Posted by: yashada | September 1, 2009

Wither thou will to learn?

Senior College Teachers across Maharastra had gone on strike recently, their demands being among other things, parity for teachers appointed between 1991-99 without a NET/SET qualification.

This is a quote from a report in Express India: Professor C Sadasivan of  Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (MFUCTO)  said, “All teachers, who were appointed between September 1991 and July 4, 2000, have been brought under the NET SLET. However, at the time of their appointment, NET SLET was not mandatory. Hence this should not be made compulsory for all these teachers now and they should be given all benefits.”

NET or National Eligibility Test is an examination that determines the eligibility of canditates for Lectureship positions in Indian Universities/Colleges. In other words one has to clear this exam if one wants to  be a lecturer in India. But this wasn’t the rule when teachers were appointed between 1991 to 2000. So even those who haven’t cleared this exam are teachers in Senior Colleges today.

Now before I begin to tell you what this post is about, let me tell you what this post is NOT about. This post does not attempt to fall into the debate of whether NET really is necessary; or if NET-cleared teachers are better than the ones who have not cleared NET. Rather, this post is about the sheer lack of will on part of the teachers to at least try a hand at the exam. Our teachers are the ones who prepare students for an examination. Then why are they themselves shying away from an exam, now that its their turn to sit on the other side of the bench?

If a woman who takes ballet classes refuses to perform on stage in front of an audience, or if a man who runs karate classes refuses to take part in a tournament, won’t she/he loose her/his credibility as a ballerina/karate champ?

So what sort of a lecturer are you, if you are not willing to sit for an exam of the very subject you teach?

Granted, NET is a very tough exam. I have heard that a mere 2% of all those who attempt it, clear it. I have myself attempted it once before in order to test the waters, to get a jist of what I am dealing with. Even though I didn’t clear it in the first attempt I developed a reverence for the test. It really does test your skills in your subject, not your mugged up knowledege about it.  And it tests your ability, not just as a researcher or lecturer but as a human being capable of clear, logical, and independant thought.

Why couldn’t the body of teachers have asked the government to set up preparatory classes for them, or extra consessions like short study leaves, or asked for a consession to sit for the exam more than once? Why a complete and downright refusal to take the test at all? Where is the spirit to try? Where is the spirit to learn? I am sure our teachers are  over-worked what with all the lectures and the correcting of papers;  our professors they have no time to sit and study. Which is funny isn’t it? Because they have to attempt an exam about the very subject they spend time teaching, or correcting papers.

And these are the very people who are preparing younger minds to give examinations in our colleges today.



  1. Ahem!

    Somebody has to tell you about the cynicism rampantly spread in the education industry…if not me?

    Chill, nobody likes to be called ‘not fit for teaching’ after being a teacher for so long 😀

  2. this strike was hopeless. Teachers now a days dont want to study so they dont want any exam, many of them are not updating their knowledge so students are landing in a trouble. Very few teachers taking efforts on students to hoan up their skills and all, they are not interested in students instead in 6th pay commisssion.

    So no wonder if they go on strike again for some other demand…

  3. ” Chill, nobody likes to be called ‘not fit for teaching’ after being a teacher for so long ”

    Point taken R! 🙂

    As in case of any debatable issue, there are two relevant sides…

  4. Hi, here is my unsolicited 2 cent.

    @ Abhishek
    Saying that the strike was hopeless and the teachers are not really interested in students, would be slightly extreme and harsh on our part. If you have a look at the 5th Pay Commission UGC level salaries, teachers for almost a decade did not get any appraisal or promotion in terms of salary!! They still earn only around 15K-20K a month which is definitely lower than what even a BPO employee earns today!

    About teachers not updating their knowledge..the Education Ministry has already started several Knowledge-sharing initiatives and programs that are COMPULSORY for the teachers. How many other sectors actually make a compulsion of know-how upgradation on its employees? Yes, teachers do enjoy summer holidays and a regular 9 to 5 job but there are equal no. of occupational hazards attached too.

    Also I do not buy the argument that teachers dont take efforts to update the knowledge. It is the Education ministry that comes up with rules that syllabus will be revamped only after 10 years! So even if on a personal level teachers do improve..outdated syllabus kills the entire purpose to a large extent.

    Lets not take one out of context incident and denigrate the entire profession!

  5. Not that you are entirely wrong Yashada,but from the point of view of the teachers..maybe they feel that it would be like a personal let down not to clear the NET exam,and maybe their refusal stems from the fact that they have their jobs at stake not to mention their reputation!! Their refusal probably indicates a protest against being forced to prove their intelligence(its another debate whether they have any or not) and against having their jobs on the line thats all…maybe they would have suggested some of the things you said if they weren’t feeling threatened?

  6. It’s true that NET exam is totally a must now a day, because it is really a QUALIFYING exam for being researchers or professors. It really does checks your skills & not just our knowledge but also the understanding of that subject. So I agree to the point about keeping NET as a qualifying exam for teachers as they are the hands who are shaping the future generation.

    But then I also agree with Rutuja. It was a much needed strike for teachers. Why should a teacher get paid just 15 or 20k when she /he is the person who is responsible for the future of students??? Are we so poor that we cannot even invest a good amount in order to get a good future?

    Sixth pay commission was employed in the education center in order to ATTRACT the intelligent brains towards the profession of teaching. Due to the low salaries of a teacher all the good brains are going to professional curriers like MBA or the corporate where they could get good salaries. Just because of the low income, people would see a teacher’s currier as a less respectable job in the society and that of any other corporate job as one of the most respectable one WHY??? . MBA’s or any other person in this country at least; is not made without a teacher, so why is she/he a person who is receiving such a low income?? So I think the strike was fair enough.

    I also totally agree with Yashada about the point where government/education department should have made a demand about training and encouraging teachers to give NET exam rather than putting a demand of removing NET as a qualifying test. It is really a must for us to get proper training and guidance about how to clear NET.

    So I think a teacher should definitely be a NET pass and also there should be an extra test so as to see her teaching capabilities, because I think that one who posses knowledge does not necessarily has the skill to pass it to the students in a simpler way. And a teacher who passes both these exam should be paid according to the sixth pay commission so that we get good, bright and willing brains to train our future generations.

  7. @ Rutuju

    I may be harsh at this point but fact remains the same, and according to my knowledge, a permanent professors in a degree college gets sufficient amount, (according to 5th pay commission) anyway this is not a place to discuss about their salary, but even after getting this salary, very few of them take efforts for students.

    And about syllabus, certain rules have to be followed, but teachers can update themselves through various conferences and all which very few teachers do.

    Govt has made compulsory for teachers to attend various programs, appreciated, but teachers attend such programs because they are ‘COMPULSORY.’ Me and Yashada have recent example of this.

    everyone needs money, accepted, but one can not compare a teacher with a BPO employee as BPO employee have to work like anything but degree college professor have to take just 2-3 lectures and 1-2 practical in a day….

    You feel these points very harsh, but in 7 years of my students life (college life) i came accross ‘n’ number of teachers but very few, say 4-5 were really interested in teaching and had a really great knowledge of their subject. May be you have been exposed to all the good teachers to whom i am referring as ‘very few,’ then you are the lucky girl.

    Anyway, all in all, NET or Ph.D should be compulsory for upcoming teachers….

  8. Ok, FOR THE RECORD, this post is NOT about whether the 6th pay commission was necessary or whether a teacher who has cleared NET is better than one who hasn’t. (refer to Gargi’s comment).

    Secondly, @ Abhishek; I’ll second what Rutuja has said so far. Plus, totally disagree on your BPO employee vs. a teacher point.
    Also, “Govt has made compulsory for teachers to attend various programs, appreciated, but teachers attend such programs because they are ‘COMPULSORY.’ Me and Yashada have recent example of this” …. exactly which example are you talking about?

  9. @ Aditi: hmm, you and raunak seem to be voicing the same thoughts. I do agree with you, to an extent, I accept that.
    Point taken. 🙂

    But I wonder what happens to you when you don’t pass a given exam and loose your job in the corporate world….any such case studies available guys? Just thought a quick comparison wouldn’t hurt…

  10. @ Yashada

    Some of our prof. had attended some practical workshop organized by some institute and then they have just given us a photocopy of that manual, and they had a comment that “I had been there as it was made compulsory”

    That is all………

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