Shilalekh

What Life Teaches Me Everyday

Category: Education

Respect thy Teachers, Respect thyself

respect others teachers women

The other day I met a close relative who has just fixed his son’s marriage. He has chosen a homemaker over a career-minded girl. He went on to explain (though he never needed to explain anything, in my opinion) that they wanted a homemaker to take care of the family. His son claimed that if the need be,

I can get her a teaching job anytime I wish.

The statement threw up so many issues simultaneously that I just had to write about it. I wondered about quite a few things as I mulled over this statement.

  • Was the girl being ridiculed?
  • Was teaching as a profession being ridiculed?
  • How easy is it to become a teacher?

Respect for Women

In my previous post on gender neutral parenting, I had talked about how we don’t even realize that we behave in a gender biased way. We drop statements reeking of gender bias at the drop of a hat. And it’s more evident in a marital setup when the talk is about the daughter-in-law. One doesn’t care about her wishes, dreams and plans. It is taken for granted that she will go along what her new but real (I personally call it adopted) family has planned for her. She may try to defy that at her own peril.

Respect for Teachers

The groom I am talking of is an engineer by profession and working in a private firm. I wonder how he can manage to get his wife appointed as a teacher in a school. I know there is a dearth of teachers in the country. Former HRD minister Kapil Sibal told the Rajya Sabha in 2010 that India is short of 12 lakh teachers and 5.23 lakh posts are lying vacant. In the four years that have passed since, the figures have increased incrementally. But does that mean anyone can really become a teacher as and when one wishes to. And why only teaching? Why not, say, an office job in a private firm? Office job is a very vague thing and encompasses many roles. Anyone with good communication skills, good educational background has a fair chance of getting entry-level office job and excelling in it.
Teaching is a very focused profession where you must have thorough knowledge of your subject, know how to handle students and need to work not only out of need but passion. We are what we are because of our teachers. If not for the teachers, who toiled day and night to instill knowledge and manners in us, where would we be today? But still we have developed contempt for teachers and the teaching profession as a whole. Very sad and very unfortunate.

I have brought up two very disparate things up here but these are two issues close to my heart, may be because I am both. I would love to hear your comments on prevailing conditions on respect for women and teachers.

CCE – A Teacher’s Perspective

Continuoura Comprehensive evaluation

CCE

What is CCE? CCE stands for Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation. It is the latest evaluation framework implemented by the CBSE schools in India under the guidelines issued by Mr. Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Ministry of Human Resource Development. The CCE was implemented in 2010. Being very new, it poses more questions than answers them. But that is true of anything new. So before we go into why CCE, let’s see what is CCE.

Continuous

The evaluaion of the child has to be continuous and are the not discrete. Earlier, the assessments were done twice or thrice a year but now it has to be an ongoing process. The idea is to evaluate the child while she is learning. The tests should be diagnostic in nature. The results of the tests should be used to assess what topics the child has not understood, reteach them, and then assess them again.

Comprehensive

The child must be assessed comprehensively, i.e. in both scholastic and co-scholastic subjects. Scholastic subjects are the uual science, maths, social studies, language, etc. while co-scolastic includes Art, Music, Dance, Games, etc. We have grown up believing that to excel in life you need to excel in academics. How many of our classmates can we remember pursuing Dance or Games as career? Very few. That is the average Indian psyche and that is what CCE intends to dispel. CBSE believes that the scholastic and co-scholastic parameters are equally important. A child who is average in academics but excellent in other fields need not be termed a failure. So CCE lays equal emphasis on scholastic and co-scholastic parameters.

Evaluation

CCE postulates grading system instead of absolute marks till class X. Also, the grading is not based on one-time examination, as in the old system. Instead, the student must be assessed based on various parameters like oral, classwork, written exam, projects, class test, etc.

Why CCE

CCE aims to do away with the educational caste system that had come into existence due to someone scoring a 99 out of 100 whereas someone scoring 89 out of 100. This had led to several cases of severe depression, anxiety and suicide among the students. In the rat race to score marks, the essence of education had been lost. The students were only cramming themselves to pass examinations with flying colours rather than gain knowledge. Grading system introduced by CCE should take away pressure from the children, make studies more fun for them and make them interested in studying for sake of knowledge. How successful CCE will be in achieving these goals, only time will tell.

CCE and the Student

The fallout of CCE evaluation system on the students is they have actually ended up taking more exams, making more projects and doing more “homework” than ever. This summer vacation I met a class VIII student who had to do projects for 13 out of 14 subjects (scholastic and co-scholastic included) taught at school. I wondered when he would find time to enjoy his vacation and also do self-study that our elders always emphasized on. The students have got so accustomed to taking exams that they have become casual about it.

The grading system has definitely helped release some pressure for now but is that really good in the long run? The students have became slack in their studies because they know they have to reach only a certain level and not perfection to achieve perfect grades. Is it good for them. When we as adults work in a better way when deadlines to be met and awards to be earned, how can we expect young children to ‘understand” they “should” study and do so. I think that would be like streching things too far. Then again, there are always many students who would study harder if there is that compulsory assignment to be submitted. Ain’t we doing injustice to them. Is it not the duty of the education system to bring out the best in each student, in whatever way possible?

Another point put forth by CCE is that no child should be failed till class VIII. It essentially means we will have score of students in class IX (a fairly higher class) who are not up to that level. Making a child repeat a class ensures that he is ready for the next class. If we promote a child of class V merely because the system disallows us to fail him, will he be able to cope up with the syllabus of class VI ans subsequent classes? A far fetched idea if you ask me.

CCE and the Teacher

More tests mean more question papers to be set and more answer sheets to be checked. More projects mean more projects to be decided, given and then checked. Teachers are left wondering when did they get the time to teach all the topics they are testing the student on. The co-scholastic parameters like life skills, thinking skills, art education, etc. are very time consuming if done properly. (That’s another point CBSE needs to check; how honestly is the evaluation system being implemented in schools.) And all this means time taken from classroom teaching. How fair is it really to the students?

The Good, The Bad, The Balancing Act

The CCE framework needs to be reviewed with an open mind by all the parties concerned. We need to discuss if doing away with the marking system completely is the right decision. Or, our evaluation system needs to be a judicious mix of grading and marking. These answers only time can provide. Meanwhile we can just wait and watch and continue assessing in a comprehensive way!!!

You can follow this link to get the details straight from the horse’s mouth:

http://cbse.nic.in/cce/cce-manual/chapter_1.pdf

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