Almost twenty five years ago, I had once helped a teacher friend to correct exam papers. Those were the days before centralized examining of papers was done and the aim of the exercise was to finish off the work to head for a movie.
At the end of the session, I was astounded to find that out of a class of 48, a handful passed the exam; three scored around 60% and all the rest failed, many scoring less than ten marks.
The question that came to my mind then was: Who's to blame for this result, the students or the teacher?
Today the same question rises with a Pune report that only 10% of some 1.25 lakh teachers of Std. 1 to 7 could answer all the questions in the English and Math books at a workshop conducted by the State Council for Educational Research.
What does this speak of our educational standards and the teachers who impart that education?
This is not to criticize our system per se. There has to be something going for our system of education which allows planeloads of our youngsters to migrate to foreign shores every year and make good there, beating the locals, possibly raising the sort of ire being propagated by the beat drummers of the Marathi Manoos (what would they do if those locals started the sons of soil campaign against the Marathi Manoos in various foreign locales).
But yes, some major tweaking of the system is definitely in order, especially at the primary levels; clearing that is a motivation by itself perhaps; and among the priorities must be improving the standard of the teachers, with perhaps an improvement in their status and emoluments as well as a cleansing of the system of sexual favors for marks, in order to attract a better class of student into the teaching profession.