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Re-imagining the Institution of a Teacher

September 5, 2017

 

On the occasion of Teachers' Day this year, I was asked by an Indian newspaper to share my thoughts on the education system. Re-posting those thoughts here for our Worldview blog. 

 

One Education System?

 

The first thoughts which come to my mind when we discuss our education system or the lack of it is as to why we should even have one? At least ‘The Elusive One’ which apparently can accommodate and take care of all the needs of an amalgamated nation like ours. This is where I feel lies the foundational problem in finding solutions to the shortcomings in our learning delivery models. What is worth probing is if & how we can look at this ultimate system more as a true reflection of our nation - A mosaic rather than a monolith. This is where the Institution of a Teacher can make all the difference - making the global relevant to the local. 

 

Misplaced Public & Private Energy-Resources  |  Collateral damage: Institution of a Teacher

 

In the public schooling space various governments have explored and have been occupied largely with basic improvements with an infrastructural approach. In the private space content & technology with the rider of replicability at a large scale have dictated the direction of progress. The biggest collateral damage with this relentless pursuit of ‘one size fits all’ and ‘economies of scale’ approach to building learning models has been the Institution of a Teacher. Today the profession has been relegated to one that is for the non-achievers. Barring some insignificant aberrations it is safe to say that this is now endemic in our education landscape. Unless we re-imagine the institution of a teacher and restore its societal recognition we are essentially building soulless frameworks. 

 

Some Possible Solutions :

 

Teacher training & development programs need to be like executive courses offered in doses of short durations but over a longer period. This will tremendously lower the input costs of this career in terms of time, energy and money.

Government agencies should take up a broad regulatory role even as a major portion of the funding goes into Teachers across the spectrum of schools. With a good, motivated teacher learning can be delivered in deficient environments as well. The other way round is highly debatable. So effectively the Govt and their agencies can divert their efforts towards improving the dignity and recognition of this institution of a teacher.

Private investments in education are currently limited due to an archaic regulatory environment - born out of what has been a compelling idea that education is novel, and should not be exploited for profits. This has precisely achieved the opposite. The triad of leverage-able loopholes, power play and high capital requirements have made it virtually impossible for the real Teachers on the ground to have a buy-in in this seemingly growing space. A collapse of these hurdles and mainstreaming educational enterprises can incentivize a lot of passionate Teachers to turn Entrepreneurs. We probably need a “Learn in India” campaign if were to not only retain the smart brains but also the billions of dollars which take flight out of the country.

 

Will be happy to hear everyone else's views and thoughts on this very important subject. Share your thoughts with us.  

 

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Sampreeth has over 15 years of experience in leadership development and consulting. He was part of AIESEC, the largest student run organization in the world, where he led the national team. Before founding Worldview, he also worked as an Associate at IndusAge Advisors where he managed a portfolio of Entrepreneur driven advanced education-technology companies.