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Unveiling the silent suffering

Unveiling the silent suffering
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By: Peer Mohammad Amir Qureshi

At the forefront of molding the minds that will shape a nation’s destiny, stands the figure of a teacher. These custodians of knowledge are revered as the architects of our society, their significance echoed time and again.

Throughout the annals of history, teaching has held an exalted position, an act of virtue that illuminates the path of seekers. Islam, recognizing their eminence, has endowed teachers with utmost respect, bestowing upon them profound rights. The immortal words of Hazrat Ali (RA), “Teach me but a solitary word, and I shall be your devoted servant for life,” encapsulate the pinnacle of reverence for teachers.

Alas, the plight of private school teachers is a lamentable saga, wherein they find themselves beleaguered by the very parents they serve and the school authorities they toil under. These educators, often treated as subservient beings and relegated to second-class citizenship, bear the burden of arduous challenges and tribulations while carrying out their noble duty.

Are they not entitled to recompense and timely remuneration for their countless hours of unwavering lectures? Shockingly, the J&K Private School Association reveals that a staggering 65,000 teaching and non-teaching staff members lack any source of income.

As private teachers endure the disheartening delay in receiving their dues, they must also shoulder the responsibilities of their families and fulfill other obligations. Meanwhile, a mere driver receives his due promptly, highlighting the deplorable disregard faced by these erudite instructors, despite their formidable qualifications.

School administrators cunningly exploit the high unemployment rate in the valley, knowing that they can easily replace these educators at the drop of a hat, as soon as an employment notice is published.

It is imperative to acknowledge that several esteemed educational institutions in the valley have begun to recognize and value the tireless efforts and unwavering dedication of their educators. This progressive trend is certainly praiseworthy. However, it remains an unfortunate truth that, as a society, we have consistently failed to comprehend, acknowledge, and truly appreciate the profound sacrifices made by our teachers.

In recent years, the delicate fabric of the student-teacher relationship has grown fragile, descending into a state of disarray .In a realm where wisdom once held court, private teachers now stand at the precipice of a disheartening reality. The delicate dance between mentors, pupils, and parents has undergone a metamorphosis, casting aside the regal air of respect and embracing an era of nonchalance.

With each step toward informality, the pillars of authority crumble, sowing seeds of mediocrity within the fertile fields of education. The symphony of reverence, once harmonious, now fades into an unsettling silence, leaving private educators to grapple with a profound loss that tarnishes the very fabric of learning.

Private school teachers find themselves caught in the crossfire of parental scrutiny, unable to exercise disciplinary measures against their students without repercussions. Distressingly, incidents like the recent arrest of a private teacher in Ghaziabad for reprimanding two students highlight this disconcerting shift.

Increasingly, parents dictate the terms of their children’s education, deciding whether homework and assignments should be given, thereby eroding the autonomy of Teachers. The disposition of their wards, including their interest in writing, learning, and reading, now solely determines the direction of education. Teachers find themselves at the beck and call of their students and, at times, are even dismissed when the school administration prioritizes results above all else, turning these dedicated instructors into scapegoats.

Despite their diligent and enthusiastic efforts, private teachers receive meager wages, often lower than those of peons or drivers employed by the same institutions. Tragically, their hard work goes unpaid, forcing them to endure months of waiting for their meager paychecks. Adding to their predicament, private schools withhold separate wages for teachers during winters, despite collecting substantial tuition and fees during this period and organizing winter camps to enroll more students.

The majority of private school teachers in Kashmir continue to grapple with melancholy, burdened by unrealistic expectations, a sense of inadequacy, and financial constraints. The uncelebrated champions of Kashmir’s pedagogical framework, private instructors, bear the formidable burden of colossal impediments while endeavoring to mold the intellects of forthcoming generations.

Their adversities, spanning from waning reverence to fiscal hardships and restricted occupational advancement, persistently evade widespread acknowledgment. It is of utmost urgency for society, educational establishments, and the governing authorities to apprehend and rectify the dire predicament afflicting private teachers in Kashmir.

Through provisioning them with ample sustenance, equitable remuneration, and avenues for self-development, we can bestow upon these resolute educators the means to discharge their pivotal function in shaping the destiny of the upcoming generation of Kashmir.

(The author is a columnist and is pursuing his post graduation in science)

KV News

Kashmir Vision cover all daily updates for the newspaper

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