But most of the teachers are doing fine and their work is awardable. It is because of those noble teachers that government schools are performing fairly well if not living up to the expectations fully yet. Without exaggeration, if these teachers get better facilities and recognition, they can open a new chapter of excellence in the teaching-learning field of J&K. Apart from teaching children even amid the COVID-19 pandemic through online or community classes, the school teachers here serve this society in other roles as well. Since the emergence of the deadly disease, these teachers worked at COVID- centers at the cost of their own comfort and life.
While people were saving their skin from the fatal illness, the teachers were leading from the front for the safety of public and serving the patients like nurses and doctors. Not only that, the teachers have worked shoulder to shoulder with the health workers during the COVID vaccination programme and have went from door to door to get people vaccinated. Are these acts by the teachers not a reflection of their spirit of service and sacrifice? No monetary compensation can be a substitute to this dedicated service from the school teachers.
For election duty or census, it is the school teachers who are asked to perform the duty. Although this is a very risky undertaking in Kashmir context, the teachers perform it at the expense of their comfort and even life. One may argue that the teachers are government employees and can be used to work in any capacity, but are teachers the only government employees at the grass roots level? Now by performing these big activities, the teachers are serving this society. Yet, we mistreat them in public institutions by delaying the redressal of their issues to make them do rounds to an institution or go from pillar to post to get their job done.
Do not forget, teachers generally prove very good neighbors and responsible citizens. Granted, I repeat there may be some bad elements like there are in every sector. Never has a teacher taught students to smoke, abuse others, steal things or indulge in corruption to harass public. Never, has a good teacher been seen smoking or doing any other mischief for others to learn indirectly; there are government employees who smoke publicly and at times use children to buy cigarettes for them. These employees have been caught doing other social evils as well besides using foul language in public.
Teachers fight against domestic violence against women; seldom a teacher–one in a hundred— goes for a divorce. Very rare cases of teachers can be found at public courts. Additionally, teachers, especially the school teachers do not work for the consideration of extra income. Whenever public visits schools for any piece of work, teachers do it without any greed. Thus, teachers do not indulge in bribery or public harassment for money. We have seen teachers leaving their own chair for an elderly person visiting a school or writing an application for a person visiting a school. Not a single penny is demanded in return. No blackmailing at all. But what do the school teachers get in return on most occasions? Exploitation, hate, undue criticism and denial of recognition. Which government employee is doing far better than teachers? Food for thought!
Doctors first are public servants not masters. For them the health of patients should never be just a case to toy with but a sacred duty to treat it with patience and understanding. Intolerance from a doctor on paid duty amounts to a punishable offence and the breach of the social contract. Isn't it unlawful if any employee or a doctor in this case subjects to hardships the patients/public and takes for granted their time, honour and feelings — to satisfy his/her ego?
December 12 is observed as a "Universal Health Coverage Day" adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2012, urging countries to accelerate progress on UHC. “UHC means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.”
Employees need to be role models for people; good public service cannot be done by an outdated mindset having no background in social sciences, culture and having no respect for public hardships/ needs and time. Change according to the times is essential for improvement. The kind lady doctor needs to know that a change in the attitude is real education and there is a need for a paradigm shift if primary healthcare is our concern.
(Author is a teacher by profession and is a columnist. He can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org)