India’s Next Decade: Be Teacher

Wanted a million teachers for the elementary level and half a-million at the secondary level.. Great numbers for the unemployment scene! Will the Next Gen take a note of it and be a good teacher and help making India a superpower in its own right?

I was stunned to see this number in an article in Business Today. India in hurry to cash on with its demographic dividend will need teachers for all levels and for all subjects. Indians if qualified and skilled will fill up the vacancies all around the globe and perhaps on other planets too as and when that gets inhabited.

And interestingly, one can be freelancer, a self-employed tutor or a big entrepreneur in education sector.

The better ones will have good entry salaries. The private school chains are even today ready to pay up to Rs 30,000 a month to fresh primary school teachers. It appears to me a dream run for teachers. My great primary teacher, Ganga Dayal Pandey used to get just Rs 15 in village school and my grandfather even at the end of his teaching career was getting a little over Rs 100 a month in a school run by a Birla’s company.

As reported, India plans an investment of $400 billion in education over the next decade. India will see at least 30,000 new colleges and between 800 and 900 universities.

But the leadership and administration of education sector will have to appreciate the need of quality education and must not replicate only the poor quality institutions that are in majority.

According to an independent expert assessment, less than 10 per cent of the current teachers are worth hiring, and 80 per cent of the total in profession chose to become teachers because they had no other choice.

The country will need a huge number of good teachers training institutes and few research institutes for education that keep on innovating the system. The existing teachers training facilities simply cannot meet the quantitative and qualitative requirement of the country on move.

According to government estimates, India has a shortage of 800,000 teachers in primary and upper primary schools. Over the next 10 years, secondary schools will have to add 500,000 teachers.

One can easily imagine the requirements of the teachers at various levels for the colleges and universities that are being planned to increase the percentage of students going for higher education from existing level of 12% to the level of other developing and developed economies of the world that goes up to 60% and more.

ITIs, polytechnics, and trade schools for specialized skills will again need teachers in abundance to meet the replacement requirements of the existing 5,975 ITIs for craftsmen training. Moreover, 1,500 new ITIs and 5,000 Skill Development Centres are being planned. Surprisingly, the present capacity for training instructors for the trade schools is only 1,100 trainers per year in its six instructor training institutes run by Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGET).
Even as on today, IITs are short of 1,284 teachers, when in years to come almost all states will have an IIT. IIMs have similar situation.

So it’s going to be the teachers’ decade for India to lead. And why anyone should complain about unemployment with so huge a potential in just one sector?

Can digital technology or Internet take care of the shortages of teachers? All experts be it the education minister or Sam Pitroda are for using all forms of technology to impart education. According to estimates, around 40,000 schools in India have adopted 2D multi-media technology in the last five years, a long way to go, for there are 1 million schools in India with 5 million classrooms. Technocrats are talking of using 3D. Lessons in biology, geography and chemistry are especially believed to have a better impact on children using 3D. Many other technologies are also in use and will come to aid the teaching. And many perks, incentives and awards are getting added to motivate the teaching community. Who knows one day some business house such as one of Premji, Ambani or Tata may initiate an award of Rs 1 crore for the outstanding teachers of the country?

It will certainly make the life of a teacher easy but can’t eliminate him. Will the community take the advantage of the vacuum?

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