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Should Education Be An Empty Bowl? - Poem by PARTHA SARATHI PAUL

Should education be an empty bowl?
Partha sarathi Paul

What if this essay is not put forward by an educator belonging to academia? Does not a common man have as much right as one erudite to express a true anxiety over superficial education that threatens budding human resource? To speak the truth point-blank, all the three important pillars namely guardians, teachers and students ought to be held equally responsible for the pathetic plight under gaudy marks sheet wrapper. Is study like tiling a farmland with sweats, tears and toil what ends in laughter at the sight of good yield? Is it just a social compulsion for guardians to provide their wards with the best education by putting them at a school of repute? It`s never a delight in hitting out to pumpkin (marks-all) education system. This caustic writing appears here triggered by the first-hand experience of the endemic malady. It is anticipated that all the three parties will address the jumbled up situation in prevailing education system. How could the students of today become the worthy citizens of tomorrow unless they are imparted true education in right way? Will bulky pillars- - destitute of original substantial strength- - be able to uphold the concrete enormous roof? Some evident shortcomings and cucumber some circumstance that call for effective and immediate remedy will be illustrated here. The present education leaves little elbow room for both teachers and students to be innovative.
We are surely not looking for any no-nonsense solution neither we do hope for any providential miracle. This essay will point out some grave pictures on the ground level of the system in question. The readers are implored to cross-check the veracity of points and then make their opinion in accordance with their own finding. This writing holds no purpose of influencing the readers with all the negative portrayal just in order to prove the loud review as proudly maverick. Only drawing a distinction between public schools and private schools- - - reposing all trust in convent schools for the prospect of I.C.S.E & I.S.C; the first-standard syllabi or even C.B.S.C curriculum that speaks highly of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities may bring fine solace but not the exact solution to the longstanding problem. The prevalent method of teaching subjects invariably produces low output except aiding serious students to score decent marks in scoring papers …..Here lies the irony and tragedy. The possible reasons why many teachers are indulging themselves in deliberate delinquencies or (impudently speaking) they are failing to discharge such a noble duty as imparting knowledge to learners are as follows. Firstly, most of the teachers are the by-product of rickety education system that provides little room for originality and analytical judgment on synthesized arguments. Most of them clung to Practice-books, Test-papers and Question-banks instead of thorough textbook reading or consulting authentic reference books on varied subjects during their school days and onward. Hence, they fail to elaborate on a theme or delve into the surface layer at the time of teaching in a class. How many of them take delight in teaching with the belief that it will enhance their qualities too? Most of them, unfortunately, take this noble work merely as a job for their living. Secondly, the thin pay-packet at many private schools discourages even quality teachers in giving their best efforts. Along with uncertainty and insecurity involved in the job at such places, they have to take huge work load. Managements here are more domineering in dealing with their stuffs but as such no pay hike or perk is ensured to them. So, out of their job frustration they eventually lose interest in their work and remain mentally busy in looking for other better career options. This really aggravates the situation. Thirdly, some of them lack in the flair for teaching though they have sound academic career. If teaching students is not your niche then enjoying this job is next to impossible and you are sure to end up in depression. In this case, students are not going to be benefited at all and continuous poor performance on part of a teacher generates great disrespect in the minds of students. More so, some private schools appoint novice teachers of modest quality just because they could be paid lowly and thus such managements unethically compromise with abysmal standard- - - - depriving students of the quality education. The situation of public schools is not any better in this respect but more focus has to be laid on the private counterparts as guardians there have to cough up a considerable amount every month besides other expenses. Lack of supervision and time-to-time monitoring on teachers at public schools gives them much leeway. All the mentioned demerits plague these schools too- - - - only job security and other facilities are guaranteed to teachers by government. Students and guardians no longer rely on public schools. This causes the exodus to mushrooming private schools in cities, big towns and small towns as well. Needless to mention- - there are yet a few devoted teachers both at public and private schools as ever bright exceptions. Substandard students at times pour cold water on the teaching excitement of newly appointed highly qualified teachers. Next comes what is the issue of rapidly changing syllabus. There has been a considerable reshuffle in public schools as education ministry is trying their best to catch up with private boards. The heads who decide syllabus seem to be motivated only by the idea of increasing the things in quantity. The merit of students is never judged before thirsting huge burden upon them. However lofty the objective may be, fulfillment remains far away unless students are really benefited. The mechanical implementation or blind imitation of foreign standard ultimately leads to nowhere. As far as English syllabus of I.C.S.C board is concerned, each and every student should be able to write and speak good English but a survey will badly disappoint surveyors. Quite many English medium goers are found to be speaking and writing glaringly erroneous English. This error strikes all to surprise as English is their main language as a subject and principal language of communication in their school precincts. Apart that, they have two English papers; language and literature- - both are rich in all terms possible. Moreover, what about teachers` speaking and writing ability there? Admittedly, homework and projects are must but their importance is hardly inculcated into those who have to carry them out. Are students not compelled to accomplish such tasks rather halfheartedly just in order to obtain some almost sure marks? Instead more class works and serious surprise tests will make them adequately active in schools and in their study in general. Do they not just get most of their project works done by others? They somehow manage with the aid of Net or tutors or guardians and thus acquired marks shine in their mark sheets. Students are kept busy with chain of semesters and many such and such things with little education in reality. Let us focus on students in general. Ironically enough, only a few of them are learners. There are so many reasons that project this bleak picture. Firstly, most of them are admitted to schools of their parents `choice and guardians may prefer private schools to public schools as they are ambitious about their kids or influenced by many impertinent factors.The merit of a student is not put in consideration while making such a decision - - - - - poor students have no say in it in most cases. Secondly, some students are instinctively negligent in study and very inattentive in classes; their interest is easily diverted to cheap exciting things and they themselves impede in their progress however other essential things are present. Thirdly, some students think it clever to mug up as much as needed to score good marks and convince their parents that they are quite good at study. Any serious student with a gross mechanical process can comfortably ensure an impressive result in school exams. The real merit reveals in entrance or talent tests. Finally, quite many students never ask their teachers any questions in fear that they too will have to come prepared or maybe they are not at all inquisitive- - - what augurs badly and deters a class from the prospect of becoming interactive and lively. Most of the students have quite happily adapted themselves as the rats to this ongoing and endless race. Some are just incorrigible and peer pleasure in many different ways takes a great toll on their study and career. There is no denying that a good number of students are yet very motivated and true learners though they are minority in this scenario. Ideal teachers, ideal students who are true learners and ideal guardians are getting unfortunately marginal day by day. The influence of the changes in name only is perceptible and victims of complacency bother little to look into the things that prevail and thus remaining oblivious to possible outcome has to pay a heavy price in times to come. As for guardians who play crucial role in making most of the big decisions and who provide all financial support to their children ought to be more prudent and knowledgeable so that they are able to give proper guidance and suggestions to their kids. Again, they should be constantly watchful on their wards` preparation and motivation. They need to understand the real progress if it is possible on their part. Putting kids at any good boarding school may seem to be a solution but it has to be checked if all the tall claims of such institutions are real or not. Again, many children fail to get used to hostel life and some suffer long homesickness though many others love to be away from their overbearing guardians and enjoy a little more freedom there. Guardians must understand the fact that sophisticated facilities alone cannot impart the best education until many other pivotal factors combine with each other harmoniously. In fact, they are more victims than responsible while making some incorrect decisions about their kids` education. Socio-economic situation, globalization, commoditization of education, aberration and degeneration of most important parts of society have direct impact on deciding the touchstone of merit and academic excellence. Career-centered thoughts assume top priority in consonance with hard reality. The poverty of true merit comes to light when so called bright students with loaded mark sheets sit for joint entrance or other tough admission tests. Later very few of them do really dare to appear at I.A.S, I.P.S, CAT, MAT, GATE etc. It loudly proves that marks-oriented education system has very little output and high marks in semesters, board exams should not be the final benchmark of merit of examinees. All such high-profile exams arguably need very special guidance and specific training but what worries is that most students lack in the aptitude and temperament to take up such tough challenges. That is why again many students avert from mainstream education and opt for technical colleges, now available in plenty, with an aim to secure a job even for a modest pay-packet. That will be a different story where they actually land themselves up in the end. After their second Board exam is over they desperately try to get admitted to any technical college; no matter third or fourth grade, even outside the state and such institutions (actually, the modern education marts or malls) simply play duck and drakes with dream-drunk fellows. The final part of this essay sheds light on the plausible solutions to the problems mentioned above. The concise conclusion will presumably stand good while dealing with the issue in question.
Firstly, our state government has to upgrade the existing standard of public schools not only by adopting different curriculums of other private boards but by imposing right discipline both on students and teachers. The general picture of most of the public schools in our state, West Bengal, is nondescript; even at good schools science students of final year skip classes in order to attend tutorials or special coaching centers as they believe that their preparation for joint entrance is impossible only under the guidance of their school teachers. Again, there are quite many schools where students enjoy the freedom of a college; obligatory attendance is shown a thumb and unruly ones even manage to sneak out of their school at Tiffin time. This deplorable situation surfaces mainly when politicization of education raises its venomous hood. When a school witnesses a brawl or a scuffle between two teachers or two groups of them over a petty issue incited by ostensible political tension or rift, it causes lot of disturbances in short and long term. When the head of such an institution loses all control over teaching and non-teaching stuffs just because politics has entered there, the management of students and study get on the back burner. Until and unless government impartially takes some stern steps to curb all such untoward incidents, only bringing about drastic changes in syllabus in imitation of private boards will be nothing but mere eyewash. The ambience of an educational institution should be conducive to healthy education along with all prerequisite infrastructures in an ideal school. Or else parents who are well-off enough to afford the expenses of a private school will surely opt out public schools at a first thought. And students will not look on an awful school even as their third home. Moreover, expert educators need to look over whether teachers need more pedagogy or not. But workshops and seminars at regular intervals in an academic year for teachers to brush up or upgrade their accumulated knowledge are essential. It has to be accepted that some public schools; Boys`, Girls` and co-educational institutions are up to the mark as far as discipline is concerned. Interestingly, public schools at villages are far better than their urban counterparts in many respects. The tuition by school teachers persists despite the existing restriction on it. Both in villages and towns many students take tuition from the teachers of the same school- - either this is their Hobson`s choice or it helps them a lot as questions of different semesters could be known close to tests. What`s more is that these teachers look over the answer sheets of those students too who take private tuitions from them. School authority is either oblivious to the rampant malpractice or simply never bothers about such things. The magic of suggestions for exams works wonder specially in Secondary & Higher Secondary- - lot more than other private Board exams. Thus most of the public schools are failing to cater the proper education to students who are consequently growing more and more private tuition dependent. Mid-day meal arrangement for students rather worsens the situation and reluctant schools get to the bad book of government. So it is principally the onus of the Government to keep a constant watch on schools and supervise on the deployed supervisors to check in such terminal discrepancies. The affirmative and effective changes are the emergency call of the hour.
In case of private schools, they mostly supersede the Government-aided schools in terms of infrastructures and discipline - -attendance of students, neat uniform and regular home work, projects, many surprise tests- - fine for speaking in any other language than English and guardian`s call even at small pretexts - - better library, laboratory and computer room etc. But the problem of quality teaching faculty and regular hike in remuneration is their Achilles` heel. Convent schools are popular for their super strict discipline. But teaching standard has gone pathetically low to the inconsolable dismay of convent lovers. Many English medium goers catch snobbism as they start distinguishing between themselves and public school going neighbors of their age. They relish the hyperbolic pride that they are superior in merit to their public school counterparts. This inclination could be a potent threat to social equality. Quite unfortunately, some of them are overindulged by their dotting parents. Thus the lesson of Moral Science simply falls flat in reality. Nothing to say about their syllabus but the most important question haunts - -who are teaching and who are learning? Unless the merit of teaching fraternity and student community are up to accepting such a standard curriculum besides the harmony between them through affection and respect, the lofty objective will be just a pipedream. Admission tests at private schools must aim at screening the merit of admission seekers and before promoting morning shift junior students to dayshift senior class the merit of aspirants should be reassessed properly. Likewise in case of admitting students in science stream there should be a special exam to test their aptitude for science subjects; their merit in this field should not be ascertained only on the basis of the marks obtained in the first board exam. This holds good for both public and private schools. Looking at the dismal performance of science students of public schools in second board exam let alone the joint entrance success rate the concern proves to be very substantial. It is often found that toppers in board exams fail to live up to the common expectation in such entrance tests.
It should be concluded with a hope that better changes are likely to happen through all the requisite initiatives by government, school authorities, and teachers as well as guardians and students. For, without concerted efforts of all the parties interested no big change is ever possible to be made. This essay covers mainly the basic problems in education system- - - - what students suffer during the formative years- - - - when they grow up with aim and ambition- - - for some fault of their own and for the faulty available structure. Maybe, all the points are badly dispersed here and often arguments have been muddled up but the concern over the shaky education system needs no further justification. As a teacher by profession and a tutor with over a decade long experience the writer himself bears with the pathetic condition of students. It`s a great opportunity to gain more experience about the recently developed situation in this field by working as an English teacher at a Bengali medium mission and by giving tuition to batches of students of different boards. The want of quest for knowledge and taste for perfection in most of the students is definitely very painful for any good teacher. Hopefully, things that are really grave now will look up before long. This essay never claims to be an authentic prescription of an absolute solution to the problems in question. However, this writing surely demands for a serious contemplation though the judgment rests with all the wise readers. Thanks a lot for your kind patience.
Let only the lighted earthen lamp
Guide us through the messy pile-up;
Should we drink the neon bright?
And shuttle from wrong & right?
- - - - - -Partha Sarathi Paul- - - - - -
About the author: YS Poetry Prize winning poet who has been cordially invited to present his poems, selected for the anthology Rainbow Hues of 7th International Poetry fest-2014, before the august audience at the venue, J.K.C college at Guntur in Andhrapradesh. There he`ll be honored traditionally.

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Poems About Teacher

  1. 1. Should Education Be An Empty Bowl? , PARTHA SARATHI PAUL
  2. 2. 2005 / 06 / 14 - Ways To Give A Test , A Poem A Day
  3. 3. Who Are You , Harold R Hunt Sr
  4. 4. Boredom , Iam Me
  5. 5. Basketball's My Favorite Sport , Kenn Nesbitt
  6. 6. Hangman With The Teacher , Kevin Patrick
  7. 7. My Cute Teacher , aarush khandelwal
  8. 8. The Baleful Teacher , vittal vandavasu
  9. 9. Teacher.......An Another Face , Arish Qureshi
  10. 10. Teach Me Love , Senator alufalism
  11. 11. The Horror Has Come To School , Stephanie Pardo
  12. 12. Of My Poetry Class , Keshab Sigdel
  13. 13. Coming To England In The Late 70s , Cynthia Fielding
  14. 14. I Wanted To Be A........ , Daljeet Narang
  15. 15. Challenger , JUSTIN W Price
  16. 16. My Teacher , Tayyab Ijaz
  17. 17. Colour Blind? , Akutor Kafui Akutor
  18. 18. New Colour For Education In My Country , new heart
  19. 19. If I Become A Teacher , Mugdha Khedkar
  20. 20. A Warrior Is What I Am , Venkatesh Jag
  21. 21. The Trouble With Math , Dan Byron
  22. 22. I Saw (An Infatuated Student) , Ibrahim Bidu
  23. 23. Teacher's Bond , misba khan
  24. 24. Teacher- Vital In My Life , jerine james
  25. 25. Haunting Self , Krishna Sharma
  26. 26. The School , Wayne Leon Learmond
  27. 27. Oath , Christopher Cofield
  28. 28. Mr. John Glenn , Kevin Seales
  29. 29. Santi Monica , trevor adams
  30. 30. You Were Everything To Me , Susie Sunshine
  31. 31. ...My Teacher...Ii , Premeer S.R
  32. 32. ...My Teacher...Iii , Premeer S.R
  33. 33. A Nice Teacher Like You , darren westbrook
  34. 34. World History Honors (Version 1) , Sandra Toure
  35. 35. Thought Love Is ..... , Mill Field
  36. 36. The Empty Page , billy vincent berman
  37. 37. Them, The Children Who Are Playing A Role , Sari Mavi
  38. 38. Teach Me , jafta maduna
  39. 39. The Lesson , Wity Idgara
  40. 40. A Kid Destined To Suffer! , Vadakkumpurath Ramesan
  41. 41. Something About My 9th Class Teachers , Puneet Mehta
  42. 42. To My Teacher , Emily Kurete
  43. 43. Rainbow , Arun Wadhwa
  44. 44. .....And The Teacher Goes Out! ! , Saket Suman
  45. 45. See , Jessica Mackey
  46. 46. About Love , Joseph S. Josephides
  47. 47. My Teacher! , Alvin Word Speaker Tatlhego
  48. 48. To My Teacher Ms. Emily , djabir yaya
  49. 49. Listen To What Happened… , Martin Ruveve
  50. 50. Teacher Mira , Abraham Sutzkever
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