“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”. William Arthur Ward.
The current observation is that most of the educators don’t add any value to students. On the other hand, it is the students who add value to educators by working very hard for exams to pass out with scores and grades from Indian educational institutions. Even in some of the prestigious educational institutions like IITs and IIMs in India, it is the students who slog hard to achieve the scores rather than educators who are supposed to be responsible for students’ academic success. What are the causes for the present scenario? What is the solution for this problem? Let us find out.
I have interviewed some students from management and engineering education to understand their psychology and their pulse on present pedagogy. What I understood from their responses was that most of them are not happy with the educators. They complain that educators don’t encourage students. They further add that educators come to classrooms; deliver lectures and go away without ensuring any takeaways to the students. They complain that most of the educators don’t have domain knowledge and are not competent to teach. Most students bow down to faculty not due to respect but due to the internal marks the faculty holds in their hands that either makes or breaks their scores and grades finally. This is one side of the story.
Educators complain that students are getting restless and don’t respect faculty. There is growing impatience and intolerance among Indian students. There is a lack of commitment and respect towards faculty. They further add that the aspirations and expectations of students are rising, and faculty find it tough to meet them. This is another side of the story.
Educators must not interfere into the personal lives of students and they must respect students. It is observed that most of the engineering colleges have educators without requisite qualifications as per the AICTE norms. They don’t add any value to students. On the other hand, they add value to themselves by gaining experience and acquiring further higher qualifications. If students ask them questions, they are not in a position to answer. In order to save their faces, they ask students to do assignments on the subject which they don’t know in order to hide their weaknesses. In extreme cases, the educators browbeat students as they hold internal marks in their hands. The owners of these educational institutions are aware that colleges run due to the strength of students rather than due to the strength of faculty. But they want cheap manpower to cut down their costs to beat the competition. Thanks to commercialization of Indian education! This is my story.
When we look at our Indian education system, it still adopts outdated curriculum and teaching methodologies. Students cram content, write notes and reproduce during exams without understanding the essence. It emphasizes rote learning. It doesn’t encourage creativity, critical thinking and analytical skills among students which are very much essential in the current competitive world. It emphasizes acquisition of knowledge rather than on application of knowledge. The present education system has become highly boring and taxing to students. It doesn’t encourage research among faculty. The educational institutions still assess the abilities of faculty based on the quantity of classroom teaching sessions delivered, not the quality of research done. Additionally, the present remuneration for the faculty is not rewarding or attractive. We seldom find passionate faculty who are keen to make a difference in the lives of students.
When we observe educational institutions there is inadequate infrastructure; dearth of experienced faculty, improper libraries; unfavorable research ambience and outdated curriculum. These are some of the banes of this sacred profession.
Globally the rating of Indian universities is coming down drastically due to our outdated education system and rigid mindset of faculty. The best educators find better opportunities abroad. They go abroad and grow rapidly thus adding value to global students rather than Indian students. It is obvious that some of the best faculty are still in India but they don’t get attractive remuneration, recognition or rewards.
Teaching is basically a blessed profession. Unfortunately, it has become an opportunistic profession for some people who join as a stop-gap arrangement and vitiate the academic ambience. Some of the people who are rejected by the industry join this profession to ensure temporary survival. How can such people impart quality education to students?
It is time to transform Indian education system to make it efficient to stand out from the rest of the world. There must be coordinated approach from all stakeholders including educational institutions, regulating authorities, government, educators and students to streamline the present education system to produce students who can understand the concepts with clarity and know how to apply the acquired knowledge in their real lives to reap the rewards.
According to Indian philosophy, educator enjoys third status next to mother and father in the society – ‘Acharya Devo Bhava’ (Educator is God). Hence, it is the responsibility of the educators not to become ghosts but to become role models by doing justice to their profession with passion.
Horace Mann once remarked, “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron”. Hence, educators must teach from the core of their hearts with lots of passion. Remember that days of ‘faculty-centric education’ are gone. These are the days of ‘student-centric education’. Previously it was the sellers’ market but presently it is the buyers’ market. If the educators must remain as role models, they must understand the present pulse of students and reinvent themselves to provide student-centric education to win the respect and confidence of the students. The Chinese philosopher, Confucius rightly said, “A good teacher is someone who examines everything he teaches. Old ideas can’t enslave men because, with time, they have to be adapted and be given new shapes. So let us take the philosophical riches of the past and keep in mind all challenges the present world offers us.” Therefore, it is time for Indian educators to learn, unlearn and relearn with the changing times and technologies to impact, influence and inspire students to make a difference in their lives.
To conclude, we have mostly ethical educators, partly efficient educators and hardly any passionate educators. Hence, educators must understand this fact and transform themselves to maintain the sanctity of teaching profession to inspire students beyond their generations.
“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”. Lee Iacocca.
Prof. M.S. Rao
International Leadership Guru
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