Saturday, July 26, 2014

Teacher recruitment in a mess

As I was in conversation with an auto driver in Aurangabad yesterday. He revealed that he had to pay Rs. 12 lakh as bribe to get his wife a job in an Urdu Medium school which has 20% grant from govt. The amount was all that he, his father and grandfather had saved during their life time. He also disclosed that there are others who paid Rs.18 to 20 lakh and had to sell all their ancestral land for this. Again, with my travel across Maharashtra I can say that this story is not only about Aurangabad but about each and every district in the state. The are proper rates for each position you want to grab. The higher the position the higher bribe you'll have to pay.

Somewhere I feel, the amount of bribe registered on is just a drop in the ocean. Reality may just be more that the GDP of our nation but our ministers are clever enough to shy away from the current scenario.

Many are now taking about bringing back black money. This is possible only of there is a strong anti corruption law which can help prevent people to obtain black money and punish people who are involved in these malpractices.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Current Education Scenario

In India today, 4% of our children never start school – that’s 8 million. 
57% don’t complete primary schools – that’s 74 million.
And 90% don’t complete school – that’s 172 million.
The fact that only 10% of our children go on to college is really saddening.
Since the SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) started in the year 2001 we have seen a lot positive changes in terms of Infrastructure and resources for schools and children, though not yet up to mark. Mid day meal program has added to the advantage. The enrollment rate for students has jumped high over to over 95 % in many of our districts.
But here’s my question, is it really helping kids to whom we are reaching out to.
Yes, they are getting freebies and meals to jump into school but they  are missing out, on what they actually come to school for, QUALITY EDUCATION.
Our system currently deals with a lot of problem when it comes to delivering academics. A study says, 25% of teachers are actually not present in the class while the class is running and out of those present, only 50% of teachers teach at any given time. Our students are still burdened with rote learning methods and answering the questions dictated to them in their notebooks. This is instead harming and their thoughts more than what they are learning.
Teaching profession has always been the last choice for the people in India any many feel it’s a sit and earn job. (that is what I have heard many of the youth say, so called, PERMANENT NAUKRI ) Many parents still prefer private schools over municipal schools as they consider their kids have an edge there and that’s not false. All over across India government schools are facing low enrollment year on year (for eg. MCGM In Mumbai from having 9 lakh student in the year 2003 to less than 4 lakh student in 2012)

What needs to be focused to change it?

  • ·        Avoid Rote learning

Yes, we do know that many IB schools across India are trying to bring in interactive education and we laud that immensely. But the evil of rote learning is yet to be wiped out from a majority of Indian schools. Owing to the fixated style of question papers that have been doing the rounds in board exams from time immemorial, rote learning has continued.
We’re very sure that most students won’t be clear about many of the basic foundation concepts taught in school even after they’ve graduated. Ever heard of students mugging up balanced equations? This is one fundamental change that needs to come about in our Indian Education System!

  • ·        Marking System

All the other evils of the Indian education system ultimately come down to the method in which students are marked.
Is it justified that a student is evaluated only on the basis of his/her performance for the duration of three hours of the exam? If the axis of grading and marking is shifted to classroom participation, project work, communication and leadership skills and extracurricular performance, only then will a genuine student shine out.
This might sound like a utopian proposition but the Indian education system badly needs to bring about this change.

  • ·        Respect for all streams

"Oh has she done a MA in English? She’ll end up becoming a teacher"
"What good is a diploma in hospitality management? It ultimately means doing a job in a hotel as a cook right?"
If you’ve heard these lines time and again from you elders, don’t you think it’s time you stop them?
How long are we going to look down upon vocational streams and look up to medicine,engineering, the IIT’s and the IIM’s? Students at the school level need to be educated through career counseling regarding the kind of streams that exist and what importance each of them plays to make an economy diverse.

  • ·        Variety in education streams

Why do we always see students being envious of their counterparts in the USA?
It’s because there are just three options that student have after Class 10 – they’re stuck with Science, Arts or Commerce. If they’re not good enough for either of these, they jet set straight into diplomas and certificate courses. Don’t you think the Indian education system needs to introduce combination courses in which students can opt for a major and a minor subject? If students in America can pursue Physiotherapy with Art History and Biological Science with Photography, why not in India?

  • ·        The system of tuition classes

Commenting on this subject is like plunging one’s hand into a vicious cycle which seems to have no beginning or end. Reasons for tuition classes mushrooming are because students say that the teaching in schools is lax and not good enough for them to clear exams. Whereas teachers say that students jump ahead many chapters in the tuition classes before they are even taught in school.
This makes them loose all motivation and steam to attend school in the first place. Forget all of this, what about the poor parent who’s hard earned money gets drained in school and tuition fees alone?
Although the picture does seem dismal, there is hope because some of these changes are slowly being made by select education providers. But how quickly will these changes percolate down to common man in India, only time will tell.

  • ·        Make the Teaching Profession Valuable

Currently, majority of the educated youth in India choose teaching as a profession only after other options are exhausted. As a result, the wrong people are entering the teaching profession – people who are not motivated, and are really not interested in teaching. Ofcourse, India being a democracy, one cannot stop people from choosing any career they want. But what one can do is improve the process of teacher eligibility/selection, and improve the value of a school teacher. Similar to some of the Scandinavian countries like Finland, the teaching profession needs to be made respectful in India….on par with the Engineering, Medical, Law professions. Easier said than done ofcourse, but India desperately needs to bring some fresh blood and enthusiasm in the teaching profession.

  • ·        Address the Teacher Accountability Issue

After the 6th Pay commission gave teacher pay and benefits a great boost, the implementation of the Right to Education Act has put heavy emphasis on the inputs to the education system – infrastructure, student enrolment rates etc. The Indian government has spent 88,000 Crore rupees on education since 2004, yet the quality of education is abysmal, with high drop out rates (50% student drop out by 8th grade, with only 12% actually graduate college). What explains this?? One statistic stands out – 65% of the teaching resources are wasted in India due to the combination of teacher absenteeism and teacher inactivity in school classrooms. And the main reason being the lack of accountability. The teacher unions have become disproportionately powerful with heavy political connections, due to which there is total lack of monitoring – the school inspections are a joke. Also, there is a huge demand and heavy shortage of teachers in India (unofficial number is 3 million), which is not helping in improving accountability. Policy makers and the people in power in India know about this issue, but are very hesitant to deal with it. But i think it’s about time, India stops shying away from it and starts addressing the teacher accountability issue.
  • ·        Improve Quality of Demand

One cannot blame the Indian government for all the educational problems. Equal responsibility has to be shared by the people. Talking to the locals/parents in India, i got a feeling that the people have lost faith in the public education system due to its poor quality. They have given up hope. And the fact that the educated, well-to-do population send their kids to private schools, makes it difficult to motivate them to care about India’s public education system. But that needs to change. India needs a better quality of demand. And this starts with the educated population, motivated, helping out, and demanding a better quality of public education. The illiterate population and the locals/parents from the under-privileged communities, need to be educated about their rights, the need to be given a voice/hope, that good quality public education is their right and the government needs to deliver it. It is also critical that the disproportionate power of the teacher unions is counter-balanced by some sort of parent unions, or student unions.
Final Thoughts:
With the inputs to the education system taken care, it’s about time India starts focusing on student outcomes, and on improving the quality of education. And although technology has an important role to play, it is not the silver bullet, and should not be the focus when creating any educational strategy in India. The focus should be the 3 things mentioned above – raising the value of the teaching profession, addressing the teacher accountability issue, and improving the quality of demand in India; and technology should be used as a tool to supplement other tools that address the social, cultural and economic realities on the ground.
Recommended Video to Watch, ASER 2013 Report :

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Service Unavailable !! - IRCTC

IRCTC Website - Here, the first minute itself become the last minute hassle to book the tickets.
Must be hard for you to understand where do all the tickets disappear. 
Do people really plan 4 months ahead for their trips ? Not really. 
Look at the pictures below and try to guess it yourself.
The above pictures are of a real ticket with fake names and a fake ID proof.
Both the pictures will tell you the story of illegal ticket booking deals.
let us also look at the people Involved for this, this is no single man game:
1. The person who booked the ticket under fake names 
2. The person who made the fake ID Proof
3. The person who sold these fake tickets
4. The person who bought the ticket
5. The ticket collector who was responsible to check the ticket in the train. (must have taken 200/ 500 bucks from the passenger and let him off)

No where you can blame to IRCTC for this but to all the people who fall in the category of No 1 to 6 as mentioned above. the very same people will speak about corruption for other things then ticket booking because they are not involved in that. 

We just needed 1 person from the above chain to open it up and bring the change that people talk about.
What do you think about it ?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Role as a Teacher for Quality Education

             I knew I want to be a teacher when I was In grade 8th, when I read a letter from Abraham Lincoln to his son’s teacher. I was greatly inspired by that letter and maybe that’s the reason why I am here today teaching tiny tots from grade 2. In my opinion Teaching is not only a profession. it is the responsibility to guide a child to become a better person in their life.  I am in my second year of teaching right now and I feel that I have learnt more than I have taught to the kids. Success In teaching depends almost entirely on our attitude and approach. There are many factors to get good results from the students. Good results doesn’t mean just good academic results, I also mean their overall development as a person.
             My goal as a teacher is to help students become knowledgeable independent thinkers and researchers. I try to encourage and challenge my student’s foster critical thinking and pass on the inspiration to their peers. I try make kids realize that learning skills and concepts are the side effects of asking questions that interest them. I attempt to make them believe that if impossible if they strive for it, also to provide them with different opportunity to display their skills. I was personally grown up with a style of rote-learning, but I want my kids to be able to read fluently and speak with confident and write creatively. I also believe that teacher is the second mother as the students spend their long time with their teacher and to make the kids feel much homely. I try to make the environment of the class really welcoming so as to make kids love to come to school and enjoy learning here. I always plan my lessons well before the class time so as to maximize my instructional time in the class. I always make time to connect with the kids before school or after or during break, it actually helps me to understand my kids better their likes and dislikes, their learning styles, behavior, and to know more about their family. Each child is unique and one has to deal with them differently according to their needs, learning styles and interests.
        A child’s family situation and own motivation may hinder the performance in class, regardless of my methods of teaching to him. One of the most important roles I consider is involving the parent’s. they are their first teacher and kids learn a lot from them. I like to make parents wonder about their kid’s ambition and talk about malleable intelligence with them. Working with parents enhances the power of kids to learn more effectively.
       The best support I have and I can be for is the staff of the school, I always collaborate with my school staff for different ideas in teaching methodology. It helps the entire staff to learn and provide support to each other. Learning is a never ending ladder and I learnt a lot from my staff and I am still learning.   
        I am still so shocked with the fact that there are about 10 million kids in India who do not go to school. Out of those who go to school, 40 % cannot write their names or count 1-10. Only 10 % complete grade 10 and it is just 1% for girls. These statistics need to change and I have started it with my class and I know many other teachers’ like me are pushing towards it.
        I am a proud teacher, friend, or parent, whatever my student’s consider me.          
        Alas! The final words I want to say…. 
   The only dream I have as a teacher is that “One day all children will attain an Excellent Education”
With no child left behind.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First week in my second new school

Starting on with the first day, i was again so much excited to go to the school on the first day just like previous year with all my plans ready. sitting in the principal's office and just watching her talk to parents and their kids who came for admission was just so much inspiring and motivating for me. she cared for them so much :)  as she was too busy to talk i was just getting eager to move into my classroom. the first glimpse of the classroom was a sigh of relief for me, then introduced my self to all the teacher's in the school. by the time it was time to school i had one kid in my classroom. slowly after 15 minutes 2 more kids moved in. WOW ... i expected more. but still had fun and learnt a lot of things with the kids who came in. after the Recess break i was asked to collect kids from all the grade. it was fun with them as they enjoyed their stories. by the end of the day principal came to my room and had a little chat. she ended by saying Mahesh " i have given you the corner- most room and i am getting it coloured do whatever changes you want, but just inspire others around you." these words from her on the very first day of school lifted the expectations more than what i had from my self. each day was just so charming as the attendance was going up with new faces everyday. and a good bond with the staff and regular chats with the parents, well now by the end of the week , classroom is half painted, parent meeting the next day planned, visit to school of awesome eleveners Animesh Priya, Nandini Sethi and Alpana, its was just so amazing to observe them in their classroom as they are alone managing more than 50 kids each till the 2nd institute fellows arrive.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Running For a Cause ( SCMM )

The Mumbai Marathon is an annual international road running competition that is held in January. This event was first staged in 2004.

Help me raise money to support Teach for India, an organization that aims to provide quality education to ALL Indian children. Chip-in any amount that you can afford, I am sure it will go a long way!

and enter the amount you want to DONATE.
it would be really helpful if you pass on this message to your friends and families and help me raise the money for this cause.