By Akanksha Gupta
The hunting of ReTs is common knowledge after large scale and sudden Inspection of the schools, introspection of the teachers and lot more. The Education department of the state is taking measures towards a better system of education in the government run schools and ideally they must. It all started during a case in the High Court, when a government teacher was unable to answer questions of primary school level to everyone’s horror. The High Court then ordered the Screening Test for ReT Teachers working in state and inspection of documents they have provided during the time of joining.
It is indeed a very good initiative taken by the government of Jammu and Kashmir but when looked at objectively, it appears as a form of Witch hunting.
What one may but surely needs to ask is why the screening limited to just Rehbar-e-Taleem Teachers? Why are the general line teachers, who have been selected on the basis of ‘merit’, immune to such screening? The motive of screening test is to test the capability of an individual. If there is an assumption on part of the Hon’ble High Court that all of the general line teachers appointed years ago are competent enough to provide new age or even good education in government schools, then I differ with a simple case in point.
To begin with, the scheme – Rehbar-e-Taleem – was started in 2000 for appointment of teachers in villages with an aim to curtail unemployment at village level. Most of those appointed at the outset were then 10+2 qualified. But then along with their jobs most of them completed their Graduation, Post-Graduation and some of them have even attained their M.Phil and Doctorate Degrees. There are, however, many general line teachers working in Government schools for years who do not even know how to switch on a computer. There are multiple examples of far off rural areas where general line teachers have repeatedly refused to get posted. Many of the ReT teachers have worked hard and brought an educational revolution even with constrained infrastructure and facilities.
The aim to revolutionise education system in government schools is good but screening of just ReTs is a biased step. There should be a test to check the competence of general line teachers as well. It is the inner conscious and hard work of a teacher but not the category of his selection which determines his capability and aptitude of teaching. This is sheer injustice on the part of ReTs who go and educate the students of remote villages where general line teachers have always been reluctant to go. That, notwithstanding a salary that is less than half of what general line teachers get. It is sheer discrimination with these teachers and they will only get demoralized with the step. Instead of enhancing their salaries they are given such a treatment. The Hon’ble High court should advise a fair trial and put even the general line teachers on the line. It is not as if the level of education has risen in Jammu and Kashmir. Our state is in fact the last in all its neighbours when it comes to literacy rate.
Only verifying degrees and conducting screening tests for ReTs is not going to revolutionise Education system because general line teachers working in the department are double the amount of ReTs. Without both the types going under the same screening pattern, it is difficult to say which of the two is better. Screening of both these teachers will ultimately lead to improvement in the education system and ultimately the future of our state. Why not walk in that general direction?