Teaching Profession and its Perception in Manipur
- Part 1 -

Ceety Khongsai *

Morning Dew School situated at Kapaar Kachoung Village under Kakching, Manipur.
Morning Dew School situated at Kapaar Kachoung Village under Kakching, Manipur :: Pix - Shonnai Saka


Teaching profession is a noble job says everybody. Practically, however, the nobility of the teaching job in the general perception of the public as reflected in our present day status conscious materialistic society seems to be discouraging as nothing 'noble' has been shown to the teachers by the society. In civilized societies, as in ancient Greece, teachers are regarded as semi-gods and even worshipped by the pupils.

Truly, the fountain of knowledge and wisdom flows from the nature-gifted teachers who are possessors of intrinsic qualities of teaching. In other words, teaching is not everybody's job; it requires special skills and techniques which nature has ordained as in-born qualities. It is, therefore, a pre-requisite to introspect oneself if the qualities of teaching is in him/her before opting teaching as a profession because the onus of continuing the unaccomplished works of God in making human beings (pupils) realized self-realizatIon rests with the teachers.

It may be stated that God created human beings, instilled in them the seeds of wisdom and knowledge. But it is the teachers who, like gardeners nurtured the seeds to its full stature.

The word 'self-realization' imply fullest development of the students' inner faculties that lie dormant but steer up by the teachers to the true path of life through illumination of the pupils' inner eyes. In recognition of this task of soul-transformation and extra-ordinary responsibility in shaping the life of the students by the teachers, the society has since ancient times, accorded respect, honour and even regarded them as semi-gods.

Present Scenario:

Now-a-days, the general perception of the people towards the teachers is excruciatingly humiliating and disgraceful as the job of teaching has been reduced to the most unattractive job. Precisely, teaching job has becomes a purchasable profession.

In this age of stiff competitive world especially in the field of education where the wealth of the nations are measured in terms of the standard of education of its people, it is disheartening nay shameful to learnt that the teachers, who are regarded as builders of the nations' pillars are on strikes, dharnas, class boycott etc. interrupting now and then, the normal regular classes of the students in this strike infested and academic uncertain state, demanding audience of the authorities to pressurize their legal as well as constitutional service rights.

It may not be an over-statement to say that in almost all cases, the demands of the teachers are genuine in as much as they are fully aware of the legality of their demands. Indeed, teachers are fully conscious about the constitutionality of their rights and would not demand the things. beyond the permissible limits specifically laid down in the rules.

And, the most intriguing question which pricks the conscience of the academicians and scholars in our state who, by profession are not necessarily a teacher is about the stoic silence and indifferent attitude of the state government towards the teachers whenever issues affecting the teachers arose.

We may consider ourselves as comparatively more civilized and advanced than our neighboring states but as long as we draw our teachers in the street comers to organize sit-in protests, dharnas, class boycott etc. to demand what is constitutionally due to them, our civilization is incomplete because teachers' voice are heard with dignity in all civilized societies.

It is an undeniable truth that changes in the society since ancient times originate from educational institutions. Verily, all civilizations in the world, past and present, emanate from the brains of the teachers and, these educational institutions are manned by the teachers in all countries and, in all ages. In order to bring about a change in the society every individual must change themselves and also change their perception towards the teachers.

Most importantly, those who are in the higher administrative hierarchy of the government must unavoidably change their mind set towards the teachers as they themselves owe gratitude to their teachers. It is the selfless service and devotion of the teachers towards their students that produced bureaucrats, technocrats, scientists, educationists, politicians etc.

On Quality Education:

In plain word, education means to draw the best out of the students to make them self-independent in life. The prevailing academic atmosphere of our state is rather heading toward doomsday. It's not far away when every building in Imphal city will become schools with permission from Board of Secondary Education, Manipur (BSEM) and University Degrees and Diplomas will be as cheap as bundle of straw in job market.

The large scale commercialization of education by profit-oriented educational institutions established and governed by public fund-swindler-contractors and bandh-happy small-time businessmen becomes a short-time boon for the more than seven lakh educated jobless job seekers as it give them temporary sustenance before they are fully employed in government departments.

However, the wait for permanent employment in this corruption scandal state has turned many job-waiters over-age thereby making them unemployable throughout their lives and shattered their hope of becoming respectable and responsible fathers in the family.

On the other hand, these educated youths are employed by the private institutions with a comparatively lower salary with a higher cost offees from the students in the form of exorbitant admission fees, tuition fees, establishment fees, medical fees, uniform fees, notebook fees etc., etc., extracted from the guardians in the name of providing the Oxford or Cambridge like best type of education to their wards.

The parents/guardians, having been infatuated with the high profile life styles of the bureaucrats of this corruption rotten state, easily fall prey to the false promises of these profit motive private schools. This is simply an extortion game played shrewdly to deceive the parents by the pseudo educational institutions in our state.

Consequently, the standard of teaching and the quality of education recorded an all time low on quality index. In the backdrop of this unhealthy practices, the new generation, having realized the futility of qualifications sans quality collaborated with civil society organizations and education-based NGOs and spearheaded a new 'quality education' campaign to counter the ills by organizing seminars, workshops, symposiums, etc. from grass root level to national level. Sadly, notwithstanding all these much publicized campaigns on quality education, nothing visible and recognizable changes have been made so far.

To be continued ...

* Ceety Khongsai wrote this article as part of a regular column "Voice of Reason" at The Sangai Express
This article was posted on March 26, 2012.

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