Changes in the education system are welcome, but teachers need to be better paid and trained, say educationists.
The recent spate of students committing suicide has spurred the State Board for Secondary Education into thought and action. On January 20, the board said it would introduce changes in the curriculum to help reduce stress on students.
With poor teacher-student ratio and underpaid teachers, the academic fraternity feels such changes might end up being merely cosmetic.
“I love my profession,” said Nanda Kamble, a teacher at Borivli’s Suvidyalaya School. “But it’s frustrating to not get your due. Also, dealing with so many pupils puts pressure on us.”
Kamble is the joint secretary of the Mumbai Private School Teachers’ Union that has been protesting for a salary hike since January 18. With the teacher-student ratio in state board schools at 50 to 80 students per teacher, teachers cannot give individual attention.
“We have the numbers, but not quality teachers. Good ones get attracted to higher pay packages and smaller classrooms that international schools offer,” said Rohit Bhat, principal of Children’s Academy, Kandivli.
A survey by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) revealed that teachers were unable to balance work and home pressure.
Sixty-seven per cent of them were unable to strike a balance between professional and personal lives,” said Arundhati Chavan, PTA chairperson.
While demand for qualified teachers is more than supply, schools often underpay even better qualified teachers, said Professor Rita Sonawat, head of human resources, SNDT Women’s University.
“If the philosophy in private schools is to make profits, how will they invest back in the school and their own teachers?”