to get the degree without cracking any entrance test for admission? Isn’t it a fact that they were having a percentage of their choice thus axing the genuine candidates with lesser percentages? Why this selective banter against a particular community?
That all Ret’s are poorly educated and least competent for the job is farfetched and unreal. Among them there are some excellent teachers who have revolutionised teaching and inspired a good number of students as well as teaching pedagogy. Those who spit venom against them in their writings are themselves unmindful about teaching. They need to understand that it is not essential that a good teacher must have the credentials of the highest academic degree only. What about those highly qualified teachers who fail to deliver in the class either because they feel ill sorted or else lack the professional ethics and honesty. Is teaching all about degrees?
Has experience, professional integrity, commitment nothing to do with education?
What can society achieve with obliteration of this particular community? The critics should feel for their families and understand the trauma and mental torture they faced over the years. How could you forget their contribution towards the education sector when they consumed their prime years by lighting candles in the remotest Hamlets of the valley on a meagre salary of 1500 with the hope of job security and employment? They need encouragement and motivation instead of farfetched and fanciful criticism.
It is better to suggest reforms and come out of the prejudiced mindset so that gaps are filled. An unreal approach and bias against the community must stop now.
It is responsibility of every teacher and conscience keeper to encourage and direct our youth in a proper way so that they won’t feel dejected and disappointed. They will get ample chance to prove their mettle in various departments as well. It is better to guide and motivate them to achieve the Impossible. Instigation will engulf your own intellect and expose your own shortcomings only.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org