Monday, February 20, 2012

Where are the teachers?

A few days back I came across an article in the Hindu editorials on a similar topic. The article got me thinking and hence this post. (I post only after I think- I want you to note that!)

In a society that worships degrees and qualifications it is quite surprising that the quality of teachers is quite ordinary to say the least. And, to a certain extent, this lack of quality in teaching percolates in to the quality of students we are producing each year. So despite churning out the highest number of doctors and engineers year after year what we find is that there is hardly any ‘quality’ material that is coming out.

I’m going to describe ‘quality’ as I mean it in the sentence above. By ‘quality’ I mean kids with original ideas, passion, courage, emotional intelligence and capability. I’m sorry but in most places I go to I hardly see any of the above. And the situation is only getting worse by the day.

Much has been said and written about India’s population dividend. Today most analysts argue that population is our strength and not our weakness as it was once made out to be. While the stupendous economic growth of the last few years may lead us all to believe that, there is one assumption being made that might not necessarily hold fort. As in all things in life it is not always that ‘quantity’ matters as much as ‘quality’. Unless we train ourselves to be the best we are not going to get there- simple as that.

It is not just in our educational system- society in general doesn’t give much thought to training. We are trained to ‘pick-up’ things as we go along. While learning by experience is always the best way, one often finds that a lack of proper structured training inhibits growth and productivity. If one is given some sort of training then at least one knows what to look for and how to go about it. In the current system every newbie has to re-discover the wheel and drive really fast at the same time. Most are not able to cope and remain on the fringes. This is a loss of precious man-hours and a complete waste of time, resources and productivity.

Why this lack of patience to train the next gen? Most corporates believe that training is an unnecessary expense. Only recently have Indian companies (especially IT) been taking their training seriously and spending the required time and resources. But the norm still is to get the boys on the ground hard and fast. We need to fix this mentality. Human resource should not be treated as an unlimited one.

While the counter argument could be that spending too much on training when there is such a high-level of attrition is counter- productive. This is a point. But, as we are seeing already, salaries in India are growing and maybe within the next decade salaries are going to be standardized across the globe. India is then going to lose its charm of ‘cheap labor’. It will have to differentiate itself by the quality of its manpower. This is of course equally true of companies who are right now in business only by playing the meager wage payer game.

Companies/ Organizations/ Societies of the future will have to build standards and processes. They will have to nurture and cherish talent. And to retain talent they will have to get everyone to believe in the over-all vision of the group. Those that adapt will survive, and the others will perish. As in all things it is for us to decide.


Krishnan said...

true true!
where are those teachers??

Yuvika said...

completely agree with you!

Ajai said...

within each of us. :-)

Thanks. :-)

Rakesh Vanamali said...

As in all things it is for us to decide.

And what have we been doing? Commoditizing and making it commercial - perhaps that explains why we are who we are!

Ajai said...

Good point... wonder how I missed it. These so called private 'institutes' that have sprung up all over the place are poor substitutes to quality education. we can't commoditize it. It needs to be given it's proper importance in the larger scheme of things.