Monday, May 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
M A I L B A G

Tuitions: hunting of teachers alone will not solve problem

Why does a student seek tuition? Why does he run after teachers and get desperate if a tutor is not available? In this regard, it will not be an exaggeration to say that the entrance tests have almost zeroed the value of classroom teaching. The lengthy course contents of two exams ó the board/university exam plus the entrance test ó compel a student to take up tuitions and parents to part with a fat sum. The system is such that parents and students are worried about the tough competition ahead.

In case a psychological study is done as regards why even 90% scorers opt for tuitions, I am sure one would find ambition, worry, fear, a distrust in the system, a sense of insecurity and uncertainty, all mixed up, in a studentís mind. Therefore, a student doesnít feel confident till the time, he/she is enrolled in for at least 3-4 subjects for coaching.

The practice of tuitions has seriously affected the study habits of students. Students want everything readymade now. They want to be spoon-fed all the time. Library reading is out, help books and notes made by teachers or by coaching centres are in. Students are absolutely dependent. Uncertain ! Unsure !

The course content does not warrant originality. It demands mugging up of certain facts, certain formulae. No application of knowledge ! No relevance of knowledge with the present times! Set questions. Set answers. Teachers make notes and pass them on to students. Students are happy. Their job is made easy. Tuition is in like fast food.



 

It is often alleged that teachers donít take classes. They force students to attend their tuition classes. I am myself a teacher. My experience is that it is very difficult to coax students for anything these days. They are quite aggressive. At the college level especially, they get together and start raising slogans at the drop of a hat. Why donít they raise their voice when their teacher doesnít take the class? Why donít parents visit schools and colleges to complain against such teachers who compel students for tuition?

The fact is that this problem cannot be handled by hunting only the teachers. The solution of the problem needs a serious thought and sincere efforts. The first requirement is to enhance the value of classroom teaching in the eyes of students by giving proper weightage to the scores earned in board/university exams. Maybe eligibility can also be raised from mere 50% to 65 at least.

There should not be much disparity in the syllabi and pattern of examination between board/university exam and the entrance test to ensure that the student finds classroom also helpful in achieving his ultimate goal ó admission in the college of his choice.

Extra coaching should be given in the school/college itself in the classes run at off times at rates much lower than what is charged by the private coaching centres. The money thus earned by the institution will add to the institutionís resources, out of which to keep the teacherís interests going. The teacher can be paid extra for the extra work done. The teacher should be made liable to pay the income tax also for this additional income. Such a facility would prevent many students from going to the expensive coaching centres.

The solution lies not in arresting teachers but in understanding the problem in totality and finding solutions which create harmony and co-ordination among policy-makers, teachers, students and parents.

LALITA JAGMOHAN SINGH, Chandigarh

Empower the students: If we sincerely wish to end tuition, we should empower the student who is bullied or induced by the unscrupulous teacher to take tuition. We should make the teacher and the head of the institution accountable. We should devise a system of incentives that discourages teachers from giving tuition and encourage them to pursue further studies, curricular innovation and research. We should, at long last, initiate a dynamic restructuring of the entire edifice of education in which petty evils like tuition would die their natural death.

Dr. RAJESH K. SHARMA, Hoshiarpur

Private practice: Is this a government of empty skulls? One day it sends teachers to jail because they have been indulging in tuition. The next day it talks about allowing private practice to the serving doctors. If doctors can be permitted private practice, why not allow the teachers to give private coaching, especially for competitive tests and exams?

TUSHAR RATTAN, Hoshiarpur

Large syllabi: Education policy makers do not take into consideration the education levels of parents, teachers and students while framing syllabi of schools and colleges. The planners obtain syllabi of advanced countries, ignoring the local conditions and ground realities, and frame the new syllabus. The syllabi are very tough and lengthy.

In most of the cases teachers are not to be blamed. Private tuition is more a studentís requirement than a teacherís creation.

Dr N.L. NARULA, Yamunanagar

A solution: One solution to this problem is that a centre for coaching be opened at each college where teachers must give extra coaching other than teaching the load prescribed by the UGC.

Students will get extra coaching and can prepare for other exams, that too at nominal rates.

R.S. UPPAL, Fatehgarh Sahib

Pay salary in time: A teacher is also a common man who has to buy his grocery, pay his telephone bills, electricity bills, send his children to moderate school and make some saving for future. So his salary and other dues should be paid regularly by the government.

G.K.S. SIDHU, Barnala

Allowed in Chandigarh: Strangely the Chandigarh Administration has not yet contemplated any action so far. It is common knowledge that many teachers from colleges, including Govt. Colleges, are engaged in this murky business. The menace is not confined to fleecing alone. Those who cannot afford or evade attending such classes are harassed, given either bare minimum pass marks or are even failed in internal assessments and college examinations.

VIJAY VERMA, Shimla

Films on Bhagat Singh

Five different films on the legendary Bhagat Singh are being released. Not only does it show the ego clashes of the producers concerned, but also exhibits the wastage of money in producing these films, especially when the film industry is facing recession.

SALIL BALI, Chandigarh

Ghani Khan

We read a story in The Tribune on May 6 "He treasures Guruís Hukamnama "that Zahur Ahmed Khan, a descendant of Ghani Khan, who along with his brother, Nabi Khan, saved the life of Guru Gobind Singh at Machhiwara, is living in poverty in Lahore. The original Hukamnama of Guru Gobind Singh that was presented to Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan in 1704 AD is kept by him with due reverence, wrapped in a silk cloth.

I put this story on the Internet. Several people want to send some money to help Zahur Bhai. Can somebody please send us his mailing address in Lahore?

JAGPAL S. TIWANA, Canada

Chambaís chowgan

During our recent visit to Chamba after a decade or so, we were pained to find that the Chamba Chowgan, known for its scenic beauty, has lost much of its greenery. Chamba without Chowgan is a hell to visit and to live in.

P.D. BHARDWAJ, Amritsar
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