Fundamentally speaking, selfish motives and profit are not at all part of a teacher-student relationship as this bond is far above the egotistical interests. There is no space for all these. But two days ago, I read a piece of news that was totally opposite to what we thought. A principal and teacher at Thakur Vidya Mandir school gave Rs 50,000 to his ex-students for killing his wife. The principal wanted to kill his wife as she suspected her husband for having an affair with female students in the same school. Those students killed his wife and chopped her body before throwing it away. This was the height of brutality. Moral values and standards have declined to such a low that even this chaste relationship has not remained unaffected. We imagine teachers who are there to set moral values instead of maintaining such illicit relationships and doing such acts. As more and more news of this kind about teachers and students come, we must agree to the fact that education has nothing to do with moral values and for sure the definition of the teacher-student relationship is changing and deteriorating.
In a traditional Indian setting there was a very pious guru-shishya culture where the guru or teacher used to transmit spiritual, Vedic, moral as well as academic teachings to his students. The word guru itself means a person who can enlighten the individual stuck in darkness (gu means darkness and ru means light). The objective of the entire education at that time was to transform a blank mind into a knowledgeable mind, balanced personality with high moral values. Students in return used to help gurus in their household work and the one who could afford it used to pay money as gurudakshina. This mutual relationship was based on the intellect of the teacher and obedience of the student. In such a guru-shishya relationship, everything was left on the shoulders of an able guru who, by acting as a creator, used to shape his disciples or students.
But today’s scenario is no longer the same. It is completely different. Many suicide cases of school-going kids, molestation and rape cases, and other school-related crime clearly shows that something is wrong at a very large scale. If we flip the pages of newspapers then we will find many news of these kinds. There was a 10th class student in Chennai who committed suicide after being thrashed and stripped by the teacher. One student in Delhi lost his vision when a teacher threw a duster at him. Even students do not spare their teachers. News of students beating their teachers can be heard all across India. Some rich students are absolutely arrogant and do not respect or pay attention to what their teachers say.
It is not just one but a combination of many factors that are causing this change. Today, teaching is no longer a duty but a way to earn money. Teachers after schools and colleges take private tuitions and encourage their students to take these classes. This is ruining the most respected teacher-student relationship because, with the money in the picture, everything else takes a back seat. All of us are running after money. So do teachers. At schools they are not paid well so they are left with no other option but to take tuitions. Along with this, the quality of infrastructure in rural schools and even in some of the urban schools is very bad. Lack of facilities further adds to this problem. To stop this, teachers must be paid well and the quality of infrastructure must be improved or brought to the same level in every school.
Today is the world of the Internet. This has many advantages but, at the same time, it has gifted its disadvantages to society as well. Everything has become so open and easily accessible. Both teachers and students can watch obscenity just at a click of a mouse and this leads to obscene thinking and acts.
Some of the parents also overreact and always protect their kids even if they do anything wrong. They do not teach their kids the respect that they should give to their teachers. Some of the parents also give expensive phones and other such gadgets to their kids to flaunt. So, many kids no longer go to schools for education but just to flaunt money. That is why there are many MMS scandals of school-going kids. Moreover, working parents have less time for their kids. They are not bothered what their kids are doing and with whom they are spending their time. Parents try to give everything to kids, except for their time. But parents must realize the importance of quality time.
Children spend 6-7 hours in a day with their teachers. During this time, the teacher is not only a giver of education and knowledge but also a person who sets moral values that are imbibed by the students. Most of the students consider their teachers as their role model. The teacher is the one who moulds his or her students. The word teacher should keep on evoking a sense of respect instead of disrespect. Efforts from every side should be made to make the current-day teacher-students relationship as good as the guru-shishya relationship of ancient India.