Teaching in India ?

I completed my class Xth in 2010-11 and opted to study in a boarding school. I was interviewed by the Principal of that boarding school. She asked me that what do I see myself as 10 years down the lane. I told her I wanted to be a teacher – a teacher of English Literature in some college or university. I had it all sorted out back then. Little did I know that three years in college would make me dwindle on this career choice of mine.

Teaching is not just a profession. Teaching is responsibility – your responsibility towards the next generation of your country to shape their future. It is a commitment, a commitment to your country, a commitment to your subject, and, a commitment to your students. By teaching, I do not imply the mere dissemination of information. Rather, it involves motivation and inspiration, and thereby, alleviation. It involves the process of sharing knowledge in a social setup which is bombarded with “information and facts”. Knowledge goes much beyond “information and facts” and encompasses human values, cultures and traditions, good citizenship and a plethora of such ideas and ideologies that shape the human civilization. Knowledge increases when it is shared. And what can be a better medium of imparting knowledge than teaching ?

People are worried about brain drain. And rightly so, after all a majority of the best of India’s brain are working outside India, contributing to the economy of “other” countries. If I am right, which I might be, seeing the present condition of the highly qualified youth who want to opt for University teaching, in the coming decade there will be a dirth of teachers in India’s “public universities”. The next brain drain will not encompass doctors or engineers, it will encompass teachers.

In the three years of college, I have seen extremely talented and motivating individuals who are ad-hoc teachers. I joined the college when they were appointed as ad-hocs. I have graduated now but they are still ad-hocs, maybe in some other college of the University. Many more batches of students will pass out, but they will still be ad-hocs. Their students will get equally qualified and join them as their colleagues in the ad-hoc culture of the University.

There are, no doubt, many private institutions that are ready to give these ad-hocs what the public sector universities have been unable to give – a permanent position in the respective departments. Some may take up these opportunities after being fed up of being ad-hocs for 10-15 years. Some of those who have high saturation points may stay longer, hoping that someday they will be recognized by the administrators as one of their own, that someday this second grade treatment will stop. Futile. Kumbhakaran can wake up from his “nidra” once in six months. Will the administration of these prestigious global universities ever wake up ? I have serious doubts. Devoid of any rights and privileges, the ad-hocs are like “second class citizens”. It is a whole new system of Apartheid.

Some institutes, a selective few indeed, have however been a bit easy on them. Providing ad-hocs with most of the perks, they make the group feel like a permanent part of the institutes. But, as soon as the ad-hocs begin to feel secure and comfortable, they are bombarded with multitudes of extra-curricular and departmental work load. You pay them minimum wages, you put excruciatingly enormous workload on them, but you keep them happy by the superficial perks. The Utopian Capitalistic dream is not a dream anymore. It is a reality, here, in our country’s best institutions. But, don’t  we say in the Preamble to our Constitution that we are “socialists” and that we will “secure to all the citizens EQUALITY”? Maybe my understanding of these concepts is flawed then! But, if I am right, does it not mean that the current situation is against our Constitution, or if I may put it that way, UNCONSTITUTIONAL ?

Recently, 13 ad-hocs were terminated from Miranda House with one day’s notice. Are they daily wagers that you can dismiss them without even citing a proper reason ? They are the intellectuals of the society, some of the best brains of the country. Those who are familiar with Gramsci would know the importance of intellectuals in the development of a society. If a social setup treats their intellectuals like herds of cows and goats, I shudder to think of the future of that society.

Honestly, I am scared to join this system and so are many of my friends. We will always just be a number. Students won’t even remember who is NP4 or NP5. That will add on the humiliation of being interviewed again and again after every 3-4 months for the same post, in the same institute. The zeal will subside eventually. We will realize the futility of staying in such institutes and some of us will move out of this system with better opportunities. Those who won’t, will continue to face the torment. How long will they be able to keep it together, though ? Not too long.

From an anonymous frustrated Indian- “The ad-hoc system/culture is a nice initiative taken towards the culling and killing of the intelligentsia of India.”

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