It has been 61 years since independence, but we still have not been able to achieve 75 per cent literacy, forget about universal literacy! The quality of education provided is bad.. Lack of teachers, especially the lack of quality teachers is one of the reasons why India is still backward in terms of literacy. Teachers seem to have disappeared. There is a shortage of 25 lakh teachers in the country. With population increasing tremendously, teachers seem to be disappearing even more.

Why have people started taking up other professions and delegated the job of teaching to become their last preference? Teaching used to be a highly respected and well paid job once upon a time. My grandfather decided to be a teacher instead of a district collector around 45 years ago. But now, no one would do this and people are likely to wonder what made him take this decision! A child spends most of his time with his teacher and if he/she doesn’t impart adequate knowledge and values to his/her pupils, the entire future of the child gets destroyed. However, these days, teaching is likened to commercial work.

One of the reasons for this is the low salary packages of teachers. Low salaries make people reluctant to take up this profession. There is also a lack of incentive to impart quality education. Teachers should be given proper incentives and should even be awarded for high performance. Seventy per cent of the 8,000 teachers in DU have seen stagnation in salary and position for the past 10 years. It takes a teacher a minimum of 11 years of research and teaching to attain the position of Reader, the highest position in DU. At present, they get Rs.18, 400. If the recommendations of DUTA are approved, then the average income of a Reader in Delhi University can go up to Rs 60,000.

The need of the hour is that the recruitment process should be in accordance with the students’ needs, and teachers who are more student friendly and have proper educational qualifications should be recruited because along with the quantity, quality also matters.

It has often been said that many teachers in India are lazy and do not wish to work. Working conditions need to be made more stringent and it must be ensured that the work is done properly. The environment should be teacher friendly as well. Government must increase the public expenditure on education as education is a solution to many other problems like poverty, unemployment etc. Better salary packages will attract more and better teachers.

There are millions of young brilliant minds in India but the full potential of the country still needs to be discovered. Millions of people need to be educated. India will be a country with great professionals if people are provided with right opportunities. The future of our country is dependent on teachers. They must feel responsible towards their job and help India shine.

Aparna Vyas

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