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The Supply Side Problem Of Indian Education

I don’t want to become a teacher.

I know it's a very ludicrous start for an article that in the first place aims to find out why a profession that used to be revered in our society just a few decades ago is now seen as a thankless job; merely a profession that is chosen by most people only because they didn’t land a highly illustrious job. Yet, I have every reason for saying that I don’t want to become a teacher and I am certain that by the end of this article, most of you, if not all, will be convinced by my assertion.

Ever since I grew up, I have seen two types of people concerning the profession of teaching; one, who wants to pursue it because of the seeming simplicity of the job: going to school, handling a class of around forty students, taking almost seven periods with each spanning over 45 minutes and solving the past ten years' questions to prepare students for their exams, because that's the easy way around, and that's what the Indian Education System has apparently been expecting out of the students.

The other ones are somewhat motivated by the ease of the job, however, they are the ones who are more appealed by the worldly aspects of teaching: the financial security, the employment guarantee and of course the add-on benefits, I mean who would want to miss that in an economy hit by major unemployment and inflating prices, isn't it? Now, in both cases, people were not aspirational to choose a career in teaching. And why do I say this with so much affirmation?

I grew up in an environment where my parents conditioned me into thinking that teaching is a job that doesn't require any advanced skills. It is a disempowered job which is now relegated to the bottom of the administrative hierarchy. I have grown up in a society where most of us are served with a flawed narrative that teaching as a job wouldn't give us the power, success, and fame we aspire to. I am living in a country where its past has always preached teaching as a noble job but has failed to provide justice to this very conviction. When a child is relentlessly told that she has to pursue something that challenges her, something that would not require her to teach a bunch of students and rather go for a job where she has to sell lies or even hoax people on the verge of compromising her ideals and peace, then how else would she see teaching for what it is? For what effect it has, if put in the soul and heart in it.

Teachers, who are the harbinger of creating the tomorrow, are now in the profession only for the sake of it, only because they had no other option, for the job they always wanted to do is now distant. I am not saying that they are not teaching right or that the knowledge they are imparting is wrong, no. Nevertheless, teaching as a profession wouldn't amount to the purpose that would drive them to do their best, where they are aware of their responsibilities of carving the future of a nation. I am amused that why do people even think that being a teacher is not a highly regarded job. Talking about a child's development, school is the second place after home, where he has his major outside interaction. The amount of influence and impact a teacher has in providing knowledge and skill to a child is unfathomable. The act of passing down civilization from one generation to another is the highest honour one could ever have. It's the only job that's selfless yet that doesn't compromise with one's needs. Despite all this, we see it as an option, something that will be always available for us to earn our incomes, while we very evidently jeopardize the righteousness of this profession. Today, people are teaching, but not with their entire being. They are solely committed to employment, to the fact that they have to provide for their family, and this is their job, a task that they are supposed to do to sustain themselves. And that just sums up why the system is failing to provide its best. There's more to this issue than people deliberately not wanting to become a teacher.

The Right To Education Act (RTE) which states that all teachers must be qualified with a Bachelor's in Education (B.Ed) is clearly violated as schools have been hiring under-qualified teaching staff. Why? Because teaching is an easy job, it doesn't require any skills or experience. There's no dignity associated with this profession as it has been deemed as a low-lying job. Where Singapore, South Korea, and Japan recruit teachers from the top graduating class, in India, not enough attention is given to inducting highly qualified teachers. Where the system feels that this is a job that could be also done by a 12th-pass student, the skills that teaching as a profession demands are overlooked. And that's why even people resort to basics because they aren't trained well, and they don't know the best pedagogies which consequently compromises the individuality of every student, including his distinctive learning needs. 

Even in most of the central universities, DU, for example, much attention is given to filling in the vacancies rather than ensuring that the appointed teachers provide their best. Ad-Hocs or temporary professors are employed who are supposed to teach beyond what their qualifications are which again reduces the quality of education. These teachers are then underpaid and there is no incentive left that entices them to be in this profession. Their encouragement to provide the best is seized away which hinders people from pursuing teaching as a profession or to improve it as they feel undervalued.

It is imperative that for teaching to regain its lost glory, efforts are made to bridge the gap between infrastructural problems and the recruitment of a talented workforce for the Indian Education System. Actually recognizing the efforts of a teacher by providing proper opportunities for career progression, along with creating a professional environment for them can certainly restore the dignity of this profession.

However, until then, in a country like India where teaching as a profession is gendered, where seniority is preferred over performance, and where it is considered a last resort by people, a way to save themselves from materialistic defeat, I would stand by my statement and prefer not to become a teacher so to save this virtuous profession from adding one more dishonour to its history.

About this article
In her thought-provoking article "The Supply Side Problem Of Indian Education: The System Can’t Truly Deliver If Teaching Remains The Last Option For Us," Sanya Tyagi passionately articulates why she chooses not to pursue a teaching career, reflecting a sentiment shared by many in India. She emphasizes how societal misconceptions and undervaluation of the teaching profession have deterred aspirational individuals. Sanya sheds light on the dichotomy of motivation seen among those pursuing teaching—some view it as an easy option, while others are enticed by financial stability. She underscores the importance of addressing systemic issues, such as inadequate training, under-qualified teachers, and infrastructural gaps, to restore the prestige of teaching in India. Despite her decision, she advocates for elevating the profession to attract and retain a talented teaching workforce, essential for a brighter educational future.

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