A System in decline

July 5, 2006

Today a yawning chasm exists between the teacher and the taught, and it seems ever-widening.

A long time ago, relationships between teacher and pupil, were respected. But down the years, this has metamorphosed into something else altogether. Commercialisation of the teaching profession, lack of change in the education system and the inability on the part of professors to keep up with the changing world scenario are factors responsible for the down slide.

Next to the soldier, the teacher is said to serve the country most. The statement could have been more apt a few decades ago, but today the over-commercialisation of education has enveloped within its ambit a motley crowd of teachers, whose resources for teaching or love for imparting knowledge cannot claim for this kind of adulation. A yawning chasm exists between the teacher and the taught, and it seems ever-widening!

Of all the teachers, lecturers or professors that a student comes across during his academic career, in the school stage and subsequently in the university, the one that leaves a lasting impression in his mind is the school teacher. The formative years are marked by varied experiences- of the masters and their characteristic styles, their fascination for extra-curricular activity, and their obsession with the art of teaching. Indeed, they had in their possession all that could be termed “pre-requisites” for a competent teacher- techniques, personal interest in the subjects, and full dedication.Those were days when teachers would involve themselves wholly in their tasks; they knew intimately every student under them. The classroom and the school were their “home” and the students their “children”. With that kind of application to their profession, it is but fitting to recall the well-known invocation-” Gurussakshaat Parabrahma thasmai Sri Guravey Namaha.”…”To the teacher embodying the Supreme Being, obeisance”.

But in total contrast, the teachers of today stand out as a poor parody- uncreative, conventional beings! The impersonal system of the modern business-oriented educational institutions makes the teacher, a clerk, a machine, a grindstone doing the same thing over and over again….never allowing to smell the flowers of life!” The humdrum of commercialised set-up does not permit expansion of brilliance, nor any indulgence in out-of-the-routine. He comes a mere cog in the wheel. Yet it is also true that persons choosing the profession are not rightly “qualified”, preferring to act the part of “surrogate parents” or policemen during class hours, and go back home with a resolutive indifference, and philosophic detachment, not very different from the shift-workers walking-off at the end of their eight-hour duty. Dedication is an innate quality that one is born with, while true case in teaching comes “by art, not chance.” When teachers put in unsolicited, extra hours and efforts for no recompensation it proved their dedication, and joy in shaping the students entrusted to them. A chronic disease has now started spreading among them- for making easy money. They are content with “covering” the lessons in the class rather than help assimilation by all students.

It is a deliberate and calculated practice to register additional income through “private” tuition to the “inferior” students. This precious act has become so common that most of the teachers are seen running parallel establishments in their homes for several hours; here the anxious boys and girls get tied completely to books and homework, when, in fact, they should be encouraged to play games in the open! Tuition fees are quite substantial; this burden, over and above the school fees, capitation fees, uniforms, extortions of contributions under some pretext or other from time to time, is the last straw to break the camel’s back- indeed how much are the purses of the parents stretched!

The decay in behaviourial pattern of teachers of today can be attributed to a general fall in standards. Traits observed in a vast majority of primary schools across most of the states is that there is a tendency to follow a very authoritarian approach, which is teacher centred, mechanical and unnecessarily repetitive.This style teaches children to be passive listeners rather than actively participate as problem solvers. Teaching aids are under-used and are of poor quality. There is also a lack of effective class-management skills as well as catering to each individual child’s needs.

A serious lack of teaching methodologies related to multi-grade teaching and a consequent fear of the same can be seen. The profession is seen only to attract the mediocre, partly due to low pay scales but mainly on account of poor career advancements. If educational institutions are really keen to serve the cause of education and are conscious of their aims, they must bring about improvements in these areas, and at the same time evolve a system for screening new entrants thoroughly. Prime place should be allotted to aptitude for teaching, and dedication to the task.Of all people, our teachers need to understand its true implication and convey to our nation’s children the privilege and responsibility involved in being citizens of a great country.


11 Responses to “A System in decline”

  1. Vijay Says:

    RK 100% agree…

    My dad can talk for hours about professors during his time.. it was a respected profession… namma kaladallu there were good teachers.. unfortunately standards have gone down because teaching alone cannot sustain ones family.. and somehow the respect and awe for teachers is gone.

    My mother was the head of the dept of Economics at a college in Bangalore she cites the difference in attitude among students between when she started (1969) and when she retired (2003)..

  2. Srik Says:

    Leading educationist H Narasimhiah (HN) said in his last interview that he wants to be re-born as a teacher, this time as a high-school teacher, because, by the time students enter college, they wont be in a position to heed to the teachers. So, he wanted to be a teacher at high-school level teach some good values to those children!! How true. Now the attitude of the students have changed becase we don’t have good teachers at the high-school level, which is the most crucial period in the development of a child.

  3. RK Says:

    Vijay: Your mom has seen a generation there, isn’t it?
    Today’s schools make you literates. They don’t educate you.

    Srik:Yes, i remember reading that interview. My uncle who retired as a Principal from National High School used to tell many anedotes of HN and other highly regarded teachers.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    RK, yee naduve MES college hege yidhe .Naanu Odhidhu Sheshadripuram.Seat sogokke sakath kasta anthae ?? houdha
    But sumaaru lecturers kelsa bittu full time tuitions shuru hacch kondru? Do you know anything on that? This I am talking like 87-88


  5. RK Says:


    First things first: I dare any reader to back answer a lecturer in MES and get away with it.

    MES has lost its sheen considerably. I remember lecturers like Aralumallige Parthsarathy, Venkatesh, Sheshadri and others were held in great respect sometime back.

    Among the new crop of lecturers, Vinod Kumar (Physics) is one teacher students really enjoy listening to. Prof. Viswanatha Shastry (ask almost any science student in Bangalore, and you’ll hear about the Shastry and Gururaj) is a stalwart. Professor Purushottam (Biology, Ex-MES-prof) – is solely responsible for so many students to take up medicine. His classes were good it seems. And lately Prof Kamath.

    Ever since I know, MES is known as Money Eating Society (acc. to bench graffiti). If there is one thing MES cannot digest enough of, it’s money. More than 3,000 students are on the rolls and more than half are found near FOOD WORLD, EAT OUT, BUN WORLD, 16th cross Malleswaram….

    As you might know, MES College is known for its separate staircases for boys and girls!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Nange gothupa ..
    Shastry ,Laxman and Purushotham famous tuitions.namma mane avara beedhelle yithu .Amele personallagi parichaya kooda yithu ,College days nalli .Namma beedhi hudgurella avara hathiranae tuitions.SSLC percentage mele select maadthidru .yinnu kelavru used to goto Gururaj and Co in vayyalikaval .
    ondhu great andhre ..namma beedhi hudugrella rank sikkithu .engineering/medicine mugsidhvee .
    I dont know if I ever get such guys in our area.Sakkath competition .Most of the guys left India I havent met anyone since here or back home.

  7. Shruthi Says:

    Good post.
    And I agree totally that the school teacher – especially the primary school teacher, is the most important of all. S/he shapes the mind of the child, gives him the enthusiasm to learn, or the lack of it.
    Tumba important. It is very sad. Teachers are so important to society, and they are paid so less. There are very sincere, dedicated teachers, who work so hard all day, all week, and finally what are they paid? Peanuts!!
    This is one subject I feel very strongly about.
    A post is forming itself in my head 😀 I guess I will write about a related topic very soon.

  8. RK Says:

    DG: Khushi aaythu nim beedhili bari RANK hudugru iddri antha odhi!

    Shruthi: Waiting to read the ‘unwritten’ post!

  9. Vani Says:

    Howdu Bellur,

    Am late in posting this comment..

    I agree with you about MES… recent aagi there are not many good teachers there…naavu odovaagle ne (that’s nearly 6 years back) yella star professors kelsa bittidru…aadru there’s something about MES that’s not there anywhere else…

    Somehow 15th Cross Malleswaram brings back very fond memories…

  10. RK Says:

    Vani:”aadru there’s something about MES that’s not there anywhere else… ” Are you talking about ‘Madivantike’? (just joking)

    For me entire Malleswaram is full of memories. Adhikke, bitte hogilla.. hogodoo illa!–>

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