Experimentation and innovation is the key to success and growth
Pages of history corroborate the fact that dynamism helps nations to take a lead in life. Indolence and decrepitude leads nations to obsolescence and moribundity. Experimentation and innovation is the key to success and growth. It is true for educational systems of the world. Advanced and successful educational systems of the world have gone through a lot of changes and innovations. And those operating with old and obsolete methods are lagging behind. It is pertinent to mention that education is the foundation stone of progress and prosperity of a nation. Nations are sure to perish if this important field of life is not set to new techniques and methods. So, periodic trainings of teachers are vitally important to acquaint them with required and desired pedagogical methods to take lead in the field.
School education department of Jammu and Kashmir has been quite proactive for last two decades. Attempts are being made to elevate the educational standards in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. And Teachers' trainings are considered instrumental in raising the academic standards. Both the stakeholders’ viz-a-viz teachers and government take teachers’ trainings very seriously. Trainings under different banners in collaboration with educational foundations and organizations like Pratham and Sri Aurobindo society, under the patronage of directorate of school education kashmir/Jammu, have proven quite instrumental and beneficial. The trainings have borne fruit though we still need a long way to go.
Very recently, the department of school education Jammu and Kashmir kick started a month long training program in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The said program was scheduled to begin in March or April 2020 but the COVID19 pandemic delayed it by almost six months. It is more than a training program because I have been myself going through it for last many days, and have understood its pros and cons. It is a sort of a certificate course than a training program. It is undoubtedly useful for teachers but is discriminatory and prejudicial in nature. HRD ministry of Indian union has issued an order to bring all the untrained and unprofessional teachers under the ambit of this program. Yes, as per the order, all the non-B.Ed. and non-D.Ed. teachers were supposed to go through this training program, which is quite appreciable, and a welcome step. But, the people at the helm followed their predecessors who were hell-bent to tarnish the credibility, honor and self-esteem of a particular teaching community of the erstwhile state.
Authorities decided to impart these trainings only to grade 2 and grade 3 teachers. Let me apprise people that grade 2 and grade 3 teachers are equally qualified and competent as are other teachers. It is contrary to the order because most of these teachers are professionally trained withB.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees. If it is meant for untrained teachers then why are concerned authorities tormenting grade 2 and grade 3 teachers by taunting and ridiculing them as untrained?One fails to understand that, if a teacher with professional teaching degrees to back their academic acumen in the teaching profession isconsidered unprofessional, untrained and unskilled, then who is a trained teacher? It is pertinent to mention here that this teaching fraternity has been subjected to unnecessary injustices and humiliations in the past. There have been infamous standoffs between authorities and these teachers in the past as well.
Now, let's presume that this training program will improve the professional skills of teachers. It will elevate our educational standards. Then, why don't authorities dare to ask all the teachers to attend these trainings? Aren't general line teachers, FAT teachers, migrant teachers and others, supposed to teach in schools? Are they angels who have been trained in heavens, and descended on earth as teachers. A laboratory-bearer-promoted 10 2 or a mere graduate is considered trained and professional. He is not supposed to go through this training. On the other hand, a grade 2 teacher having B.Ed. or M.Ed. in his kitty is called untrained and unprofessional. Isn’t this height of prejudice and discrimination! I wonder, why are people at the helm so biased towards particular teaching staff?
Let me unfold another mystery from this Pandora’s box. Many resource persons imparting this training to grade 2 and grade 3 teachers belong to this aforementioned community. If these teachers are untrained and unprofessional, then how come is it possible that you select your resource persons from this teaching fraternity? Hypocrisy and double standards have a limit. People at the helm should not make mockery of their positions and chairs. It smells rat. Is something bad cooking for these teachers? Let authorities clear their stand on this.
Now, teachers have begun to register their protests and apprehensions regarding the said training program on different social media platforms. Even different trade union organizations have sounded alarm bells.Furthermore, official callousness and discrimination towards this teaching community is a known fact to all. And the official apathy has not only led to deadlocks between these teachers and authorities but has badly hit our elementary education. Most of these teachers are working in our primary and middle schools. Thus, they are the people who prepare seedbeds for our colleges and universities. We can't afford another deadlock. We have already lost some precious time to floods, prolonged unrests, and the lockdown of COVID-19 pandemic. God forbid, any new kind of protests and boycott will leave us paralyzed and crippled for centuries.
Let authorities clear their stand on the issue. Let them stop maltreating a particular teaching community in the name of nomenclature. They are good as other communities of teachers and have taken a lead at many occasions in the past. ZRPs, CRPs, DRPs and other resource persons in the department of school education are grade 2 teachers. Grade 2 teachers are working in high and higher secondary schools. Our 2020 national awardee teacher from Udhampur is also a grade 2 teacher. How ironical it sounds, that a national awardee teacher is considered as untrained and unprofessional, and a 10 2 teacher is professional and skilled. Here, I request our Honourable LG ShriManojSinha to intervene into the matter personally. Hope justice prevails!
(Author is a Teacher and Columnist)