Teaching: Not A Profession Of The Average

Seram Neken *

 Okram Ibobi, Chief Minister, Manipur at DMC Multipurpose Hall, for observation of Teachers Day 2013 on Sep 5 2013
Okram Ibobi, Chief Minister, Manipur at DMC Multipurpose Hall, for observation of Teachers Day 2013 on Sep 5 2013 :: Pix - Arunkumar Thongam (DIPR)

(This article is my Teachers' Day tribute to all my respected teachers who taught me right from the primary to the university level. May God bless all of you with good health and long life.)

The bold attempt of the incumbent Education Minister of Manipur to make a complete overhaul of the already rotten educational administration in Manipur needs the cooperation of the people in general, and teachers and guardians in particular. The political commitment of Education Minister M. Okendro towards reformation of the education system is not only a huge challenge, but also a long-term process which cannot be effected overnight. Even the 5-year tenure of the ministry is quite insufficient time to rectify the irregularities created by mismanagement of previous Education Ministries.

'Transfer order for a teacher who had already expired' is no more awkward news pertaining to Education in Manipur. 'Educational smuggling' by way of institutionalizing unfair means during examinations also came up in the educational scenario of the state. We have also heard of posting teachers at 'Ghost Schools' which were non-existent at all.

Highly irrational ratio between 'teachers and taught' has also been common phenomena in most schools particularly in the remote areas. Recently, we have come across schools where number of teachers almost doubled the number of students. 'School authorities becoming furious over transfer of its teachers en-mass without taking into account the students enrolled for the ongoing session' have also been burning topics.

Shortage of teachers and lack of school infrastructure have also been widely reported in local newspapers nowadays. These are surely the instances of an ailing educational management, the rectification of which will take time and efforts. On the other side, such news items are encouraging the efforts for renovation and rectification of education system in Manipur. The role of local organizations, students' bodies and civil society must be welcomed by the present government.

Today is Teachers' Day, the celebration of which is highly relevant to the ongoing efforts for bringing about quality education in the state. Considering the need for maintaining an intimate Guru-Sichsa (teacher-pupil) relation for producing good students, observance of such a day by the student community is a must. Besides extending gratitude to the teachers once a year, the students are required to worship their mentors every second, every hour and every day. Discipline and academic excellence would follow automatically, whenever students and teachers develop a continued exchange of mind among them.

One of my beloved teachers once said "If the past and the present are in agreement, future will be bright. If the past is contradictory to the present, future will be dim". As long as we respect our elders, our children will obey us and their future will be bright. Real fruits of celebrating Teachers' Day will be there only when the obedient students respectfully present gifts to their efficient teachers. 'Obedience' is the pupil's trait, while 'Efficiency' is of the teachers.

The question of teachers' qualities as a guide, as a mentor and as a helper arises here. Can we presume the present day teachers? Whether they have the efficiency to produce good citizens from among their obedient pupils?

In Manipur, average people always vie for being teachers in government schools because of the huge unemployment problem. As there are no more job avenues, average graduates find options either to become school teachers, or to be a rifleman in Home department. A few better-off but poor students may opt to serve as private school teachers or to work as Home Tutors in this tuition-oriented education system. Mediocre students who are running after white-collared jobs always turn to teaching profession, having no other avenues for jobs.

Bribery, corruption and nepotism, at the same time, encourage unqualified persons to occupy the most coveted teaching profession, thereby maligning the sanctified teaching profession. During the time of recruitments of teachers, most educated graduates even sell out their assets only to buy positions in the teaching profession. If average people come to teaching profession for earning their livelihood, quality of knowledge imparted to students is sure to be compromised.

In recent times, Education sector in Manipur has witnessed numerous efforts for a positive change. Education department, which remained the most notorious among various government departments, has seen some sort of reforms under the committed leadership of present Education Minister Moirangthem Okendra. Since his occupation of the education portfolio in the state ministry, Manipur education has envisioned overhauling changes. But its just the beginning, we have to go a long way to attain quality education.

TET (Teachers Eligibility Test) has been a step towards recruiting quality teachers. With the coming of this innovative arrangement, we may hope for better quality teaching professionals who have at least attained the minimum expertise and knowledge. It may be speculated that bribes will have no room to slander the profession.

During the first stint of the present ministry, the education minister upgraded the website of education department and generated public opinion from the people with respect to educational reforms. Months later, the seniority list of school teachers was framed in order to rationalize the framework. Teachers who have long been suffering in their respective schools have been promoted to Headmasters and Asst. Headmasters as per their service records.

Required posts of Principals and Vice-Principals have also been created to end the in-charge style of functioning in educational institutes. Very recently, good news prevailed on the Part-Time Lecturers with creation of lecturers' posts to be filled by them. Long suffering part timers will now occupy their seats as regular lecturers.

The state government has started paying attention to the educational situation in remote areas like the Jiribam sub-division. Recruitment and posting of teachers have been initiated as per the requirements of the area. Implementations of flagship schemes like the Sarva Siksa Abhiyan, RMSA and RUSA have started in the state.

However, renovation of education in Manipur is in its bud today. We have to go a long way to get the much-desired 'Quality Education' in the state. People of Manipur need to support the Political Commitment of the present Education Ministry so that it continuously endeavours to work to reach the end.

* Seram Neken wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on September 05, 2014.

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