PRECEPTORS AND PRIDE

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PRECEPTORS AND PRIDE

Meaning: The Guru is the creator (Brahma), preserver (Vishnu) and destroyer of ignorance (Shiva). Guru is the absolute lord, salutations to preceptors.

Since time immemorial, teachers have held the highest social status in India. They were revered, awed and worshipped by the rulers and the ruled. However, the wheels of time turned and denuded the glory of the once omniscient and venerated Guru (teacher). The modern teacher is expected to abandon the role of ‘Chalk and Talk lord’ to a facilitator who is flexible in their approach and accommodates society with upcoming trends or in other words be the ‘Agents of Change’.

UNESCO’s ‘Recent State of Education in India’ report points out that around 42% of the teacher’s across private and government sectors in India are working without a contract and earning less than rupees 10,000/- a month. The average monthly household consumption expenditure for teachers is estimated to be approximately Rupees 15,000/- meaning that most teachers need to supplement their teaching profession with other jobs to make a living. Education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world, yet the ones who herald this change are the ones who continue to remain one of the lowest-paid public servants in the country.

The issue is further worse in private institutions where as much as 69% are vulnerable to unemployment without notice, adverse working conditions or deferred pay. The pandemic has further worsened the conditions and resulted in the widespread vulnerability of teachers. Many teachers were seen selling vegetables or tea to earn their livelihood. Teachers (especially in rural areas) who didn’t own laptops, smartphones or 24 hours internet connections resorted to borrowing money to give online classes.

(Wazir Singh, an English guest teacher, was forced to sell vegetables on the roads of Delhi after losing his job due to the Coronavirus-induced lockdown)

The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) acknowledged the reality of unmotivated and dis-spirited Indian teachers and proposes to completely overhaul the teaching profession, however it doesn’t follow up with the recommendations that will transform the way teachers are positioned and treated in the education system. To address them as a ‘Nation-Builder’ on one hand and keep them in both material and social poverty is a perplexing situation indeed. Publicly condemning the black marketeers while still fanning their social prestige and official patronage is another dilemma. Agreeing that the work put in by them is invisibilized by society, the passionate teachers put up a noteworthy effort, and many enthusiastic ideological teachers join the profession every day. The system is fast to extinguish their zest and sooner or later some join other remunerative professions, while other determined ones continue despite all odds.
If the Nation wants to return to its former glory, it would have to return the usurped throne and pride of the preceptors, this in turn would unwind the wheels of time and provide a clear road map to transform the way teachers are positioned in the educational system in India.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 

 

 

The Author Debasmita Mukherjee is a II nd Year Student at St. Aloysius Institute of Education, Mangaluru.


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