Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
“Happy Teacher’s Day” is the most profound wish that a teacher receives on September 5 each year. But considering the state of affairs, it neither means anything nor a consolation for a lot of aggrieved teachers. Rather, it would sound ironically the opposite, which in actuality is an expression of gratitude. How can such a wish be received in the right spirit when the aggrieved teacher’s life has been duly robbed off of even their normal life, forget quality life.
The image of the RMSA teacher with her baby protesting against the government directive to ‘either accept their terms or face termination’ is indeed heartbreaking on the moral conscience besides the negation of their rightful life. Beginning with salary (being one of the motivational sources for a teacher in Nagaland), the various issues related to the SSA teachers is still ongoing and at a juncture where their rightful demands continue to be placed in an uncertain status. Considering the messy state of affairs, the new scheme, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, following the merger of SSA and RMSA might only create more problems. Further, another section of Science and Math teachers are still waiting prayerfully for their appointment letters, the selection result of which was declared on December 22, 2017. One such denied teacher is hoping against hope that getting the appointment letter on teachers’ day would be the best gift. There's another who wants to start teaching even without the appointment letter.
Such depressing issues and more, have not only taken away the rightful life of the aggrieved teachers, but have also disrupted the proper functioning of the school. Schools will return to normalcy only when the issues of the aggrieved teachers are addressed. One can only pray that the government senses and feels the urgency of the situation.
Well, it cannot be denied that a major part of the problem, including corrupt practices, has come with the introduction of centrally sponsored schemes for school education. Of course, it has come with a lot of ‘free packages’ but the scheme seems to have failed in the implementation part because of various reasons; the resultant effect is clearly seen today.
The merger of SSA and RMSA which involves restructuring might only create further havoc in the school education department. Even on the higher education front, the ‘Modi government’ has announced that it will dissolve the University Grants Commission (UGC) and replace it with a new Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) which will be the apex regulator for university and higher education in India. Critics have pointed out that it has been decided in haste without considering the damage that will be caused to education building. The coming days will reveal the true picture of such policies but as of now, the ongoing experiences is the best storyteller.
The respect that comes to a teacher in the profession of teaching is currently at its lowest ebb in the state where the school education department is considered one of the most corrupt, thereby taking away the very integrity of the teaching profession. A lot of revamping is desired besides addressing the urgent issues of the aggrieved teachers in order to rebuild the process of delivering quality education.
Considering the present situation where many teachers are denied of their rights and justice, it won’t be a happy teachers’ day for them. The predicament is that teachers and students are victimized, but for the times to come if it continues, our society will feel the effect.
Thus, this teachers’ day, inspite of the problems, issue, concerns, and challenges, a sincere congratulatory salutation comes to all teachers, knowing the consequences, have taken up the noble responsibility and bearing the mantle towards building a civilized society.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir is a freelance Research and Editing Consultant. He contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to email@example.com)