Give teachers a better deal

Last Updated 14 September 2011, 10:51 IST

Improve teachers’ living conditions

First and foremost, improve teachers’ living conditions and provide them with facilities like medical insurance, pension etc.

These measures have to be implemented in aided and private schools as well. It is important to manage a teacher’s workload properly.

These days, teachers are given a lot of administrative work. The government should strictly monitor the operations of private and aided schools. Starting a private school teachers’ union, with the initiative of the government, would be a good idea.

Money, promotion based on performance, and career growth coupled with job security in private schools will motivate youngsters to take up the profession. Perhaps, it would be wise for corporates to start more schools or take up existing schools and implement better management tools, and provide accessibility to technology.

Today, uncontrolled private schools operate like for-profit organisations and people with no or very little experience start schools with no intention to improve the education or the well being of students. The infrastructure at government schools is pathetic. I blame this equally on the budget allotment for the education sector. Annual training for teachers, and evaluation of their performance and teaching skills, should be made mandatory.
Rajeev G

Adapt e-teaching, reduce teachers’ burden
Being a student of Class 12, I am able to see the kind of stress and pressure a teacher has to deal with today. In order to better the plight of teachers, I feel that schools themselves need to play a vital role. The introduction of CCE in CBSE schools has supposedly lessened the burden on students, but increased the teacher’s burden. The constant year round evaluation that a teacher has to make takes its toll on his or her mental state and teaching quality.

Schools can try and reduce the teacher’s burden by adapting e-teaching. They can allow teachers to give homework, and allow students to submit the same, online. Teachers can post lesson plans online so students can be better aware of the curriculum. Use of technologies such as Educomp or Smartboard can help get the attention of students and thereby eliminate the usual classroom cacophony.

This also allows the teacher to maintain class decorum as well as teach effectively. However to avoid monotony and repetition, technologies which allow teachers to personalise their lessons should be developed.

Grouping students according to their learning abilities will not only be beneficial for students, but will also drastically reduce the teacher-to-student ratio and allow one-to-one interactions.

Concessions and retirement benefits should be given to teachers to compensate for their relatively low pay cheques. The government, on its part, should invest more in the educational infrastructure in order to provide teachers with a healthy work condition. After all, teachers are preparing students for life in the real world. They are teaching the CEOs, doctors, and prime ministers of tomorrow. School administrators and the government should take responsibility and realise that it is teachers who shape the future of our nation.
Pranesh Navarathna

Stop using teachers for non-teaching jobs
Teaching is a noble profession, like that of a soldier or doctor, but little has been done to maintain the profession’s dignity. It is important to stop using teachers for non-teaching jobs like census enumeration, election duties and other surveys. If required, it can be made voluntary. Overburdening teachers with a huge workload because of shortage of teachers should be stopped.

Extra working hours should be optional, and must entitle extra pay. The government should fill vacancies every year, while also having a waiting list of teachers ready to fill vacancies as and when a requirement arises at the district level. Teachers should be transferred only to places within a one-hour radius. Couples should be posted in the same school or either of them should be allowed to choose their posting.

All teachers should be provided quarters in rural areas when houses are not available for rent. The pay difference between primary, high school and college teachers should be nominal.

Private institutions should be made to compulsorily pay on par with government schools. Permission to start private schools should be strict. The managers/correspondents of private school management should have well educated, experienced members to guide school.

The heads of the school should have a say in the management. It is sad that in many schools, the heads are not members of the management and are not invited to meetings. Steps should be taken to educate private school managements and parents as to how to treat teachers.
C V Shankar

Pay them well
In our country, teaching at the bottom of the educational pyramid is not considered rewarding. This is mainly because of the poor pay package and status of the teaching profession at the school level, in comparison with other professions.

In contrast, countries like Finland, Singapore and South Korea tap their best talent for the teaching profession and encourage them. Hence, they have top-performing school systems in the world.

It is necessary to work out an attractive pay package for school teachers at the national level on the lines of the UGC so as to attract meritorious youth towards teaching. Teachers must also be encouraged to continue their professional education through open and distance learning courses.

This will help them upgrade their knowledge. Before implementing any revised syllabus at schools, it essential to organise teachers’ training programmes. Moreover, the service of teachers should not be used for census and other survey works.
M Ramesh

Better pay & work conditions needed
Even today unaided private institutions pay their teachers meagerly. The government should see that teachers of unaided institutions are paid on par with aided/government institutions.

Teachers should have better working conditions.  Classes should be so devised as to allow teachers sufficient time to prepare for the next class.  Also, teachers should be given enough time to evaluate assignments during school hours itself — they should not be made to carry books home.  Further, a fixed time should be allotted for students to interact with their teachers.

Schools/Managements should see that teachers are given due respect and not treated as mere salaried employees. Frequent warnings, reprimands, withholding salaries/increments should be done away with and a more humane approach should be encouraged. The government should not insist on any one method of teaching, but present their methods or proposals to teachers and encourage them to innovate.

The government should hold a variety of need-based enrichment programmes for teachers.  The government and the management should help teachers to be more creative, and encourage them to experiment.
U R Madhyastha

Improve teacher-training
Apart from parents, teachers influence growing kids most during their formative years. This implies that they play a vital role in building a nation. It is time our government and society recognised this and addressed the plight of the teaching community.

Increase teacher salaries to instill pride and responsibility among the teaching community. Facilities at government and private schools should be improved. Sensitise the government administration to provide teachers postings of their personal preference whenever possible.

Improve the existing government or government recognised teacher training courses (like D.Ed, B.Ed). Make training mandatory for teachers in government as well as private schools. This will reduce the trend of people using the teaching profession as a stop gap arrangement.

Government recognised, short duration interim courses, where teachers go through the latest teaching techniques and trends, should be made mandatory for all teaching staff. Newer and fresh teaching skills will draw youngsters to the teaching profession. Salary hikes linked to years of experience and the certifications they hold will build competency and encourage fair competition.

A government body should monitor the overall teacher-student ratio. Enforce fresh hiring at both government and private schools when the ratio goes beyond acceptable levels. The government administration must revisit/reform the practice of using teachers for national exercises like election duty, health drives, census and so on. Many a time these activities make teachers work for unreasonably long and physically stressful hours, and also rob them of their well-earned vacation.
Sridhar K Veena

Test their skills
The Government should bring in entrance tests, followed by aptitude tests to determine entry into B.Ed courses. Apart from these tests, the institutes should take care of placement and campus selection to boost these B.ed courses.

The most important thing that the government needs to do is to increase the pay packet of teachers and make it on par with other professions. We must have a rule that insists on a teacher-student ratio of 1:20-25. If it goes beyond this point, the class must have an assistant teacher for support.

The institutions on the other hand must have training programmes for teachers. Teachers must be respected and not asked to act as substitutes. The institutes must also take care of their transportation. If these simple measures are taken we can ensure a generation of highly qualified teachers who are motivated to use creative methods to help each and every child love the subjects that are taught.
Jyoti S Prakash

Technology can liberate teachers
Today’s graduates are not strong in fundamentals like science, mathematics and economics which are the key requirements for a teacher. With the higher education system not likely to change, what is the way out of this imbroglio? How can we create teachers who can inspire and hold the attention of students with their knowledge and skills?

I firmly believe that the answer lies in technology. Technology can be leveraged through digital and multimedia enabled classrooms wherein the students’ attention is retained, and interest sustained.

Today’s teachers need to learn, unlearn and relearn fast. This is where technology can come to the rescue. With corporate and chain schools becoming the order of the day, teachers can learn from their peers in other group schools, or schools can run training programmes in one location which can be beamed live to other schools through video-conferencing, telepresence or webinars.

For individual schools, these can be arranged through school associations so that the cost is shared. School managements must provide all their teachers with a net book/ note book computer. This will help in getting contents from the web, preparing lesson plans and ensuring excellence on instructional output. The cost can be easily recovered through higher retention of teachers and enhanced teaching and learning effectiveness.
R Sugant

(Published 14 September 2011, 10:51 IST)

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