We know, education is the empowerment that the youth need for a better future of their own as well as their nation and this job is nobly done by a teacher. The teaching has been considered to be the noblest job, and why not, we have every reason to call it so. Before the advent of cluster of private school system, government schools were at full bloom. Most of the marvels came from such government schools, unlike today. Then what has gone wrong that the ‘marvel producing institutions’ have become barren. Who is to be blamed? Sorry to say, but the teachers of government schools have already earned a bad name, which they need to do away with and work a little harder. Education is the means to attain a goal which is progress and teachers make an enduring impact in the lives of students. The greatest of the arts is teaching since the medium is the human mind and spirit. Teachers are the heroes of our society and often called as “builders of nation”. They take the challenge of creating and shaping worlds. The teachers while teaching touch the future of the child. Thus the eligibility for becoming a teacher needs to suffice the strength to take-on such a challenge.
The global economic crunch has forced the youth into darkness and in every country the unemployment has become the biggest menace/headache. But the filling up of posts for the job of teacher needs not to be seen through the prism of policy decisions for reducing unemployment, because in case the less competent persons become the teachers it will serve no good purpose and will add numbers to the unemployment problem by producing less competent students. Our state of Jammu and Kashmir is not an exception. But the rising rate of corruption has marred the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.
The competence of a teacher must not be compromised. The future of a nation depends on the excellence of the teachers, who nourish the growing buds. So the teachers’ competence must be scrutinized prior to letting them to assume such a noble job. The government’s order of conducting screening test for the Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers came late but it is a justified move. The case of Faisal Khan Vs. State and others, was an eye opener. A teacher who is not able to write an essay on Cow and cannot solve 4th standard mathematical numerical, do not deserve to be a teacher. Such teachers need to be fished out and shown the door. During a recent protest of teachers, I found them holding placards that had ‘time bound’ spelled as ‘time bond’, which definitely was not a typing mistake. The argument that ReT teachers put forth in their support is that they have been the key factor in increasing the literacy rate in the state, but I must tell those ReT teachers that a herd of students is not what is needed, but what we need to produce is quality students who can compete at all international and national levels. And with such teachers who do not know the difference between ‘bound’ and ‘bond’ or cannot write an essay on Cow, for sure are not eligible to be called or appointed as teachers.
The screening test that has been announced by the government is not any sort of a competitive test at the end of which only a few will be selected. If all of the ReT teachers are capable and competent then they must not be afraid of any such test, and should voluntarily commit themselves for it, to prove their mettle. The argument that by imposing such a test on the ReT teachers the government is adamant to lower their self esteem is a farce, instead by doing so your credibility and worth will get bloomed. Here your credibility is at stake, and Pardon me, but by not sitting in the test you are bringing disgrace to yourselves, by your own.
At first place, the post of ReT is a disgrace to the education system of Jammu and Kashmir. It is highly unfortunate that the government has lowered the status of a teacher by setting the minimum qualification required to be an ReT teacher at 10+2, which is same for the post of a peon or a class 4th employee, thereby sabotaging the appointment through genuine rule of general line system. A government which believes more in governance than in government will never do so, as it is an anti-society policy, which for a moment seemed to be benefiting but for the long run would ruin the quality of education in Jammu and Kashmir and eventually the future. The encumbrances of responsibilities do not end with the ReT teachers. Government has to accept its responsibility as well. ReT teachers were engaged according to certain rules and regulations under which only after the satisfactory results from such teachers they were to be regularized, and the same was done when the stipulated time of 5 years elapsed. Now after 5 years, the government wants to conduct their competency test which means something went wrong at the basic level where ReT’s were allotted the satisfaction certificates. The precious 5 years of the ReT teachers cannot be overlooked. If the government is resolute in taking the test and revolutionizing the education system then the ReT teachers need to be compensated for the previous 5 years as the earlier contract becomes null and void. And at the end if deadwood is found among these ReT teachers then the officers who allotted certificates to them need to be punished, accordingly.
Such innovative and revolutionary steps are always welcome and everyone needs to offer his helping hand so that the foreseen goal is achieved. An education system is needed that shall enhance the creativity and imagination of the students. This step of conducting screening test will surely help in travelling the long journey but there are still many more milestones that need to be crossed.