As per a news report, India’s former president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would like primary school teachers in India to be selected the way civil service officers are; to ensure that they are qualified and equipped to groom youngsters. “Like an (Indian Administrative Service) IAS fellow has to go through a preliminary exam, then a main exam and then an interview. Of 400,000-500,000 people, just 1,000 are selected… Like that a primary school teacher will have to go through such a process,”
Seems like a great idea to ensure that primary school teachers have the requisite skills. Wrong!!. Firstly, despite fact that civil service exams are one of the most difficult in the country, a good proportion of the civil servants in the country are rendered incapable. There is something very degenerative about the system that takes away from its people their abilities and potential replacing it with inefficiency and rigidity. Is this how we envision our education system? Personally, I would like to see our education system nurture flexibility and creativity and not the other way round.
Secondly, how much do our primary teachers get paid anyway? At best, between Rs 10,000 – Rs. 25,000 monthly. I don’t see many of India’s best and finest queuing up for a job that pays an amount similar to what a supervisor at a department store earns. I also just don’t see 400,000-500,000 people vying to give an IAS type exam to become a teacher competing for 1000 odd seats.
I have immense respect for Dr. A.P.J Kalam. He is one of the very few intellectuals in recent years, who has had the courage to enter Indian politics. His contribution to India, political and scientific, has been remarkable. I do believe that he would have made these remarks only after he has given it some thought and convinced about its implementation. I only wish, he would have shared with us more details about his concept within the context of desired competencies and objectives.