Flawed Metric!

Flawed Metric!
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It is held that the recently created Teacher-II cadre under which thousands of Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers are being regularised is likely to improve the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) at elementary schools in the state, as the cadre has provision of transfers. Over 40,000 teachers-recruited under the state government’s ReT scheme and who were working under the erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) – are being regularised by the administration under the recently created Teacher-II cadre. While this particular measure might carry some traction but the metric that it employs is a flawed one. In the final analysis, teacher to student ratio and its improvement does affect the quality of teaching in terms of more attention to students but it is not the whole story. Improved performance of students is actually contingent on a whole host of factors which includes drastically improved and effective pedagogic methods, robust and vibrant infrastructure, both the hard and the soft variety, improved curriculum that is on sync with the times, extracurricular activities, and an overall academic ecology that redounds to the benefit of students and develops them into well rounded individuals. All these factors, however, are missing from the school and academic ecology of Kashmir. The result is obvious: sub par abilities of students whose natural talents, by virtue of these lacunae, remain untapped and unfulfilled. The need of the hour then is to take a holistic view and perspective on and of education throughout the value chain and focus on these in a way that transforms the educational value chain of education here. One good starting point would be to focus and emphasize upon the quality of teaching and pedagogy thereof. In this regard, teacher training programs can and must be instituted. These have been taken recourse to in the past but the nature of these programs was tepid and lukewarm. A renewed focus is called for. This could include roping in expertise from the developed world and integrating it with modern technology and communications. A blend or synthesis of these could take the level and delivery of education in Kashmir beyond what it is now and thereby impart some lasting and concrete benefits to students. At the end of the day, it is not quantity which is of import but quality. Let then a conceptual review take place and education de designed and delivered in a such a way where the natural talents of students are groomed and refined.