This refers to “Infrastructure of opportunity” (October 21) by Manish Sabharwal and Ashok Reddy. It is an incisive analysis of the poor state of affairs in government-run schools in terms of teacher performance and governance. There is sufficient anecdotal and other evidence to show that it is the quality of teachers rather than the infrastructure that ensures great learning outcomes among students.
These qualities are both tangible and intangible. The former (such as qualification or experience) can be recognised, measured and rewarded by say, good pay and incentives. But the latter comes from within the individual. The passion for teaching is the most important of them. High pay does not create passion. There are still some teachers who give free coaching to poor or bright students to build their careers but there are also many who run coaching classes to make more money.
Passion helps overcome the physical hurdles in the profession particularly in rural areas where many amenities are missing. The government should identify and support passionate teachers. It is time teachers were freed from non-teaching work such as serving election duty or serving as priests in temples as the Haryana government did. Respect and love for a passionate teacher are the best motivators.
There is no system of job evaluation that can determine the worth of a passionate teacher. If passion is high, she is priceless. If it is low, she can prove to be very expensive.
Y G Chouksey , Pune
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