September 5. The focus was on teachers across the country and while Manipur also joined the rest of the country in celebrating Teachers’ Day as a mark of respect to Dr S Radhakrishnan, one need to really think where teachers, as understood universally, stand in today’s Manipur society.
And it is here that some hard, plain talking is needed. How many of the present day teachers really fit the bill of ‘Oja’ ?
This term is not just a translation of teacher into Manipuri, but carries with it a whole lot of meaning and how many of the teachers today can really say that they are Ojas ?
This question has been necessitated by the reality that today it has become difficult to single out those engaged in the noble profession of teaching and moulding the young minds from those engaged in other profession.
How many of the present day teachers really understand and appreciate that being an Oja means much more than just teaching 2 plus 2 is equal to 4 in the classrooms but is also about being a role model, a person who the students look up to and try to emulate.
However all these noble traits identified with a teacher have been washed away in today’s rapidly commercialised world and in many cases, to be a teacher is no longer among the top choice of numerous students in school and college.
Why this is so is a question which the policy framers of the land need to look into.
Society too need to look inward and see why teachers, particularly school teachers, no longer seem to be the aim and aspirations of the best talents.
A question which should be studied and analysed deeply and sincerely for it is at the school level that the young minds are first moulded and if the best prefer not to go into the profession of teaching at the school level then it says something profound about where the profession of teaching stand in society’s chart of success.
On the other hand, it is also right that all those engaged in the profession of teaching and running educational institutions need to ponder on the call of Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar to introspect on the teaching system.
Should teaching be understood only through the prism of what is taught inside the classrooms ?
Even here, why is there the growing need for students to enrol in coaching classes/private tuitions before appearing for their Class X and Class XII Board examinations.
Forget about being role models, are the teachers really teaching what should be taught inside the classrooms ?
This question becomes important in the face of the large scale tuition culture all over the place.
Students taking coaching classes for competitive examinations such as NEET, pre-engineering or for other exams conducted by the UPSC and the MPSC is understandable for the pattern is different but why should coaching classes become mandatory for students appearing for their Class X and Class XII Board exams ?
Is it only a question of parents pushing their children into the cut throat world of competition, or is it a question of the students not being satisfactorily prepared inside the classrooms ?
In paying homage and respect to the teachers who have moulded the young minds, all concerned should also raise these few pertinent questions, even though it may not be palatable for all.
And why is it that teachers these days are prone to go on strike at any given opportunity ?
A question which all concerned should delve into deeply.
Source: The Sangai Express