Reports out of India claim that teacher training there “has almost collapsed”. Private companies are trying to fill the gap but “teachers trained by them are not even able to clear the teachers qualification exam.” This is according to Ambarish Rai, national convener of the Right-To-Education (RTE) forum, as reported by Anjalo Ojha for IANS, a prominent wire service in India, and reported by several online news outlets.
Ojha’s article includes this particularly stunning quote from Rai: “we have disrespected the teacher’s profession”. That’s a powerful statement anywhere, but particular out of India, where teaching is treated with a great reverence that is worthy of the profession. In such environments, students understand that a teacher who imparts knowledge is choosing to give up a competitive edge in social, economic, and business competition. The teacher benefits the student at his or her own personal expense. Why would a teacher divulge information that the teacher could sell through personal services using that information? Such a person is seen as generous to others.
Whenever I’ve taught classes in Oracle skills, I’ve been overwhelmed and emotionally touched by the outpouring of heartfelt gratitude from students with roots in that part of the world. I still keep in my office a small tabletop water pump, given to me by a class over ten years ago, a class whose students included people from India. By giving me this gift, the students were telling me that they saw me as a fount of water – a virtual giver of life, as it were – by imparting knowledge to them that enabled them to become competitive in the workplace and earn a good living, and therefor to provide well for their families. Frankly I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the powerful message represented in that gift until an insightful colleague of mine made the observation much later when he saw it in my office. It was a powerful gift that speaks to me every day, even now, over a decade later.
The culture of India seems to have always held great reverence for the teaching profession. Rai’s comment, in that context, has even more punch than it already appears to have.
According to Anjalo Ojha, “In 2012, more than 99 percent of those who appeared for the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) failed the exam.” Clearly there’s a problem.
Rai goes on to observe the evolution of “para-teachers” who try to till the gap and circumvent formal certification, and the importance of establishing methodologies and a new system for teacher training.
You can read Anjalo Ojha’s complete IANS article in several online news outlets, such as Business Standard.