Do only the teachers working with Government schools work hard?

Do only the teachers working with
Government schools work hard?

Questions Dr Manik Barsaley, Director, Greenfields Public School, Dilshad Garden

The weight of school bags in Delhi is officially fixed. It is a maximum of 1.5 Kg for Class I & II, and 5 kg for Class X. Do you think it is feasible in the Indian context to restrict the weight of school bags as per this circular?

We have received the circular of DOE and working on it. It is not new. I read articles in the newspaper on this issue some ten years back.

I have asked my teachers to submit a written report on the exact number of books required per day class wise. Yes, the point is considering the size of books, number of notebooks, tiffin box, water bottle…I mean, in Indian scenario it is not feasible for the senior classes but juniors can abide by. They need to carry term books only. The notebooks and art files are kept here in school with their respective class teachers.

The Government should not straightway decide anything like this. Anyways, my teachers are working hard to find out a workable solution for the same.

We know that Indian syllabus is all about content and the structure of examination pushes the teachers to complete syllabus by any means. Do you think proper concept learning takes place amidst this rush?

You are right, but I always forbid my teachers to rush with the syllabus. They rather should focus on the teaching-learning process and take care of what the children are ultimately gaining. Here comes the expertise of an educator who successfully imparts knowledge within this hullabaloo.

The circular further says, the schools running under the Directorate of Education have to follow the textbooks prescribed by the SCERT, NCERT and CBSE. It is direct instruction from the Government to follow their books only. What is the point of admitting a child to a private school then with such high fees when the same content learning is possible in a government school?

The government wants us to do everything but they are providing no extra facility. They are not at all concerned about us. Being a public school, we are abiding by all the circulars to whatever extent possible. How can we recommend any reference when the government is forcing us to follow NCERT? At least, they can update the versions on a regular basis.  

The new education policy is framed with 20 years vision (2020-2040) and hence, a lot of change is expected in the syllabus, in the exam pattern. What is your view regarding this upcoming policy?  

We are simply hearing about the same but nothing is ascertained. Nobody is working on it at least at our end, the public schools’ end.  Maybe somebody at the DOE is working on it. Unless it appears it is tough to comment on what revolution it would bring! And, deduction of the syllabus is possible maximum up to IV Std., not beyond that. The seniors should go through all the concepts included now, to compete with the professional world. Rather, they need something extra.   

Three subjects have been prescribed for classes I and II—Hindi, English and Mathematics. Do you think environmental study as a subject is not important for a beginner?

Of course, EVS is important, as it is the base of social science. In the end, they need to learn everything. Every child has a separate level of creativity and cognitive skill. This kind of restriction in subjects, hence, is not a workable solution.

Principals should go to DOE. I do not know whether my voice will reach somewhere or not, but we all should raise our voice regarding the concerns.

The Government has also restricted tuition fees. Considering the economically weaker category, isn’t it tough to provide quality education in this less allowance?    

Very much tough but still we are managing. So many things are involved in this process like the salary of the teachers, maintenance of the computer, laboratories, chemical equipment, electricity bill, sports paraphernalia etc. Can they answer why the public school teachers are not getting salary as per seventh pay commission? Why this injustice! Do only the Government school teachers work hard? Do they only need money? Why are all the restrictions on public schools? I am thankful that my staff is working very hard without any complaint with the same energy, the same labour and interest. Teaching is not a matter of joke.

They just pass an order without thinking about the pros and con that ‘do not increase fees’, but how will we manage? Everything including the stationary is getting costly every year by 10%. If they are so reluctant in revising salary, they should not revise the stationary fees either. Who is going to solve all these practical problems?

EWS is a huge concern for public schools. The socio-economic situation of each child is different. Admitting the children is fine but now the Government is instructing us to give uniforms, books other than quality education. We had received a letter from the Ministry regarding the allotment of uniform and books for the EWS and thought that they would help but everything is ultimately done from the school’s end. It is much politicised.

Dr Manik Barsaley, M.A, M.Ed, Ph. D is the Director-Manager of Greenfields Public School. She is a veteran who stands dedicated and committed to the promotion of child-centred education. A widely travelled persona, Dr Barsaley is the recipient of a number of awards. She is the first women state chief commissioner, Bharat Scouts & Guides, Delhi State. She has received SILVER ELEPHANT AWARD in 1997 from Bharat Scouts & Guides, because of her exceptional contribution, from His Excellency, Dr K R Narayanan, the then President of India.
During her acclaimed career over the decades, she has spearheaded the campaign for ensuring burden free education and joyful learning for the children. She had participated in the Exchange Programme of educationists at Glassgow in May 1990. As a very humane personality, she yearns to impart distinctive style of education, blending oriental and occidental and through these tries to forge qualities of courage, character and leadership among children. According to Dr Barsaley, Art, Dance, Music, Games & Sports form an integrated personality and the education system should address the individuality of each child. She further believes that an institution must produce students of great calibre who are able to face the challenges of a dynamic society and inspire students to be upright and sensitive.

What is the secret that has brought Greenfields Public School to such a height?

I don’t know, may be the bonding we share amongst us. Every member is equal to me, be a teacher or a worker. I treat all the employees like my family members and try to sort out their problems personally. They are free to come up to me anytime with their issues.

The environment here is very healthy. If any issue arises, we directly communicate with the concerned and sort out. There is no hide and seek in between.  

What do you expect from a teacher of your institution?

Oh! I expect a lot from any teacher and my staff, as I have already mentioned, is doing a very good job. My policy is simple—give the best and deserve the best. In the end, the satisfaction of a teacher is a must. Otherwise, how would h/she concentrate on work? Everyday h/she needs to incorporate a lot of energy to continue with this profession. 

Do you want to share any message with our readers?

Teachers are the role model of our society. They should think positive,  be positive,  and stay positive.  Understanding of concept is very important rather than syllabus completion. If needed curriculum could be made flexible as per need. An educationist should ensure that the best knowledge is imparted to the children.