By Khalique Rahman
By Khalique Rahman
Morocco World News
Raipur, India, September 5, 2012
It always takes the good with the bad to make this world go round. In education, however, in earlier times at least, the good out-numbered the bad. In such a state of affairs, the quality of life increases. The current global scenario shows that the overall quality of life has deteriorated. That by inference means education has failed to produce sustainable out-put.
As has been rightly suggested, the ‘bad’ trickles down from the top. But the ‘good’ always rises from the bottom and pushed to the top. A good teacher does that. Let’s hope this happens. Pray, long live the good teacher and may his tribe increase!
Professor Bala Subramaniam was a fantastic teacher. He taught me Phonetics when I was doing MLitt at CIEFL Hyderabad. While we were doing a course in Instrumental Phonetics, he was simply superb in training us in Palatography. While I was in Edinburgh for my Masters, I heard Bala’s name much too often in the Phonetics Lab. Palatography or Balatography, they’ll ask, tongue in cheek, because they said Bala would work, non-stop in the Phonetics Laboratory, day and night, taking out thousands of palatograms and that perhaps gave them the idea of this light-hearted coinage.
Bala was in Jeddah, too, to earn sufficient money to get his daughters married.
Do you know how well the teachers are looked after in the Gulf? Bala would tell us that he received a well-furnished house with two cars, one for the family and one for work. They took care to maintain everything in the house, utensils, cutlery, drapery, upholsteries and of course, furniture and other furnishings. He told us, they gave him an extra allowance, if he had guests.
Bala was simply flabbergasted. He went to the employers and told them he’d prefer to live ascetically because it was what he was used to and he would like to return most of the facilities, including the cars. He assured them that this would not affect the quality of his work. He also asked if it would be possible for them to convert these facilities into money because that would help him immensely towards getting his daughters married.
They understood his difficulty, respected his spirit and wholeheartedly agreed.
Bala returned with enough money that he earned and saved for the cause.
Bala narrated another incident. He went to work by bus. But one day he forgot to carry his monthly bus ticket. The conductor asked him to get off at the next stop and informed the police. While poor Bala was trying to plead and the constable was not at all becoming convinced, the two of them heard assalaam-o-alaik al-mudarris (peace be onto you, O teacher) from a car that whizzed by.
The constable not only apologized but took Bala in his car for Bala to collect his monthly ticket from home.
The teacher cannot tell a lie! So the society and the police believed!!
Bala also related that while in Jeddah he learned that there were three teachers from India recruited in a school on a three year contract that was renewable each year. They noticed that they were taking it easy and not teaching. They watched them for fifteen days. They were not teaching. They gave them the benefit of the doubt (maybe they were taking time to settle down in a new place) and waited for fifteen days more. As there was no change, they called them and asked them to go back. Astounded, they complained that they were there on a three-year contract. The principal asked them to have a close look into the envelopes. The three envelopes had in them termination orders with checks for an amount equal to the salary and allowances for three years!
The Principal said they would NOT allow them to play with the future of the students!
There are teachers like Bala. They must be handled with care because they are an endangered species. Moreover, they are costly, delicate and can breakdown. They are the builders of the future generation. They make human beings out of kids at school and boys and girls in colleges and universities. They are nobody’s servants. They should be well looked after and rewarded and not paid salaries. So say the Scriptures.
And, there are teachers like those three. They need to be dismissed like servants.
India celebrates the birthday of the former President Dr. Radhakrishnan as Teacher’s Day on 5 September, because he started his career as a teacher. No wonder then the whole country and its alert press is earnestly preparing for celebrations and in the process expressing concern about the sorry state of affairs that education finds itself in. More astonishingly, I hear words of anxiety from Pakistan and Morocco as well. What is going on?