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Challenges for a teacher in J&K

Challenges for a teacher in J&K Challenges for a teacher in J&K

By Bilal Ahmad Wani

Education illuminates a candle of modesty in our inner world that wipes out obscurity of our heart and head and leads us to the ultimate goal of life. Education in modern age seeks to preserve, transmit of advance knowledge and is committed to bring change for the betterment of society. Education is teaching and learning skills, values and knowledge.

In Jammu and Kashmir, there is a considerable progress in education sector by opening schools in every nook and corner which long ago was a dream too hard to accomplish.

“When schools flourish, all flourishes’’(Martin Luther).The great Philosopher Socrates says, “A nation is known by its school, a school is known by its teachers”. Since teachers role is pivotal in this whole process of education, his position and role becomes very important.

The teachers’ role is not merely to teach the students how to read a book, how to collect and store information and how to stuff his mind with facts. Today computers and technology can do it much more accurately. The teachers’ prime duty is to teach the student how to use the knowledge for the further advances in knowledge and improvement and ennoblement of individual and individual life. In other words he has to impart values to the students under his care. For this purpose the teacher will have to lead by example and not by percept alone.

Our teachers in government sector are equally meritorious and well equipped with professional degrees like D.Ed., B.Ed., and M.Ed. Moreover, the Department of Education also invests a lot of time and money upon their knowledge up gradation and training purposes but still the performance of the teachers working in government sector is very deplorable as is evident from their results every year. Each time we talk of poor performance of the government schools, it is a teacher who is taken as the prime culprit. It is a fact that onus lies with the teacher and consequently shares greater amount of responsibility.

It has been seen that most of the time public and official wrath strikes a teacher at the end of the academic session usually after the declaration of board results while he always struggles very hard to highlight his problems throughout the year. At the end of the academic session teachers are subjected to transfer and re adjusted based upon the norms fixed by the department with the intention to infuse new energy among the teachers besides fulfilling the need of teachers at appropriate places.

Unfortunately the transfer norms are never followed properly and there are many loopholes in the existing transfer policy in the sector. The wrong implementation of transfer policy has led to the seemingly shortage of teachers at some places and heap up of them at many places. It is an admitted fact that this irrational distribution of staff is one of the main problems facing the school education department that hinders its growth and efficiency.

Why don’t our bureaucracy and political leaders take necessary measures to help the department in the rationalization process .The irrational distribution of teachers is the single factor that has rotten the system internally? Presently rationalization of the staff in government schools has become indispensable for the successful functioning of the ailing government education system. There are many teachers who are eager to volunteer on priority basis to work in needy schools for a fixed time period so that the initiative of rationalization of staff gets a jump start.

In this direction an initiative was taken up by some CEOs in their respective districts but that too proved to be a big flop because of the bureaucratic and political interference. In order to make the concept of rationalization of the staff, accountability of teachers and the administration a step forward, our teacher community along with their forums in cooperation with the community need to launch a comprehensive campaign that would struggle for the betterment of our derailed education system.

The teachers are very much eager to serve the poor children enrolled in our school education department but it needs the support and cooperation of various stake holders including the administration and political leaders. While making transfers the basic norms are taken into consideration that unfortunately seems a distant dream in the present school administrative setup.

Another gruesome issue concerning the education department is too much involvement of teachers in non-academic activities such as election duty, census, and various other government surveys. Besides these some of the teachers are permanently deputed to other departments such as Revenue department as Boot Level Officer’s (BLO) that adds more severity to the ailing education system. In government sector we have less number of working days due to the frequent holidays, strikes, harsh climate and therefore under such conditions involving teachers in nonacademic activities waste a lot of their academic work that in turn affects the students studying in government schools.

This renders them unable to compete with the students from private sector and rest of the country. A teacher is used for managing and serving of MDM (Mid Day Meals) in schools that affects the academic work in schools as it takes a lot of time to arrange the food items for the purpose and takes months to clear the expenditure bills in the offices. In high schools and higher secondary, teachers are not only used for maintaining school records but also to draw salary and other bills which usually was the job of the well trained non-teaching staff, who on the other hand don’t want to waste their time in these educational institutes and prefer to remain in education offices for the reasons better known to all.

It really hurts to see a teacher performing the job of a clerk for which he was never trained. A teacher is being deprived of his salary for months and then to expect wonders from him is an unfortunate thing. There should be a proper mechanism to provide salary on time and facilitate many other facilities for his personal and professional development.

The work culture in education offices is one of the major obstacles facing the education sector in their functioning .Official communications are often delayed that results in non-accomplishment of various processes vital for the successful functioning of the school. Another vital issue which is worth mentioning is the issue of lethargy accrued in some teachers who continue to use old and outdated methodologies in teaching and are resistant to change.

Despite being trained through rigorous training programmes brought to them by RAMSA and SSA, it seems that they don't shun their pessimistic attitude and continue to spread it to the young and energetic ones who are otherwise enthusiastic to bring in fresh hope in the ailing education department. Proper training of teachers and strict implementation of already existing accountability mechanisms will help to solve this problem to a great extent.

Isn’t it too difficult to be a good teacher in our education department? Being a teacher in our education system is a challenge that too when none of the accountability mechanisms are in vogue and the menaces of corruption, nepotism, favoritism etc., are rampant in these education offices. Every stake holder needs to think and act for the betterment of our education system so that the mission of dissemination of quality education can be easily realized. There is a need for a change both at the policy level and at administration level so that the position and dignity of a teacher is restored back and our derailed system of education gets back on track.

Teachers need to organize their efforts for sustained and effective implementation of already existing laws so that the poor children studying in our government schools are saved from further deprivation.

*Bilal Ahmad Wani is a government teacher and presently deputed to the Department of Botany, University of Kashmir. He can be mailed at bilalsir2011@gmail.com

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Bilal Ahmad Wani

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