teachers’ day Education

Telangana’s government school teachers stick by their students through tough times

As we observe Teachers’ Day, we salute the government school teachers who, despite all sorts of challenges, go beyond the needful

In Shaikpet’s Government Primary School, a vibrantly-dressed H M Y Kezia observes the laughing and running students during their recess. She’s proud of all of them for the effort they put into their futures on a daily basis.

“There have been tough times,” the young principal admits, “especially when we don’t receive our funding on time. We are dependent on the government’s schedule and the availability of the allocated officials to come through with funds so we may run the school. We understand there are many layers through which the ‘okay’ goes but we should be more in the loop. We have to know how to plan each school week and term and year.” Though the school recently moved to solar power, thanks to a circle of private donors, there are still some drawbacks the school is experiencing.

Telangana’s government school teachers stick by their students through tough times

Just as Kezia, who’s been principal for about a year now, is about to list these issues, a small boy runs in and says he wants to ring the school bell to signal the end of break-time. Kezia nods and the boy is ecstatic as he climbs on a stool, knees slightly trembling from imbalance, and he presses the bell. Kezia says, “A principal of a school shouldn’t be inaccessible to the students. I am as much a teacher as others here. I know people have a lesser idea of government schools but there are some where real effort is put forward.”

As an education professional, Kezia has encouraged her students to participate in campaigns on National De-worming Day, World Environmental Day and World Tobacco Day to engender more thoughtful social behaviour, adding, “ I motivate my students to engage in activities as if they were Scouts!”

The value of technology
  • Digital literacy is the now, and students are more aware that the skill is a necessity for their professional futures.
  • Shaikpet’s Government Primary School productivity in the classroom has become seamless thanks to the e-classroom facilities they’ve been enjoying. “The kids, especially the younger ones, have been so excited by it. Children love screens as it is... so when we introduced these facilities, they also started learning faster and were less distracted,” says principal H M Y Kezia Mani.
  • Earlier this year, Visakhapatnam’s schools have embraced the Google Future Classrooms movement, thanks to Greater Visakhapatnam Smart City Corporation Limited, in which schools are aggrandised with various e-suites to empower and boost the learning process. Such schools in the city include KDPM High School in East Point Colony and GVMC Primary School Waltair II.
  • Last year, Government Higher Secondary School in Chennai’s MMDA Colony kicked off a dedicated digital classroom where students learned all the skills necessary to grapple with a computer.
  • What could be done, though, is a tech literacy programme where a medium ground should be reached. While tech can be fun, it can also be addictive so lessons around those risks would be ideal.

But Kezia isn’t alone in this movement. She is one of many government school teachers who’ve had the option for further success but choose to stay for their students’ welfare and education.

Yadaia Mukaram, headmaster at Hafeezpet Government Primary School (also known as Mandal Parishad Primary School) says, I care for these students so much; their futures are everything to the society. I spend ₹8000 a month from my own pocket to make sure the school is properly functioning. The government gives us ₹2500 monthly for coverage of the school. How is that possible? I do get a salary but as a father, I feel it’s important all kids are taken care of. And so many parents trust us. Our school has 170 students and just eight staff members, myself included. But I love what I do, and seeing these kids learn everything and potentially have a safer and better future is important.”

So out of the around 45,000 schools in Telangana, a large number of faculty are government school teachers According to a 2017 Telangana Social Development Report’s ‘Aspects of Education in Telangana’ by J Jeyaranjan, “The literacy for the age group of 7 to 24 years is higher at 88.56% in Telangana as compared to the all-India level 86.98%.

Paying it forward

Karthik Pallam, founder of volunteer-run civic responsibility organisation We Can Make A Change, has worked with several government schools across the state and he has observed the undervalued appreciation for them. WCMAC has done a lot with schools to beautify the buildings which can make students more excited to come to school everyday.

Telangana’s government school teachers stick by their students through tough times

He says, “I was educated at a government school as well in my hometown, Siricilla. I was recently there to donate laptops and books. Across the schools I’ve seen, there are a few problems such as red tape to even get electricity running. There’s also the fact that not many government school teachers are as skilled as a private school teachers. We should help educate teachers too because it is a noble job and they affect so many lives and futures.”

Bureaucracy, poor numbers, low income — are some of the problems faced by government school teachers. But that doesn’t stop them for fighting for what their institutions deserve.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 3:55:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/teachers-day-2019-telanganas-government-school-teachers-who-stick-by-their-students-through-tough-times/article29330411.ece

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