Published: 24th February 2018
Gurgaon teacher rape threat: Threatening teachers is a Western concept that has crept into India
It's no secret that the student-teacher relationship is not what it was a decade ago — here's an expert opinion on how and why it changed and what can be done to save the remains of it
The rape threats made to a female teacher in a Gurgaon school isn't an isolated incident. Being a teacher in India is getting difficult but according to experts that wasn't the case a few years ago. What changed? Indian Association of Teacher Educators President Ramesh Ghanta gives us his perspective here:
The Gurgaon rape threat incident is unwarranted in our school system. This is not just confined to Gurgaon as across the country, such incidents are constantly happening. Sometimes they are being reported, sometimes they are not reported.
This is a very disturbing trend, particularly at the school level. Earlier, such things were confined only to the west. This is something that we need to address, otherwise things will become more complex - which is not good for the system of education and society as a whole.
Therefore, parents, teachers and anyone concerned with the education system should address this issue at the earliest.
This is the age where they want to prove that they are the real heroes. Unfortunately, we do not have enough mechanisms in schools and colleges to counsel such students. We do not have such facilities even in the so-called elite schools that charge lakhs of money
Prof Ramesh Ghanta, President of Indian Association of Teacher Educators
What is the contrast?
When you look back at the culture of education in India, we had a Gurukul system when the teacher and the student lived in the same place and the relationship that existed was a father-son one. Over a period of time, the relationship that is supposed to exist between the two has disappeared. Now, the relationship has become more mechanical.
The school, teachers and the administration are getting influenced by the family of the student. The radical change in student behaviour towards the teachers is to be blamed on the kind of protection students are getting at home.
The age of students in which they study in the colleges and schools is very crucial. This is the age where they want to prove that they are the real heroes. Unfortunately, we do not have enough mechanisms in schools and colleges to counsel such students. We do not have such facilities even in the so-called elite schools that charge lakhs of money.
The kind of aggression that we are seeing in the students was restricted only to the elite, corporate schools. Such incidents were countable but now every other school is facing such problems on a daily basis.
Who is responsible?
I don't blame the students alone. The system is such that maybe we are not able to produce competent teachers. Therefore, the relationship is limited. They just teach the kids academic subjects and do not concentrate on the overall growth. They just concentrate on teaching the course and are not guiding students on handling life situations and morals. Unless proper guidance exists, content-based education won't help the students to grow into good human beings.
Parents are also responsible because the child is not getting the support, they have become "weekend parents".
The access to the internet world is dangerous and we do not have a control over it. There is no segregation of information that is received by the students. Western society already has bitter experiences of this but instead of protecting our children from it, we are following the same path.
What can be done?
In principle, we talk about the Parent-Teacher association but we do not have enough communication between the teachers and the parents. The children are realising that their complaints will not be taken to the parents. When we were in school, we had to show timely progress report cards to the parents. I think that has to be revived and the communication between various elements of education needs to be revived.
(As told to Punita Maheshwari)