Before I come to the point, let me tell you where this post is coming from:
- In my MBA program at least half of the subjects were same as I studied in my graduation, in fact for some the recommended books were of the same authors. It was during this phase I could compare the quality of teachers, the teaching methodologies and what dramatic effect these two can have on the learning.
- Later I enrolled myself in one of the toughest finance courses in the world- Chartered Financial Analyst, USA. This is a self-study program where only the content is provided to the candidates and they have to appear for exams. During my three years journey, I never felt any need for classroom coaching. Why? It is because of the quality of the content, which is prepared by practicing finance professionals and is updated every year. It contains all relevant concepts along with supporting data, recent examples and current trends in the industry.
- Finally, by virtue of being part of strategy team in an online education company, I get to interact with lot of industry veterans. What I gather from them about our system is nothing to be proud of. It’s hard to find a student today who doesn’t go to coaching? Isn’t it shameful? Isn’t it a question mark on the competence of not only the teachers but also the credibility of entire education system?
What the hell is wrong with our education system?
Well the first and foremost issue with our system is quality of our teachers. Just think about all the 40/50 teachers you would have encountered in your student life or just think about all your tuition teachers and friends/family who are into teaching. How many of them dreamt of becoming teachers? How many of them look passionate about what they are doing?
Please pause here and think!
May be just one or two, right?
Why is that most teachers in our country are female? Because this is one of those few jobs where they can maintain work-life balance (Sadly banking is no more a half day job). Did they dream of it as a career? Are they into teaching out of passion? Sadly for most of them the answer is NO.
Then the other problem is with content. I fail to understand why does it take ages to update content. There is huge disconnect between what industry needs and what is being taught. For instance, in finance (for IPO) we are still taught how a company receives share application money followed by allotment money, first call and finally second call. It’s been ages since companies stopped raising money in tranches, it all happens at once now. I haven’t seen any company raising money like this, so then why are spending tons of time understanding how it’s treated in books of accounts?
I can go on and on regarding the issues in our educational system and the unfortunate outcomes of it, however I want to keep this post short. So, I would jump to THREE measures the system must take to rectify the very root cause of the entire gamut of problems:
1). Make the entrance exam for teacher’s job tough. One should look up to people who are able to crack these exams like we do for IAS/CAT. People should be planning well in advance about their teaching career rather than it being the last resort. It’s a job that carries high degree of responsibility. You not only need to be a great academician but have good soft skills to handle students. It’s an art after all.
2). Give the goddamn profession the respect it deserves. It looks like the guru culture is history now. Look at how teachers are treated- parents come running to school/college if their ward is being shouted at, principals create constant pressure to distribute marks to improve results (No wonder at 94% you cant get into North Campus College). Nobody shows respect towards teachers, neither the parents nor the students. Implementing point 1 will help achieve this to a great extent.
3). Improve the pay scale for the profession. Would you dream of a career, which on an average pays 15-20k to a fresher? It should at least be at par with an entry-level corporate job, like a PSU bank pays 40k to a Scale I manager (entry-level position). Many would stop teaching the same school kids in evening coaching which they do for extra income. Watch Rishi Kapoor’s Do Dooni Chaar, and you would know what I am talking about. That is the kind of life an average teacher lives in our country. So if we want to attract the best, rewards should be slightly higher.
I know India needs lot of teachers and adopting these measures would reduce their supply in the short-medium term. But look at the bright side of it; over time only those who are really passionate about teaching would get into it. The future of our country, the kids, would not be in some random hands but trained and competent professionals.