In the recent years, high rates of teacher absenteeism in government elementary schools have occupied both researchers and policymakers as an issue of deep concern. Understandably, policy efforts have been oriented towards addressing this issue but primarily with solutions that invoke greater control over teachers. In the very recent past, for example, in its economic survey, the government has suggested biometric systems as a means of curbing teacher absenteeism (Government of India 2017).
Well there’s a teacher in Kerala, Abdul Malik, a resident of Malappuram, who swims across a river with a tube tied around his waist, shoes in one hand and clothes in a bag just to reach the school on time. It is a part of his daily routine and he does it every day with a smile on his face. To avoid the 24-km long journey by road, he has been swimming from his home to the school and back, for over 20 years now. He has never missed a class.
Swimming helps him avoid the long road journey, which would involve changing three buses and take a lot of his time also the school is surrounded by water on three sides. He carries his clothes and books in a plastic bag. Once he crosses the river, he changes into fresh clothes and makes his way to the school.
Malik is truly dedicated towards his work and is a favourite among the students. He is also aware that his students need to be sensitized towards nature.
Abdul is a staunch environmentalist too, and gets saddened by how the river has become dirty over the past years. He often takes his students swimming, who love their unique teacher. Together they remove plastic, garbage, and other filth floating on the river’s surface.
Meanwhile in Jammu and Kashmir, the teacher’s recruitment process has been started by the Service selection board. A number of teachers to be appointed by education department will be accountable to the future of thousands of students. We just hope by knowing about Abdul Malik every future teacher should channelize all their energies for the betterment and welfare of students.