Our education system and servility

M Nadeem Nadir July 08, 2024
The writer is an educationist based in Kasur. He can be reached at m.nadeemnadir777@gmail.com


Two brothers were the ardent devotees of a deity. Once on some matter of property, they squabbled with each other and this friction had an impact on their ways of worship. The elder brother became more generous in offering oblations to the deity while the younger started disobeying it.

When the prayers of the younger brother began to go unanswered, he desecrated the deity and spanked it with his slippers. It became customary for the younger brother to offend the deity whenever something went wrong in his life.

Finding the younger’s behaviour iconoclastic, the deity asked the elder brother to bar his brother from the sacrilege. The elder brother expressing his helplessness requested the deity to forbid the younger brother itself. The deity said, “I always order the one who is servile to me.”

It is often said that the reward for a task well done at the workplace is that it becomes one’s permanent duty. Even sometimes, others misperform their duties willingly and cunningly that their responsibility would be put on the shoulders of those who render their duties assiduously. People at the helm, to run the affairs smoothly, feel no qualms in overtaxing the performers. But they forget they are perpetrating injustice. The Babul Ilm Hazrat Ali (A.S) says: “A system can thrive on disbelief but not on injustice.”

This trend is rampant particularly in public institutions where people hobnobbing with the highups and flaunting their political musculature defy the orders of the heads of institutions. The head then to inflate his deflated authority takes the meek and docile employees to task. The Orwellian Boxers are overburdened with the share of duties of the pseudo-defiants who follow the offence-is-the best-defence stratagem either to shirk work or to parry off the despotic maneuvers of the boss.

Public institutions in the countries that haven’t unyoked themselves yet of colonialist cerebration endorse ingratiating servility in those who stand low at social or official hierarchy. This is more true at public educational institutions where the idea of teachers’ liberty and autonomy is almost non-existent.

The demand of meekish servility trickles down to students. The teacher who disciplines his students to be mute is considered the most successful teacher. Consequently, the hands-on activities that cause a little hustle and bustle in the classroom remain ignored in our institutions. The pin-drop silence in classrooms and stern faces of teachers are wrongly considered the hallmark of disciplined learning.

A study by Brown University and the University of Albany reads that low job satisfaction is connected to the drop in teachers’ sense of autonomy in the classroom. The result is the look-busy-do-nothing lot of teachers who count their bland days of duty and leave no stone unturned in ingratiating themselves to the boss.

In our education system, there is neither education nor system. The heads of schools don’t find enough time to monitor the quality of pedagogy as they are over-occupied with out-of-school official meetings, the timely submission of official correspondence, and their engagement in departmental inquiry committees and the recruitment of class four employees.

Consequently, a head has to decentralise the management of his school and involve some teachers — the Orwellian Squealers. Here starts the race among the teachers to curry favour with the boss, and the managerial favouritism in the division of labour devitalises him to challenge the derelicts of duty.

The retired principals of public schools suggest that the old hierarchy of headmaster and deputy headmaster must be relaunched — the former responsible for official meetings and correspondence while the latter for fair and effective pedagogy. Favouritism waged by principals and emboldened by political and bureaucratic intervention must be eradicated to hinder the mutation of public officials into deadwood. Moreover, people must be made to deliver what they are employed for.


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