There are still a few people around that benefitted from extra coaching in their schools at nominal fees to help the less gifted ones overcome their deficiencies. Those were the days when teaching was a noble profession and the students took preference. That's not to say the profession is any less noble nowadays; it's the preference for money that outweighs nobility. And so the debate begins over private coaching
Pupils undertook home coaching while studying to supplement their income till ingenious institutional teachers began the practice of coaching from homes and thereon hired premises-money being the motivator. Private school teachers are badly paid and have hardly any benefits to speak of. But why government institutions should allow teachers all benefits and the prospect of private coaching is another factor altogether. The mess is further exacerbated by students opening up their own coaching centres with promises of guaranteed results. These are based essentially on curriculum with little if any focus on out-knowledge. The outcome in higher admission tests are there to see.
Government teachers may have to wait till pay scales are revised. Private teachers are left to the mercy of the managing committees and they at least have a case.
In a recent talk show former bureaucrat N I Khan expresses that all schools can be nationalised thereby doing away with the need for private tuition. A leader of the teachers' federation made the case of poorly paid private teachers needing to engage in private tuition to supplement their income. That's fair enough. But how students can run coaching centres when they don't have the requisite energy and qualifications is a poignant question.
Nationalised schooling in overseas countries haven't solved the question. Elementary schools don't attract the best talent and thus pay scales are graded accordingly. Specialised schools such as Grammar ones attract higher fees and government funds whereby better talent is attracted. Teachers are as much human as the ordinary students with the onerous responsibility of forming young minds for the future. Unfortunately the standard of our elementary teachers are such that higher pay grades become questions by themselves. The representative of teachers might want to listen to the taped version of his interview to pick out gross pronunciation errors.
Teaching, teachers training and research opportunities must top the development agenda if powerful minds are to be created. Without such minds future development will be a face with empty interiors. Such emptiness will increase the numbers of employment that already outpaces the graduates that enter the job market each year not to mention those with lack of vocational skills. Private coaching properly regulated and vocational skill centres such as masonry can be assets rather than burdens.
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