Truth about Teaching

Sir, Apropos of Anil Sarwal's article "Are examinations needed?" (Indian Express, April 29).

My two odd years in the teaching profession have left me thoroughly disgusted with the practitioners of the profession. One word which easily comes to mind to describe the priests of the temples of learning is that which sums up the spirit of our times : "corrupt," Each category of the priestly pantheon is neck deep in the slime of corruption. No wonder students evolve into little devils of depravity.

There is an unstated symbiotic relationship between teachers and students which operates within the parameter of the mutual understanding of the need for veneer. Thus, students are aware that teachers have vested interest in conniving, and even being party to the criminality in the examination hall. Enlightened as they are, they know that their performance in the examination has a full bearing on the teacher's future prospects. Yet, they are not confounded by the periodic pontification on morality, especially the examination morality. For having acquired social awareness precociously they are well equipped to see the relevance of this humbug. It is not outside the ambit of their knowledge that our steep fall in morals not with standing, the society has not yet given a morality the absolute approval.

Yet the knowledge of the veneer makes them see the phony nature of the moral posturing of their "gurus" all the more clearly. Thus, 'it is with contempt that they treat the teachers' sermonising. In such a milieu it is nearly impossible for a responsible teacher to function. His scrupulous stance on the matter of copying is shrugged off by the students. This is shocking.

A responsible teacher is perceived as a threat to the institution. His approach to the matters calls for radical changes for which the managers of the institution have little appetite. This is not surprising, for as everybody knows, our educational institutions have ceased to be the temples of learning. They are now full-fledged business establishment and so an academic perestroika which endangers their market sends the management into fever. Any genuine reform is, therefore, carefully kept at bay.