Friday, 30 April 2010

A Rendezvous with Quality Education
By Dr Shura Darapuri
Long awaited educational reforms initiated by HRD ministry have at last breathed in a fresh lease of life in the education system. But getting them implemented is the ‘ultimate trial’. The past experience has shown that most welfare measures fail the ‘acid test’. Best of the reforms find it difficult to reach and benefit those whom they are meant for and breathe their last in the files and soon get buried under more files! Right to Education Act, should not suffer the same fate.
‘Education for all’ is certainly important, but the question that comes to mind is whether presently, the education imparted at school is actually doing its job of ‘educating’ the children and training them to be good citizens of the country. HRD minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal, with his conspicuous concern for the nation, time and again emphasizes on imparting of ‘quality teaching’ in the educational institutions of the country. In that case, first and foremost, the phrase ‘quality teaching’ needs to be clearly defined. Is it, that all this while, the students have been kept away from getting ‘quality education’? How is it to be ensured? Some suggest a ‘fat pay packet’ would motivate teachers to teach well. But the next question that comes to mind is what is ‘teaching well’? Teaching the routine subjects well, without inculcating moral values in the child is quality education or training in both, which is important for the overall development of the personality, is to be regarded as the education of quality?
Teachers have a very important role to play in a country. They are like ‘the beacon of light’ for a nation. At one time, occupations providing service to mankind were regarded as ‘noble professions’, and teaching was the foremost amongst them. To teach a child was considered to be a moral obligation and a duty of a teacher. It is none other than, a teacher who knows the significance of education, in building up a nation. And a teacher is morally bound to provide education of quality, salary or no salary! It is the greatest service an individual can do for a nation, provided the sense of belonging to the nation is strong enough! Teachers have held a position of great respect in the past. But with time and reasons unknown degeneration has set in. The explanation is sought in the ‘a cause and effect’ phenomena, the general view in circulation is ‘higher the cost, higher is the standard of education.’ In other words, ‘quality education’ is available at a stone throw provided one has the means to pay the cost. Deep in the heart each and every individual aspires to buy good education at the private institutions. But be it in a private school or a government run school, the issue at stake is, whether the student is actually getting a training in ‘quality education’?
In most institutions, moral science, a subject imparting good moral values occupies a remote corner of the bag, occasionally taken out to give it a passing glance and then kept back to devote more time to the main subjects, scoring well in which matters most. No other subject imparts lessons on ‘morality’ therefore; the subject is rendered insignificant both by the teacher and the pupil, who is too ready to submit in obeisance.
That ‘humility comes with the high intellect’ is considered to be a thing of the past, now it is the rat race for high score that matters! But it is a universally accepted truth that the education is incomplete without good values. The growing incidents of violence amongst students, raises some pertinent questions with regard to the existing education system. How else does a ‘high grader’ in a reputed institution, not for a moment hesitate, to bash up a ‘newcomer’ to death with a ‘shameless’ dexterity of a criminal? How a history or a sociology student even after spending years in completing a doctorate fails to understand the issues of ‘marginalization’ or the ‘pain of the marginalized’ marring our nation and on the slightest provocation, instead of giving it a sound understanding or joining hands with the government in providing alternative solutions for bettering the situation with their expertise, remain forever ready to join the anti- reservation campaign? They too easily see ‘caste’ as ‘clearly’ as their lesser educated counterparts. But it is no fault of theirs but the fault lies in their mentors, their teachers, themselves, who failed to be good role models to their students by not practicing, what they preached or they refrained from preaching the ‘right things’! But the next question that arises in mind is, what were they actually ‘teaching’ in the classrooms?
A great amount of responsibility lies on the shoulders of a teacher. They are like ‘undeclared gods’ to their students at the primary level. Their words are being heard with utmost care, each and every action of theirs is being keenly observed and the message conveyed is being thoroughly internalized. In the company of an erring teacher, a child right from the school level learns to break rules, when, in spite of the tall claims made by the institutions of not resorting to corporal punishment, a child still finds himself being regularly traumatized by the same. Also, when in spite of the fact, that that there is one whole paper on child psychology at the BEd. level, where it is taught to be careful about a child’s emotions, they do not hesitate for a moment, to publicly humiliate the child at the slightest pretext. Their conduct exude ‘professionalism’ of high degree at a time, when their expertise could be easily used to help a seriously ill child, they ‘feign ignorance’ in handling a crisis situation due to which many children have paid a heavy price by ultimately losing their lives. The sexual molestation of the students is also on a rise and it is not easy today for parents, to put whole hearted faith in an individual claiming to be a teacher. Human sensibilities would refrain to call such individuals ‘teachers’ who have no control over their senses and so easily forget the lessons of humanity which is the foundation stone on which the citadel of education is build! If the future of our country is in the hands of such ‘teachers’ the doom of the nation is not far!
Dr Shura Darapuri
Coordinator (I/C)
Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar University,

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