STUDENTS’ passion for medical, engineering and commerce professions has never subsided despite the ever more complicated entry requirements. Irrespective of the fact that the teaching profession is one of the most demanding fields, it has always waited for young aspirants to opt for it on a priority basis.
Teachers deal with human brains, the most complicated target as against machines in case of an engineer where responses are predictable as machines usually work on similar patterns. But dealing with diverse human brains within a single class is really an uphill task. Teachers have to be very diligent, proactive, updated and perhaps much more in order to inspire, nurture and develop young children.
Unfortunately, with the exception of a few, the majority (especially male gender) in our country turns to teaching profession as a last resort. There are factors which contribute towards making the teaching profession as the last choice.
One very obvious reason for not joining this profession is the meagre salary package. It would not be wrong to call it the least paid profession. Consequently, ask a student about his/her future career, teaching would not resound even in the thousands. John F. Kennedy, former US president, describes this issue: “Modern cynics and sceptics see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing”.
Only if a teacher is offered a salary package equalling an engineer’s can we hope for a change in the lives of our new generation and the future of our country. Directly proportional to this monitory aspect is the respect in society. Despite claiming that teaching is the prophetic profession, no one is ready to send their child to this ‘holy’ profession. Recognising this lack of regard, the Article 5 of Unesco (1996) recommends: “It should be recognised that the proper status of teachers and due public regard for the profession of teaching are of major importance.” Part of this disrespect, however, owes to unprofessional teachers and their ill-informed classroom practices.
At school level, there is no standard criterion for the selection, induction, in-service training and monitoring and evaluation for entrants of this profession. Most school administrations try to hire well-qualified teachers with as minimum remuneration as possible. And if ever, any able teacher joins, he/she instantly takes a sudden flight once there are higher salary prospects.
In the modern classroom, teachers’ role has taken a considerable shift from being sole autonomous to an adult facilitator, but its importance has never been undermined. Since, no doctor, engineer, or a scientist bypasses this teaching learning experience, there is a dire need that quality teachers are sought (of course, impossible without raising salary), a standard criterion for their selection is ensured and an uptodate system of monitoring and evaluation is regulated for their continuing professional development.
SYED FARHAN BASIT Mirpur Mathelo