HYDERABAD: A recent survey by the School Education Department, Telangana, revealed that more than 50 per cent of the class X students both in the government and private high schools in the State cannot read and write in English. The survey also found that 70 to 80 per cent of the teachers of more than 5,000 schools in five districts of the State including Hyderabad are unfit to teach in English medium.
Interestingly both the findings of survey seem to be interconnected. Officials of the School Education Department found that the learning level of students was lower where the teaching experience of teachers was less than two years.
“They were not even well aware of the curriculum,” said an official from the School Education Department. “If teachers are not able to understand the syllabus, how can they make students understand it,” he asked. Experts feel that the problem lies in the recruitment of teachers itself. The current recruitment process tests only the aptitude and basic knowledge in the subject concerned but not the teaching ability of the candidates.
“There is a vast need to bring in reforms in the recruitment process of teachers,” says Chukka Ramaiah, noted educationist. “The most important quality of any teacher is their ability to teach, but it is not being tested. To become a good teacher, one must know how the students think and should be able to handle their issues in a sensitive manner. But, this quality can’t be tested by written tests,” he added.
Meanwhile, teachers say that they should be trained according to the changes in syllabus and examination pattern. “There has been no training programme for the teachers ever since the last session when English medium was introduced in the government schools,” said P Venkat Reddy, president of the Progressive Recognised Teachers Union (PRTU).
Teaching can be improved only when the teachers constantly update their knowledge, he added. While the government is bent on improving the standards of current teachers in government schools, the private schools are finding it difficult to get well trained and experienced teachers.
“Finding a good teacher is very difficult these days,” says the principal of a private school in Hyderabad. “However, we can’t meet their demands for high salaries even if we find one,” she added. She admitted that the management would prefer an amateur teacher who is ready to work for Rs 7,000 to an experienced teacher who demands Rs 15,000 a month.
Meagre salaries and heavy pressure on the teachers are badly affecting the teaching profession. Especially those who are working in private schools said they are not able to work with dedication with all these problems. “Which teacher works with complete dedication when they are paid less than a watchman?” This is what a teacher from a private school said. This comment explains how most of the private schools are functioning.