India has just celebrated Teachers’ Day to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of teachers to the society besides commemorating the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was a renowned educationist. While teachers deserve all the respect and appreciation for nurturing students—the pillars of the nation—annual occasions such as this often become monotonous with people failing to look beyond organising programmes, perhaps with a gift or two to honour them.
It is equally important to look at their problems, struggles, flaws and mistakes besides celebrating their contribution and sacrifices to the society. They should be given recognition where it is due but at the same time be told to mend their ways when they go wrong. Like any other human beings, they too have challenges and issues to solve, which is why it is important to hear them out.
If we look at educational institutions and the teaching community in Nagaland, we can see a huge contrast between private and government schools in almost all aspects. Private schools and colleges are way ahead both in terms of number of students and performance. Credit goes to their administration and the dedicated staff. But sadly, teachers in most private institutions are underpaid with many finding it hard to make ends meet. Their hard work is often not reflected in their pay while good performance in board examinations increases the reputation of the schools and attracts more students. It’s high time that proprietors of private institutions look into this persistent issue and come up with a minimum wage / pay system. After all, good pay is necessary to retain experienced teachers too.
On the other hand, teachers in government schools and colleges get good pay but their performance tells a different story. It is a known fact that the proportion of employees in the government sector is much more than what is required, thus eating up a chunk of the state’s exchequer. Lawmakers as well as officials have time and again stressed on the need to seriously take up entrepreneurship citing saturation of employment in the government sector.
Surprisingly, though, most government schools located in towns and cities have sufficient or more teachers while those in remote villages wear a deserted look. Some schools in the interior parts of the state are said to be run by a few teachers while some with just a handful of students are almost non-existent. It is not fair to paint all the government school teachers with one brush but there are many who still continue to draw salary without working, some through ‘proxy’ despite thrashings from netizens on social media.
There may be many dedicated teachers too but some corrupt ones have not only spoiled the reputation of the entire fraternity in the state but also the profession itself too. The state government should look into this issue and relieve from job those who are not willing to give their service to the society. Internet connectivity needs to be improved across the state and biometric systems installed in all the schools and government offices to ensure that employees report for work. Instead of making the government officials run after them to check if they are performing their duties diligently, the teachers should constantly update themselves with the happenings around the world and work on improving the aptitude of students besides providing bookish knowledge. This will equip the young minds to take on the world when they graduate from college.