Today, September 5, the birthday of President Sarvepalli
Radhakrishnan, is Teachers Day. I have written many a times in the past on this day and shared thoughts and anecdotes in my blog. It is a good day to remember our teachers and pay respect to the current lot and also to rededicate ourselves to the traditional wisdom to place the teacher (Guru) on a high pedestal as enshrined in Gurubani:
गुरु गोबिन्द दोउ खडे काके लागूँ पाँय
बलिहारी गुरु आपने गोबिन्द दियो बताय
बलिहारी गुरु आपने गोबिन्द दियो बताय
This time I write on this day from a different perspective. I would like to share some of my thoughts with regard to teachers, education and educational system, role of the government and the society in this matter. A teacher plays an important role in shaping the society as PM Narendra Modi rightly said yesterday while addressing the students, teachers and educational administrators that ‘Mother gives birth and Teacher gives life.’ The observations which I like to make are:-
i) The quality and standard of teachers, particularly at the primary and middle levels in government schools, are miserably poor. I saw media reports recently in this regard which were awfully worrisome. The educational administrators should pay due attention to this aspect. It seems that this is the direct result of alleged corruption in recruitment of teachers.
ii) The provisions of the RTE Act require to be enforced strictly. The educational institutions, which claimed and are enjoying the facilities and concessions offered and extended by the government, have become totally commercial. Neither they pay due remunerations to the teachers for their work nor provide seats to the economically and socially marginalized students. The vested interests tend to flout these provisions in one way or the other.
iii) The educational standards and facilities in the government schools are awfully neglected. Obviously, there is no comparison between the end results of the government schools and private schools. It not only widens the educational gaps but also creates social and economic disparities which run against the very concept of democracy. Urgent attention is needed on these aspects of education particularly in the rural areas. If there is a political will, the government can do it. The Kendriya Vidyalayas run by the government are doing very well from the day one. It was gratifying to see it yesterday at the interaction of PM Narendra Modi with students. The students of Kendriya Vidyalayas delivered and performed well. Some guidelines, issued by the UP High Court recently with regard to the education of the wards of government functionaries etc. in government schools, appear to be in order but how to implement them and make these binding in a free society is a big question. Nevertheless, educational facilities in the government schools ought to be augmented.
iv) It is the duty and responsibility of the government to provide for good education in government schools. Education is an important sector which needs attention. Why doesn’t the government think of nationalizing the education sector up to the school levels? Like in the banking sector, there could be private schools too. It will help not only in bringing about uniformity in educational standards but also will act as a much needed social leveling.
v) It is gratifying to note that PM Narendra Modi pays due importance to the subject by interacting with students and teachers on Teachers day. President Pranab Mukherjee also took a class of young students at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and taught them political history. Students get a sense of elation and confidence in the process. It will be good if PM broaches up some of the important subjects like cleanliness, environment, casteless society, corruption etc. as theme subjects in such interactions with teachers and students. The thought process on these important issues of concern coming from the top will trickle down to the young minds and their guides. It will help in cleansing the society of the evils which are gnawing away at the vitals of the system like a moth.
With this, I pay my tributes to President Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishanan and greet the teacher’s community on the Teachers Day.