By Peer Saqib
The government has imposed a curfew to contain the spread of coronavirus. People are impelled to stay home to safeguard themselves from it and thus break the chain. Although there are some miscreants, despite being positive, roaming on the roads that depict their ignorance of the gravity of the situation, the majority of people are apprehensive and scared of being on roads or even come out of their homes terrified of catching the infection. These are relatively the major bunch of people. These people who prefer to stay home and don’t mingle with others are those who comprehend that this infection doesn’t discriminate. It believes in equality in its true sense and thus young or old, it will infect you if you fall within its ambit. Those who understand it prefer to stay home knowing the austerity of infection.
Nevertheless, some departments are at the forefront since the inception of Covid19 to contain the infection let alone NGOs, Trusts, Masjid Committees and not to forget media whose prodigious work need a separate discussion. Health workers and Police Personnel are two groups who not only need verbal appreciation or certificates as rewards, though invigorating they are, but along with that, they need monetary incentives which will boost their morale. The way second wave of Covid 19 has risen and spread faster than the first one has left a devastating and horrifying effect even among the ‘warriors’ let alone common masses. The rate at which many ‘warriors’ lost their fight after battling hard with this gruesome pestilence has left many ‘warriors’ terror stricken. Nonetheless, amidst all these crises, they carry out their duties efficaciously.
In addition to above cited covid warriors, there is another ‘creature’ called the teacher and it wouldn’t be justice to call him just ‘the Teacher’ given the amount of the works, tasks and responsibilities he is always being subjected to. Occupied with Covid-related activities for months now, teachers from government schools are increasingly going beyond their role as educators, particularly during the current surge in cases in the UT. A teacher, as the nomenclature suggests, is supposed to teach but here in this part of the world he has been rendered to such tasks that he may be called anything but a teacher. The list of duties and tasks, which is being allotted to, time and again is long enough but few of the duties are like the Election duty, Census duty, Aadhar duty, duties at scientific laboratories and many more which a teacher always does immaculately.
In the recent Covid Calamity, Administration has again relied on teachers and a vast number of teachers have been deployed at various health centres. Some have been given literally the job of nurses vaccinating people, others deployed on roads checking masks, at sample collection centres entering data and uploading it for the ease of concerned. Surveillance duty, teachers performing their duties as verifiers are other assignments that add to their routine chore. No doubt during a Disaster, National Disaster Management Act certifies that Administration can utilize the services of “resources” (for instance Government officials), teachers are being first chosen among hundreds of other departments by the Administration. Working for the overall welfare of state is and should be the main design of the teacher, however, it adversely effects their pioneer job of educating. While remaining disconnected with their original job of teaching the already worst hit education sector in UT aggravates more because of it and results in the dismal performance of their Students.
The future of any society depends upon its school going blooming buds who in turn depend upon their teachers. During these days of crises, providing of education has become intensely challenging. Now when they are endeavouring to diminish this gap and are almost successful in it, there is an administrative order that his services are needed somewhere else and the gap widens again. It is not to say that services of teachers shouldn’t be used in other departments but it should be used judiciously and sustainably in a way that it doesn’t affect that Teacher-Student bond. We have an ample number of other departments; administration should first look for human resources from these and that too not at the cost of making their own departments suffer. Teachers have a greater responsibility and as they say teachers are the nation builders. They are the destiny makers of youth and architects of society. They are social engineers and custodian of the future.
What would one make out of it when this “architect” is being told not instruct and educate but to start nursing, upload data, verify citizens for vaccination and check masks at the corner of a road?
To conclude it is to say that we will come out of these turbulent times ‘inshallah’, we will live again but we shouldn’t be sacrificing our future, our blooming buds- the students- at the cost of it. Can’t we manage these crises without marring our future. Can’t we sustainably manage this disaster?
Peer Saqib is a teacher at Department of Education,Government of Jammu and Kashmir