Recently, I read a news item in which Infosys Chairman Mr Nandan Nilekani spoke about the need to make schools resilient to turbulence, in a keynote address he was delivering at a virtual conference on ‘Future of Schools: Overcoming COVID 19 challenge and beyond’ organized by Ashoka University. Interestingly, Mr Nilekani is also the co-founder of EkStep Foundation that gives a collaborative universal platform that facilitates creation and consumption of education.
The word ‘consumption’ is used in a specific context. Can education in the traditional sense be ‘consumed’?
This has led me to conclude. It is time to change our idea of the role of a teacher. Initially, a teacher was supposed to teach the syllabus designed by the Board or the University. Now, the syllabus has to be taught online through the already created modules on Digital Platforms. The teachers’ role is to identify what is relevant on the Digital Platform and assign that to the students. The teacher has to train the students to access the site/PPT and then submit the assignment/work sheet in the stipulated time period to the site. The planning of the class has to be done at such a micro level that tomorrow if that particular teacher is unavailable, some other teacher would easily fit in the slot.
The onus of molding the students, understanding their individual needs , motivating them to attend the online mode of learning, lies with the parents now. It is a different matter how far the families are empowered to take care of the students now as since a few decades, this responsibility was taken up by the teachers.
This pandemic will also give us this answer.
We all have been talking about the lack of respect the teachers are getting in this fast paced world. Discipline, obedience and a learning attitude is fast disappearing among the new age kids. Are the kids to be blamed for it? Are the teachers responsible for this ? Are the school/college authorities responsible for this? Are the parents responsible for this?
Recently, in the pandemic situation, the issue of school fees is on the rise. Parents are treating schools not as temples of knowledge like in the good old days, but as agencies commodifying education. The parents do not want to pay the fees for this session as the school is not actually operating. The school is not utilizing its infrastructure, electricity and other resources in training the children. As far as teachers’ salaries are concerned, the simple logic is that the management has a lot of money to pay to the teachers and the non teaching staff. They have earned a lot of money till now and now it is there responsibility to bear the loss.
No class-No fees.
This seems to be like if I go to buy vegetables, I bargain and demand the exact equivalent of what I am paying the vendor. Are the parents themselves not treating schools as just agencies? They are saying that they don’t care whether the teachers get paid by the management or not. The management earns a lot of money enough to last their 5-6 generations. And that it is time that they bear the losses. The general animosity between the parents and the school, also prompts the students to not have the expected respect for teachers. The child is a witness to all the accusations and bargaining.
Are they not evaluating the worth of a teacher who is in the important process of teaching the child? Isnt it that we all are responsible to demean the worth of a teacher and the school?
The teacher has to be a coordinator and not a teacher. He or she will have to visit the various archives and find relevant material. Then ask the students to visit the sites and study. Then if they have questions, he or she will have to moderate the ques and ans session. Apart from that, the main role of a teacher is to be a mentor and a facilitator, a counsellor and a friend, at times. The child obeys the teacher out of admiration. For him/her, the teacher is a role model. He trusts that the teacher knows it all, is akin to God. If we replace this bond by a give-take relationship, can we support the kids mentally within the nuclear family systems?
It was the visionary zeal of Swatyantraveer Vinayak Damodar Sawarkar that prompted him to opine that after independence, while building India, we need to pay great attention towards the security sector and the education sector. The Teachers and the Police department should be strengthened financially. The teachers have the responsibility of creating the future generations, make them strong and reliable. In turn, they would give India its identity and build a strong foundation.
And the police department would see to the internal as well as the border security, never letting anything trouble India. Do you think this makes sense? So are we respecting our teachers and the police department in the desired way? The blame should not be placed upon the young generation. Are we not equally responsible for demeaning the value of a teacher by commodifying and quantifying their contribution?
I leave you people with this thought and urge you to comment and discuss here on this platform. Please share your views on this very important topic.