#Article (Archive)

Rethinking the plight of teachers

Jun 17, 2013, 11:35 AM

We have over and over stated in these pages that teaching is arguably one of the least attractive professions in the country.

This is so because if you carry out a survey on career preference among secondary school students, less than five per cent will, without doubt, consider teaching their first choice of career.

Many teachers got into the profession by default, that is, when they failed to get into their first career choices, they fell back on teaching to keep body and soul together.

This is the direct result of society’s contempt for the profession. Society considers teaching as a covenant with poverty hence parents would rather die than see their children opt for it.

By contrast, careers in the banking, oil industry, foreign service, etc are hotly sought after. Why? Because they are seen to be money-spinning careers.

It is a shame that society enthrones matter over mind. How often are teachers mocked because they are poor. How often are teachers ridiculed by their own students because they are poor?

If by our attitude we discourage our best minds from taking up the responsibility of grooming our children, then we are heading towards a catastrophe.

How do we expect our children to be first rate if they are taught by third-rate teachers?

If our children are stuffed with mediocre knowledge, how can they hold their heads high in the increasingly competitive world?

The teaching profession should not be seen as a dumping ground for down-and-out frustrated people.

We all owe it to ourselves and posterity to make the teaching profession more attractive to the best minds in our country.

It is our view that teachers in this country, especially those in public schools deserve a better deal than they currently have.

While we endorse the initiative by the Department of State for Education to provide shelter for teachers in the provinces, we believe that this gesture should not be limited to shelter alone, but should also see it correspond with salaries.

If civil servants can be given housing loans to build houses for themselves, why can’t the same facility be extended to teachers?

In addition, teachers generally should be given hefty allowances; other incentives such as insurance schemes should be introduced to encourage teachers to remain in the profession.

Without education in this contemporary world, you are defenceless.

And without well motivated teachers, a sound education will only be a mirage.

“We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master”
Maria Montessori