The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher

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The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher

Thursday, 03 October 2019 | Dr Gaurav Sanjay & Dr BKS Sanjay

World Teachers Day, also known as International Teachers Day, is celebrated on October 5 every year. This day provides the occasion to celebrate teaching profession worldwide to take stock of achievements and to address the issues related with this profession.

This is an occasion to commemorate the teaching profession’s contribution to educating the children of the world. The theme of World Teacher’s Day- 2019 is ‘young teachers: the future of the profession’.

More than 100 nations celebrate the World Teachers Day globally. In our country, the national teachers day is celebrated on September 5 every year. Former President of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday falls on September 5. Hence, the nation has adopted his birthday as a teacher’s day since 1962 to celebrate the contribution of Radhakrishnan who was a teacher by profession.

In India, traditionally, Guru Poornima is observed as a day to venerate teachers since thousands of years. In Indian tradition, the teachers are placed socially above the parents and very often equal to the god. As the great Indian saint Kabir said, “Guru Govind dou khare, kake lagoon pay, balihari guru aapno, Govind diyo batay”. Translated it means-“Both teacher and God are in front me, whom to honour first? I am indebted to the teacher who showed me god.” One can well understand importance of teachers in Indian culture.

But contrary to the above saying, more than three-fourth of contractual teachers failed to get the minimum pass marks in a recruitment test. There was a media report in March 2009 which state that out of 66,736 sanctioned posts of teachers in Delhi Government Schools, more than a third (25,000) of the teaching staff posts were filled by guest and contractual teachers who had been teaching in the school for several years. They were demanding regularisation. The Government asked them to pass a basic written recruitment test to become permanent teachers. Of the 21,135 teachers who appeared in this test, 16,383 (77 per cent) failed.

In a report from Bihar, one fourth of primary teachers tested in class V level subjects failed.  These two reports show the dismal state of affairs of education and teachers in India.

Here, it would be apt to cite another media report from the Bihar regarding the examination which has often been in the news for mass cheating, topper-scam and other anomalies. It was noticed by the nation only when the famous case of topper Ruby Rai came into light. Ruby topped in political science, but she was not even able to pronounce the word political science properly, knew nothing about the subject and was equating political science with home science.

Cheating and copying had been sporadic incidence few years back but now it seems that it has become the norm. The situation had became so bad that Supreme Court of India had to intervene and state that students caught cheating during exams deserved no leniency and should be severely punished.

As per the university regulation, a PhD candidate must qualify in entrance test in order to be enrolled to pursue a PhD degree in a university but many candidates who had not even appeared for the test were enrolled and candidates who appeared but did not fulfill the minimum eligibility requirements were also enrolled.

A research scholar for a minimum of three years can be eligible for the degree but degrees were given within one and a half year to many students.

Many such irregularities were revealed in the PhD entrance test scam of Uttarakhand Technical University in 2017.

Here, one would also like to recall another entrance examination scam which was named as Vyapam scam which was unearthed during 2013 in Madhya Pradesh.

It involved collusion of undeserving students, parents and scamsters including certain politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats, board officials and many middle men who manipulated the exam hall sitting arrangement and managed to employ impostors to write papers and they also tried to forge answer sheets by bribing the officials.

This was not manipulated in only one examination but 13 different examinations including premedical test organised in Madhya Pradesh.

The whole issue is being investigated by country’s top investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation on the order of the Supreme Court of India in July 2015 because Vyapam seems to be vyapak (extensive). Many senior intellectuals of the country believed that Vyapam was just the tip of the iceberg and similar scams in education and recruitment examination are operational in almost in all states of India.

There is one more fraudulent incident-Tamil Nadu NEET impersonation scam reported last week in the media. It is alleged that a son of doctor got admission in Theni Government Medical College in Tamil Nadu by engaging a proxy candidate to simultaneously write the exam for him with same credential from other centre. Tamil Nadu CB-CID hinted at a larger racket that could be spread across the country.

A single national level National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for undergraduates (NEET-UG) was introduced recently to get rid of existing menace of capitation fees and other fraudulent activities which were prevalent in medical entrance examinations across the country.

NEET-UG 2019 was conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) of Government of India this year. The authors were already having the apprehension how long NEET will remain neat. But, after learning of the above mentioned scam, it seems even NEET will not remain neat as expected by Government of India.

The authors also believe that theses incidences are the tip of the iceberg. They show the standard of education and that of the examination as well as the standard of the teachers.

After learning of such facts one can imagine what will be the future of the nation because we believe that health, education and nutrition are the three basic pillars of the growth and development of any nation.

One appeals to the authorities concerned to check this menace so that future of the nation can be saved.

Education is one of the important pillars of the growth of an individual and ultimately of the family, society and the nation.

Living together is itself an education. The children learn from the family and environment. Jean Jacques Rousseau a French revolutionary philosopher believed that people are born basically good, it is society that corrupts and makes a man evil.

After our parents, the most important role played is by teachers in the process of our learning about life around us.

Rousseau states that the teacher should be standby in this period of child development, ensuring that the child does not acquire bad habits.

Nothing counts as much as school as stated by Horace Mann, an American educational reformer who promoted universal public education and teachers

training schools. He also said that where anything is growing a former is worth of thousand reformers.

John Dewey, an American educationist said whatever role is of food and reproduction in existence of physical life of humans, similar role is of education in their social life. The growth of the society or the formation of society is not because of physical closeness of the people but the similarly of the thoughts.

Dewey said that the governments elected in a democracy cannot be successful unless the electors who are governed by these governments, are educated.

The role of the teacher becomes very important as a teacher understands that development of every child is equally important and recognises the responsibility and faith that a parent places on the teacher when a child is sent to school.

According to BR Ambedkar, an architect of the Indian constitution and educationist, education ought to be brought within the reach of everyone, hence, education should be cheapest in all possible ways and to the greatest possible extent.

In India, the Right To Education Act was made in 2009 and in 2018, the UNESCO adopted the theme, the right to an education means the right to a qualified teacher. However, seeing the current situation in India the right to education cannot be realised without trained and qualified teachers.

(Dr Gaurav Sanjay is an orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon based in Dehradun. Dr BKS Sanjay is an orthopaedic and spine surgeon, and the founding president of State Chapter of Indian Orthopaedic Association)

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