The school teachers have gone on strike forcing the shutdown of the educational institutions. This has jeopardised the future of the students enrolled in the institutions across the country. Minister of Education Dina Nath Sharma fumed at the teachers the other day and asked them not to play with the future of the children as a shutdown of the educational institutions takes a toll of the career of the students. Despite the fact that the government has expressed its commitment to meet the genuine demands, the teachers seem in no mood to reciprocate and listen to the plea made on behalf of the government. Some of the teachers have converged in the capital and staged demonstrations demanding the fulfillment of their demands. A few of the concerns of the teachers may be genuine but others like automatic confirmation and promotion without scrutiny of their competence are not convincing.
The irony of the fact is that around 20 per cent of the national budget is spent on the education sector in the country. The perks and benefits to the teachers have been more or less raised at par with the civil servants, but the teachers working for the government-aided schools have shown disenchantment time and again, destabilising the performance of the educational institutions. Moreover, the educational attainment of the children enrolled in the public schools is rated poor whereas those attending the private schools are found performing better. It shows the poor performance of the teachers working for the government-aided schools fed on the resources provided by the tax payers.
Needless to say, educational institutions in the country are destructively politicised, and the teachers are reported to be working at the beck and call of the political groups. Even the schools operating in the remote areas of the country face interference by the political groups. The academic performance and rationale of the educational institutions have been relegated to the background. The educational institutions have been degenerated into a political battlefield in which teachers play the proxy actors. The gang fights and violent brawls that do occur in the educational institutions indicate that the political parties tend to use these forums to fulfill their political ends and interests.
There may be certain political incentives for the parties to use the educational institutions as an arena for conflict and contest, but the priority should be accorded to keep them as the abode of learning. Political parties should recognise this fact and seek ways and means to depoliticise the educational institutions. Furthermore, teachers should mind their duty first to ensure that they deserve fair treatment from the government.