Shiv Kumar Padha
We, as nation, feel proud over the unprecedented multipronged development taking place on all the fronts during the current decade in general and the five years in particular. There is no such front where the present government has failed to achieve the favourable results. Whether it is economic, diplomatic, defence or any other, India has always come out with the flying colours leaving the hostile and expansionist countries of the world duped and bewildered. The country is on the threshold of introducing bullet trains, man less aircrafts, the city metros and all those which the present developed countries of the world boast of. But the people living in the villages, small towns and the hilly inaccessible areas are completely deprived of the health, education and the employment facilities since independence. Leaving aside other, the poor population living in the villages, towns and small cities, is overlooked and deprived of the basic health care since independence.
Health care of the people and providing health facilities to them falls under the priority of every government irrespective of the kind it is. Health care has been recognised as one of the fundamental right of every citizen and included in the directive principals of state policy. WHO constitution of 1946 envisages the highest attainable standard 0f health as a fundamental right of every human being. Understanding health as a human right grants a legal obligation on states to ensure access to timely, acceptable and affordable health care. The right of health must be enjoyed without discrimination on the grounds of race, age, ethnic or any other status. There has been mushrooming of the hospitals, prestigious medical institutions taking place in the capital and metro cities of the country both under private and the public sectors. Where the hospitals falling under public sector are unable to i. cater to the needs of increasing population pressure. Ii. suffering due to the shortage of doctors, drugs and diagnostic equipments, the hospitals in the private sectors are costly and beyond the reach of even upper middle class of the society. The palace like hospitals once built over the government lands, owned for a lease of Re. 01 for 99 years, of the metros and the capital cities with the promise of treatment of the poor people there have become out of bound and out of reach for the common man.
The infrastructure of health sector in Jammu and Kashmir is both shocking and miserable because the health facilities available in the existing health units from the primary health center to the district Hospitals in the State are too poor to provide treatment for the body pains and small fever cases. The condition of the hospitals and the dispensaries functioning in the remote and the hilly areas of the state is very deplorable in terms of availability of doctors and medicines. There is scarcity of doctors throughout the state in spite of the fact that an army of doctors pass out from dozens of medical colleges every year, but it is very disgusting that many doctors who fall under the category of blue eyed and kins of the influential politicians in the power get their appointments in the big cities while others mange it by using the silver key with the result majority of the health centers located in the rural and hilly areas remain at the mercy of the fourth class employees and the nursing assistants. There are no facilities of curing even diarrhea, dysentery, fevers and no arrangement for the treatment of broken bones and fractures. In the event of delivery and accidental cases many patients succumb to the excessive bleeding either at home or during shifting of the patients from the hilly areas to the hospitals in the cities. The poor people are left to languish at home owing to the poverty and poor health facilities. The fate of the so called CHCs, district hospitals in the State is not better than the one in th rural areas. Not to talk of other sophisticated medical facilities available to the city people there are no proper arrangements of blood transfusion, dialysis, CT scan, MRI and other tests in theses hospitals. The people are forced to take their patients to the neighbouring states where the poor patients are skinned and looted in the name of treatment.
The so called GMCs and other hospitals working in Jammu and Srinagar are inadequate to cater to the needs of the swelling number of the patients as such the people prefer getting treatment either at PGI, AIIMS or other big hospitals of the country with the result many families come on the roads due to the bankrupsy caused by the amount spent on the treatment of their kins. Whether it is GMC, Trauma, SS Hospital or any other the treatment given to the patients in these hospitals are ranked lowest among the hospitals functioning in the poor states of the country because the Health Department of Jammu and Kashmir, instead of becoming succour for the people have become a political hub and goldmine for the bureaucrats. Their priorities have always remained to construct the hospital building out of the central grants, equip them with sub standard equipments and medicines because there is great earning in the process of constructions and purchasing than in maintaining them and put them to a proper use.
The countrymen felt stunned when they watched the news on the national TV channels how the big hospitals of the capital city have been charging exorbitantly even for the treatment of malaria, dengu fever and pneumonia from the poor patients. According to the TV news how one of the famous hospital of Dehli charged Rs. 16 lahk from the poor parents for returning the dengu patient dead to the parents. Imagin how the poor population can dare to have such unaffordable treatment from such hospitals which makes the whole family bankrupt. Every poor patient would prefer death in the place of the costly treatment.
The Jammu and Kashmir Government, instead of going for the central funded prestigious medical institutions like GMCs, AIIMS, Medical Ayurvedic Colleges, should give preference to providing the health masses to the poor by making the existing health units functional by equipping them with doctors medicines diagnostic material so that they get medical assistance at their door steps. It will be in the interest of the state government to defer the higher medical institutes for a while till the existing health units are made operational.
The discomfiture of teachers does not end here. The pressure of ensuring mid-day meals with too less and too latecompensations adds to the difficulties. Actually, focus has shifted from its prime purpose to mere reporting. Avoidable attachments, only add to the genuine woos and continuation of good teachers.”There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children and their teachers,” he said, quoting Nelson Mandela.
Most of these elite private schools are established by rich and political class. They lack clarity of what an education institution is all about. Misinformation on good education also stems fromschools with big buildings, AC classrooms, fleet of buses, swanky cars, swimming pool, inflated CSR reflections, longwaiting time and high tea during PTM/PTA. Teachers have to cope-up with gloating ego attached with high status and ‘English Medium Schools’. In reality, parents concern should be on listening about disruptive behaviour and performance trends of their wards.As a result, the teachers have to churn the best out of the poor performers, to raise them at par with the rest of the class.
VIP treatment and excessive molly cuddling is expected from a teacher which includes malpractices to retain admissions and exercising utter economy. This is detrimental to a teacher’s moralewho believes in fair practice. Teachers neither have a voice, nor a say about educational policy. They comply, rather than participate.Muted ones are called motivated and talking one, rebels. For owners, the motivatedare those who are regular to school, follow protocols without question, recite ‘yes sir’, act as puppets and provide information that management team desires. Seema Bansal of Boston Consulting Group mentioned in TED Talk that teachers in Haryana are not incompetent but are expected to supervise the construction of classrooms, toilet, mid-day meal or depositing scholarship money in students account.Thus, teachers are in schools but not in the classrooms. Similarly, a lot of instructional time is wasted in rehearsing for annual day, farewell parties, sports day, VIP reception etc. to showcase schools to apowerful politician, cine star or area police officer.Extending invites to inspiring ex-teachers or eminent social worker is never thought of.
The mismatch between required numbers of teachers against the rising students’ number is seen everywhere. Some international schools maintain a healthy teacher- student ratio, but largely, teachers end up teaching a class of 40-8- students. Poor cannot afford such schools and rich don’t wish to anywhere.
There is no structured mechanism for much needed skills development. All teachers irrespective of their qualifications, existing skill level, varying take off points and social diversity, are put through the same generic mill, more for compliance and less for training. Lack of intellectual liberty and academic freedom, curtails their motivation to learn, innovate and update. Revaluating and reflecting one’s pedagogical skills by adopting rigorous study, practice and self-improvement and an open-ended feedback are essential. Good institutions treat poor feedback towards bridging the gaps and not for punitive actions.Except in few good schools like Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad, Indus School Bangalore, TISB etc., there is no R and D cell in most school sleaving teachers unequipped. Adaptability to needed change is unavoidable, but some schools still do not even support RTE wholeheartedly. Need for lighter school bags, reduced home work, ergonomic and maximum equality before varying controlling authorities remain a big concern. Most of us enter this profession as a new leaf. Once in this noble profession, the reality of teaching hits many, draining the passion and ‘joie de vivre’. The teachers who maintain grounds of professionalism and professional integrity by sheer talent, skills, passion, love for teaching and self-pride, finds it difficult to stand tall in this profession due to mental bankruptcy of unprofessional management and organisational appointed heads of schools and numerous other cogwheels.
Teaching can be demoralizing for many reasons like demotivated students. Ghost parents, disorganised administration, poor financial incentives, thin audience, monotonous notebooks, shoddy planning and lack of quality time, are just few impediments. Where is the sense of achievement and satisfaction to bring some work life balance? Parents, management and society put immense pressure on teachers. Discriminatory government policies, frequent interventions, conflicting accountability yardsticks, selective punitive actions, 24×7 security needs and ever-increasing concern of parents, make the lives of faculty members both rough and tough.
A teacher has to find a purpose of teaching children, and not to seek a reward. Given the natural aspirations, ethics and nobility of this sacred profession, the system is still not beyond retrievable. One needs to change focus from imperfections in the personal choice one made, to seek new ways tocontinue contributing in the learning of future generations. This must be done with gratitude while enjoying the heat of the classroom and wandering around. Going by the Montessori Methodtoo, it is the personal strength of a teacher that makes difference.Teachers are not para dropped. They areby-product of the prevalent society and education. They need to aspire to be the master, not the slaves of management. It might not be a personal and first choice, but accept that you are in it now.
Education sector is a very dynamic and it is constantly changing for the better. Technology can assist but cannot replace the teachers and teaching. Teachers and teaching will always remain relevant. A change in mindsetof all stake holders is urgently needed. Immense challenges and scarcity of rewards and recognition will always haunt all teachers as a precursor in their endeavour to development and career progression. If one is only for money, this is not the profession. The teachers have to wake up, command, pursue, upgrade and sell themselves by their quality delivery. It is time to end primitiveness and conservatism. Time to change self, separate teaching and home and bring work life balance between conflicting requirements. There is also a need for CBSE to relook at its instructional and policy matters for seamless coordination and smooth implementation across board.Unaided schools should not be the targets. Immense indian IT talentmust drive the education system.The old adage says;”A doctor can kill only a patient, but a teacher can kill a
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