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Why not Teaching as a career in India?

April 25, 2016

“Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Devo Maheshwara,

Guru Sakshat, param Brahma, tasmai shri guravay namah”

 

The slogan mean that “Guru (Teacher) is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Maheshwara (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara are gods in Hindu religion). Guru is verily the para-brahma (Supreme Saint); Salutations to that Guru.

India was a nation where teaching as a profession was deeply revered in ancient times. The relationship between a guru (teacher) and his shisya (student) was considered very holy, and if we were to look into our holy texts such as the Vedas, we would learn of the high pedestal at which a guru was placed in the society. So, how did India, as a country, end up at such a stage where teaching as a profession lost all its respect? How did it reach a stage wherein most of the people in this country, who are taking up teaching as a profession, do so out of their inability and helplessness in finding another suitable job? Why do we not see people wanting to be teacher’s like they want to be engineers and doctors? Two of the many reasons that will these questions about teacher shortage are Job Satisfaction and Salary Issues. Although this problem is very important and is difficult to tackle, there are methods which when implemented can bring difference in the system.

In “Job Satisfaction among Teachers of Private and Government School: A Comparative Analysis”, Raj and Lalita (2013) reports about one of the reasons why teaching is not favorite amongst career choices. They discuss in their paper that one of the most common reason is that teachers are not satisfied by their jobs. Job satisfaction includes flexibility, security and independence enjoyed. Their research shows that “satisfaction among both government and private institute teachers is low regarding opinion counts in the organization” (p. 157). This means that teachers are feeling that they are taken for granted when it comes to decision making for the institute and their opinion has the least say among all the voices. To solve this, authorities should arrange regular formal meetings with the teachers to consider their suggestions also try to value it. They also state thatboth private and government institute teachers show low satisfaction level regarding the factor opportunity for career development” (p. 157). It can be concluded from this statement that teachers are not satisfied with the exposure they are getting. They want to gain more knowledge from teacher training programs and research work. So, for increasing the satisfaction level for teachers in this regard, authorities should try to provide opportunity for the career development to the teachers in this connection.

Similar to the previous article, which discusses Job satisfaction as one of the reasons for decrease in number of teachers in India, the following article talks about para-teachers and how this concept helping in tackling the problem of teacher shortage. In “Para-teachers in India: Status and Impact”, Kingdon and Rao (2010) discusses about who para-teachers are and how they are trying to tackle the problem of teacher shortage. Para-teachers are contract teachers who agrees to work for a specific tenure with some other conditions. Many states in India have started implementing this method of hiring para-teachers which indeed is solving the problem of cardinality of the teachers. But it has its own down sides. The research paper argues that para-teachers’ lower qualifications and lack of professional training begets poor quality teaching. The wages paid to regular and para-teachers differ across the states. Also the nature of their hiring, salaries, training and qualification requirements differ across states (p. 61 – 63). Until the concept of para-teachers becomes common across the country, it won’t have a large impact.

While the first two articles concentrated on two of the many reasons for teacher shortage, the last articles focusses on the ways that can be used to restore the dignity of teaching profession in India. Dhawan (2014) in his research paper, “Restoring dignity to the teaching profession in India” offers some ways to tackle the problem. He proposed some ideas to attract more people towards teaching career. Firstly, we should have campaigns to give teaching its due place. By doing campaigns, we can promote this noble profession and give idea about what to expect in this profession. The analysis argues that it is possible to engage high-caliber college graduates in two-year teaching stints in low-income schools. Secondly, we need to restructure teacher education institute capacity. We need to have some basics ground for every teacher at every stage i.e. what competencies we want in a beginning teacher and an experienced teacher at different level of experience. We need to monitor how teachers are performing in their training programs and what to expect from them and what not. Thirdly, we should introduce practice-oriented teacher preparation programs i.e. teachers should have a form of apprenticeship. New teachers enters the profession with only theoretical knowledge and no practical knowledge. Another idea was to create a professional environment by creating networks like study groups and ‘subject teacher forums’ can aid in enhancing the professional development of teachers. Finally, we can promote rewards, recognition and career progression. Teachers should be rewarded based on their performance and caliber and not on the basis on experience and seniority. Giving accolades to teachers will boost their confidence and compel them to work harder and better.

All the three articles agree that teacher shortage is a major challenge that India is facing and if not reported and not taken care of, India can fall behind the learning curve. Two of the many reasons of teacher shortage is Job satisfaction and Salary problems with the teachers. Though there are steps that can be taken to demolish this problem, Indians cannot deny the fact that they are risking their future by not helping teachers and not giving them the respect they should get. To conclude, it is worth recalling the words of Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler, who had said, “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have.

 

References

Dhawan, A. (2014, February 07). Restoring dignity to the teaching profession in India. Retrieved from http://www.ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=226

Kingdon, G. G., Rao, V. S. (2010, March 20). Para-Teachers in India: Status and Impact. Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 45 No. 12, p. 59 – 69. Doi: 10.1.1.469.6135

Raj, T., Lalita (2013, September 09). Job Satisfaction Among Teachers Of Private And Government School: A Comparative Analysis. International Journal of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research, Vol. 2. Retrieved from http://www.indianresearchjournals.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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