We have still struggled to establish a leak-proof method or strategy to identify the hidden talents of our rising generation. Strategies of different types are undergoing trial and error policy. However, in the midst of this unsettled issue, we have started another game to tag a teacher as ‘ `the best’ in the upazila, in the district , division and even in the national level. The news of becoming the ‘best teacher’ has flooded not only the offline newspapers but also offline and social media. And the teachers themselves have uploaded their news of becoming ‘the best teacher’ that really makes us astonished. What criteria have been set to declare a teacher as `the best’ or `the best education officer’ in the upazila or district or division remains quite vague? things must be transparent before the nation how a teacher becomes the best teacher or how an education officer becomes the best officer in an upazila or in a district of division otherwise it definitely loses its weight, importance and value. When a teacher becomes the best, we must understand what benefits his institution will accrue from it, what benefits his own students, other students, his colleagues and the general teaching community of his upazila or district or division will accrue. What the nation will get from it? How much change has he brought in his own classroom, in his own school must be expressed while declaration is made. Otherwise, this silly game must be stopped as it undermines the teachers and it also creates a zealously and spread the wrong message among the teaching community instead of getting any inspiration from the system.
Has the selected‘best teacher’ discovered any technique that has been quite unknown to his colleagues, to many teachers? Has he shown any such example that he never gives private tuition or he never takes money from the poor students and makes no difference between them, has he developed any theory that is quite new to the teaching community? Is it that he has never enjoyed any personal leave except the compulsory leaver for all? Is he liked by minimum 75 percent students because of his innovation and pleasing technique to make his subject quite interesting to the students? Has be maintained a connection with minimum 70 percent guardians who respond to any parents meeting that was not possible to be done by other teachers? Has he lifted a group of students who were backbenchers? Is it the case that he has introduced an interesting cultural activity that has made his school far different from other schools? If these phenomena or some of the aspects don’t happen due to a teacher’s contribution or effort, how or why do we tag a teacher ‘the best’? Does it bear any significance?
Most of the students, colleagues, guardians, institutional heads, concerned education officials and members of the managing committee certify a teacher because of his exclusive quality that tend to make his teaching, way of delivery and winning the hearts of the students absolutely different that deserves the attention of others and other musts have some valid reasons to follow him. Has he conducted any special research that has come to the benefit of his institution, surrounding institutions, his students, other colleagues No such characteristics have been mentioned while declaring a teacher best that arises questions in the mind of all concerned. It in no way elevates the personality or prestige of the teacher concerned. It in no way talks about his professional development. It does not promise any brightness for other teachers. So, why should we play this game?
One teacher from Kushtia has given a post in his FB page mentioning that someone rang him to appreciate the exceptional works he had done for the cause of education and they decided to give him an honour. At this the teacher replied he had done nothing of this kind. Still he was insisting that he definitely had done some exceptional works for the students during COVID and the they felt an urge to give him a prize. Finally, the teacher asked him what he had to do. In reply the person said nothing but just a little contribution of Tk ten thousand as their administrative expenditure. The teacher replied he would not receive any such prize and honour in exchange of money that led the person to silence. We now see such type of prizes around us as ‘give and take’ policy strategy and many teachers surrender their ideals that they should not.
Once in a meeting at NCTB, one additional secretary from the ministry of education told the audience that many of them had come to NCTB because of the recommendations made by powerful people and now they had occupied the chairs as education experts. Many of them were professors! The secretary asked them, “Have you conducted any fruitful research in line of education? Have you written any research proposal or a big easy or even a paragraph of your own in your teaching career? Still you are professors. Does it satisfy you?”. Not a single official of NCTB talked in defense of it. Becoming professors has become like students’ getting GPA-5. The students who know something get GPA-5 and even those who learn very little about a subject also get GPA-5 without making any difference between the basically strong students and weak students. The promotion and position of a professor should not be like this as it’s an international position and its standard should be maintained accordingly. The position of UNO, DC, SP etc. may not be available in all the countries of the world. However, a professor is a universal position which is available in all the countries of the world. So, when we promote someone to the position of professor that calls for a global standard. Professor itself is an institution.
Till 1990s the students of SSC and HSC used to occupy first, second, third and so on position in the respective education boards and they had a huge competition among the students. After the results, all the print and electronic media used to interview them, their opinions and way of life were exposed before the nation and that was inspiring for most students. It definitely carried weight. I had the opportunity being a cadet college teacher to get in touch with brilliant students who occupied the top positions in the education boards and after the test examination in the college, we could forecast who would occupy first, second, third and other positions in the board and our assumption got reflected in the public examination results sometimes fully and sometimes partially. Though such type of competition cannot be termed best considering all aspects, still it was a qualitative game. We have banished this system and introduced this system for the teachers. How a teacher can be best in an upazila or district? Does it mean he is having all sorts of quality that a teacher must have. He can sing, he knows debate, teaches the best way, he is sociable and innovative, he is creative and broad-minded and so on. Is it possible for most teachers to prove such traits? When these prove a rare task, how can we call teachers on mass the best in upazila, district, and division and in the national level? This game should be changed after giving a practical thought.
We must recognize teachers’ contribution to education in such a way as it gives them full satisfaction and they must have contentment in their heart and mind that they have achieved it at the cost of their labour, dedication, research and special work. It has not come through other means and ways. No teacher, no official and nobody should have any question behind this thing. The exclusive work of the teacher must be an example to be followed by many teachers. We must have heard the name of Mr. Nurual Islam sir, the head teacher of Sundargangj Government Primary School who transformed a government primary school almost into a university. It is not unknown to us that a government teacher has to work through countless limitations. He does not have any scope to go beyond the set rules. But Nurul Islam sir did it. He has established different clubs, laborites, cultural activities, hostels. He himself played and beat drums with the students. These are the practical examples that the teachers and students of other institutions can follow. Nurul Islam could be exposed before the nation as an example so that teachers of other areas of the country get inspired to do something extra ordinary deeds to bring about real change in the field of education. And the teachers who can do it should be honoured as ‘ideal teachers, not the so-called best teachers.
Writer: Lead-Education and Research Team, Dainikshiksha.com and Dainik Amader Barta