(Abstract of a paper written in Hindi by Shri Dayal chandra Soni – published in Naya Shikshak/Teacher today July-September, 1977)
Not that the teachers’ participation and their acquiring due representation in the school administration is undesirable; it is liable to some serious flaws arising mainly from selfishness and malice. In privately managed educational institutions this just demand of representation has usually been discussed and also occasionally conceded to. But does it fulfill our expectations? This proposed representation granted whether by way of election, nomination or by appointment can very soon be institutionalized and lose its representative value.
If sincerely pursued this demand of teachers’ participation in school management can be realized through the following three ways:-
- Election of school executive-committee by the teaching staff from among themselves;
- Election of these members by the teaching staff from outside;
- Appointment or nomination of these members by the school-management from of the teaching staff.
Whatever path from the above three is adopted the possibility of the representatives being degenerated or politicized is always there. They may prove even harmful if they lose their true representative character. These executive committees generally turn into political bodies scrambling for power and privileges.
Sending adequate representation to the school management is not an achievement in itself. What is more important is how to make the teaching staff more duty bound without exploiting them and how to create a congenial atmosphere for work without spoiling the management-employees relations. Truly speaking we are not true to ourselves; we are not fair to our colleagues. We have made a false notion of discipline in our mind. By discipline we mean a set of obligations imposed by the authorities on the subordinates. We don’t feel ourselves bound in any way to our equals. We are not masters of our will but just servants of a system. This fallacious interpretation of discipline builds a hierarchy of privileged persons on one hand and a ladder of sycophants on the other. The result is that a common teacher does not elevate himself from a mere teacher and remains busy is safeguarding his own interest-sometimes offers himself as a tool for the exploitation of his colleagues if it helps in fortifying his privileged position in the smallest degree.
Why should we be complacent after grafting a few representatives into the managing body? We deserve more than that. Why shouldn’t the whole management be comprised of the employees? Why do we accept to be slaves instead of being masters? Perhaps we are a bit too much conscious of our weaknesses; we are afraid of building ‘teachers’ co-operative societies’ for running the schools and we feel easy to serve in an institution governed by managers and the so-called elected representatives. The most fatal weakness that we suffer from is that either we join the race for grabbing the power or we completely surrender to the establishment ignoring our individuality and damaging the interests of our colleagues. Even the system of imparting education at training colleges is so faulty that it fattens the desire of rivalry and cut-throat competition among the would be teachers.
Real teacher participation in the school management is not possible through mere representation. We must elevate ourselves to the post of patrons and supporters of the school. This is possible only if we are prepared to give something from our own side, something more than what we are usually asked for. It would be something like receiving shelter under a shady tree and at the same time protecting and strengthening that tree by giving it water and manure. To make this allusion more suggestive, it can be proposed that every teacher voluntarily part with his earned income, pay it to the school fund and thus incorporate himself with the school management. Half of this money goes to school fund as teachers’ contribution and the other half goes to the ’employees’ relief fund’. The amount thus rendered is not as material as the spirit of incorporation involved in it. But this voluntary renunciation must not be confused with pay-reduction or compulsory deduction. It must be a literal gift and a real contribution made by the teachers of their own.
It would be entirely in accordance with the old Indian culture of renunciation. The logic in support of its validity and rationality is that it would create a sense of affability and belongingness between the teacher and his sphere of work, it would enhance and add to his self-satisfaction; it would be a novelty in itself. It would give a new dimension to his sense of duty and responsibility. There is yet another point of rationalism behind this theory of voluntary financial contribution. It would make the teacher’s job a real joint enterprise. He must thoroughly understand that the successful execution of his job essentially requires the co-operation of others. He could successfully perform his duties only because others extended their helping hands to him and let him perform his work. He did not have to perform his work. He did not have to work in isolation. He was whole in himself, yet a part of the bigger and greater whole. That bigger whole enabled him to do what he endeavoured to do and so he must make his contribution to strengthen that system in which he worked.
This is the only effective way to elevate the teachers from the sense of subordination and slavery that they are suffering from. Unless they become the masters of their work they won’t be able to deliver the goods. So far we have only taken care of devotion to and effectiveness of authority; now is the time to test the force of renunciation. All sorts of doubts can braised in the implementation of this bold approach but if we have retained the smallest faith in the sublimation of humanity we could make some headway in this direction.
Abstract in English by:
R. R. Harsh
for Naya Shikshak/Teacher today