Authorities are going to disgrace us by doing the grading only to get rid of the salary burden: Teachers
It is fact that whenever trainings were conducted in Kashmir all the teachers participated in letter and spirit. Even if the trainings and orientations were conducted in winter season amid biting cold teachers managed to reach up to their respective training centers despite facing hardships. While senior female teachers were also seen participating actively others had to reach the training centers from far-flung places as well. However, this time, higher-ups have come up with a ‘one month short course’ by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) called three phase Integrated Multidisciplinary Professional Advancement Course for Teachers (IMPACT) amid Covid-19 crisis which has not only raised questions but has created disappointment among teachers.
Is it the right time to train teachers? Why is IMPACT only for Grade 2nd and 3rd teachers? Has the trainings conducted so far, been beneficial? Are there only Grade 2 and Grade 3 teachers in our zones? When General Line Teachers (GLTs) were in trainings with Grade 2 and Grade 3 teachers till yesterday, why have they been separated this time? Isn’t there anything fishy? Are G2 and G3 teachers alone meant for teaching? If there are 32 thousand untrained teachers, then who is a trained teacher? Were they then running the system with blind eyes as such till today?
IMPACT is a borrowed foreign concept from a developed country into a developing country. The teachers are of the opinion that the authorities are going to disgrace them by doing the grading only to get rid of the salary burden. They deem IMPACT more a humiliation than training. They believe such integrated course if done in the university under a guide will certainly fetch them a doctorate degree. Fair enough that these trainings train us but the prudence lies in accepting the reality as well which is however otherwise.
Have trainings conducted till today helped our teachers except 5 or 6-step lesson plans? Is there anything obtainable besides these ‘lesson plans’ in these trainings? The trainings ought to be interlinked this way or that, but the irony is this, that each training programme is quite different than the former one. Not only get our teachers confused but the students are bewildered too about the frequently changing pedagogical skills and techniques.
I am reminded of a ‘5 days’ Aspirational District Training Programme’ been conducted by DIET, Sopore on 25th February this year for science and mathematics teachers. The training was just the sheer wastage of time. In this capsule course, mathematics teachers were supposed to be trained by math’s trainers and science by science trainers. But simply the reverse happened. The trainers even failed to answer the simple questions been asked by the trainees. I think an expert’s lecture on ‘how to teach Kashmiri subject’ is more useful than holding too many training programmes of teachers and the lecture of an Urdu expert or poet is more impressive than attending too many trainings. Same is true with other subjects as well.
Teaching is teaching when learning takes place. If it doesn’t, then it is a failure. Give teachers abundant time to introspect and evaluate themselves. Give them time to focus on the loopholes and plug them, themselves. Give them time to complete their syllabi and asses the students’ overall performance well in time. Give them time to focus on the learning outcomes. Assign them the task of teaching only for which they are meant, and then see the difference. I, not at all, mean trainings should not be conducted. Conduct them but without any bias and discrimination. The essence lies in conducting them at an appropriate time, in an appropriate situation with an appropriate people. Lest we will have to pay a heavy price later on while remaining one month away from the institution with IMPACT. Our students have to bear the brunt this time too.
The appropriate time is of course not now when the session is not off and the syllabi deserve to be completed without delay. The appropriate situation is when there is no chaos all around and the appropriate people are those who are un-trained. There are no doubt hundreds of untrained teachers in the department but that does not mean we will weigh everyone in the same balance. If selecting a particular section of teachers for IMPACT training like Grade-3 and Grade-3, is not injustice? Then, what is it?
A teacher is a teacher (everywhere) whether Grade-2 or General Line. Majority of our teachers are highly experienced, qualified and trained. Let them devote their precious time fully in the schools so that the loss is compensated. Why keep busy all the teachers and ruin the career of thousands of students from the downtrodden class of the society? A teacher with B.Ed or M.Ed degree is never an untrained teacher. Train those teachers first who direly need it whether they are Regularized Rehbar-e-Taleem Teachers (RRTs), GLTs or 2/ 3 pass-outs.
A strategy of scrutinization must be framed wherein these untrained teachers get skilled without impacting the teaching-learning process in schools which are already understaffed. The point is, if a close inspection will be made we will find most of the CRPs and ZRPs in every education zone are Grade-2 teachers. Does that then mean we will turn our eyes away from the truth? Forgive me to say, ‘there are square pegs in round holes’.
A training programme is never kept confined to the utilization of funds. It is in no way kept confined to big halls where teachers feel themselves compelled not to receive the training but to get the ‘Duty Slips’ in the end. Unless and until reality is not accepted, the system will keep limping. We must make these trainings so fascinating and alluring that our teachers should throng the centers themselves and never ever have a reason to say that, ‘it was a futile exercise’.
When a training course propels teachers to the court, it means that something is higgledy-piggledy. Instead of sending teachers to different schools on field work under IMPACT phase 2nd, we need to let them remain in their respective institutions to devote the same time period with the students to reimburse the loss.
Coordination between the department and the teachers is a must, and then the results turn out to be brilliant. But in our education system, there are unique decisions taken which like rocking chairs don’t lead us anywhere. In every district of Jammu and Kashmir, despite strong criticism, there is a widespread dissatisfaction among teachers on IMPACT which according to them is a sheer discrimination.
Author is a teacher by profession