Revisiting career advancement of school teachers
By: Rayees Masroor
All professions offer their recruits the opportunity of pursuing a career, in the sense that individuals can be promoted through a clearly delineated promotions hierarchy. This aspect of career is referred to as ‘vertical mobility dimension’. Promotion is regarded as the passage to a higher rank and is one of the ways of the rewards system to help motivate employees. From a motivation perspective, if rewards are allocated only on non performance factors like seniority, job title etc employees are likely to reduce their efforts. On the other hand, in a hierarchy using promotion solely as a reward for good performance people tend to enhance their performance, in fact 'pay for performance 'programmes are gaining more popularity.
With utter disregard to the modern day career advancement opportunities, J&K continues with less motivational promotion y policy of employees especially the teachers- one of the main reasons of declining performance of government teachers and subsequently government schools. Besides adopting seriously faulty and silly methods of recruitment, the career development opportunities are equally limited for school teachers. A large number of trained post graduate and above qualified candidates have made their way in the school education department during the last two decades but there is hardly any motivation for these immensely talented young energetic teachers as the system still rewards seniority rather than sheer talent or efficiency.
There are so many other departments which offer promotions to their employees through departmental examinations and one wonders why no such opportunities for teachers who deserve to be rewarded, recognised and motivated on the basis of their performance. There is no rational logic behind promoting an employee or a teacher merely on time bound basis. Many a times teachers are promoted as lecturers or masters when they are at the verge of retirement or have lost their interest in assuming a new role. It would be really beneficial even for the students and the department itself if after 5 or 6 years service in the school education department a teacher is given an opportunity to appear in a departmental examination to enable himself to become a master or a lecturer. It would always keep a teacher motivated and up for the challenges.
There's also a perception that many teachers after managing degrees from less known universities across India happen to get promoted as lecturers merely on the basis of seniority and without undergoing any real test for the promotion. Such masters and lecturers hardly possess the efficiency and the capability to deliver as the position demands which eventually damages the very fabric of quality education. The teachers or masters who are elevated as lecturers or Headmaster on seniority basis after rendering long services hardly possess the intensity to cope up with their new assignments simply because they are either disinterested or don't have the required knowledge to teach modern concepts of various subjects.
A well planned departmental examination is also necessary because many educators want to spend their careers as classroom teachers guiding students through the day to day processes of learning and growing. But some also want to take additional responsibilities, experience new challenges and be a leader to students. It is important to understand the fact that, while a teacher is honing his teaching skills and developing a great reputation in the classroom, there's more he/she can do to prepare for a leadership role. A performance bases reward will also motivate teachers to know that just because the bell rings at 3pm doesn't mean the work day is over as the process of updating oneself take on additional responsibilities. In many countries, even in Indian states like Delhi school Principals and vice principals, are directly recruited as well.
J&K has also witnessed degrading standards in education because scheme based recruitment and less salary of teachers has rendered teaching job as one unattractive affair and as such many talented young students having higher qualifications opt for other options. To redeem the glory of teaching and to motivate the more talented youth to build their careers in teaching, it's imperative that career advancement is guaranteed on the basis of performance and talent. Job enrichment has many other benefits also which include increased mental health of employees, job satisfaction, and increased motivation to work as well as improved performance and effective utilization of human resource.
The intrinsic aspects of motivation also include achievement, recognition, satisfaction derived from challenging nature of work, responsibility and advancement. When all these factors are ignored when it comes to education, the quality is bound to suffer .There is also a popular opinion that government should also switch to onetime benefit for reserved categories during appointment so that quality is not causality. There's no harm even if masters are given opportunity to appear in departmental examinations to get promoted as Headmasters and zonal education officers, it never means seniority should be undermined but there should always be scope for advancement on the basis of capability and performance as well.
The annual performance of teachers based on results and most importantly extracurricular activities should be duly respected while awarding promotions in order to trigger a competition among teachers which will only benefit the students and ensure better standards of school education.
The role of teacher has drastically changed and it is not just about dissemination and retention of knowledge, students in the present time can access any content or concept through internet and as such a teacher has to remold himself/herself as a guide, facilitator, counselor and a leader. Only then moderate global citizens can be produced for a promising future. One can only hope that better sense prevails and people at the decision making level understand the need and importance of bringing about a change in the existing system of rewards and promotions to ensure a uniform system and equality of opportunity for all based on a fair procedure.
The author is Academic counselor at IGNOU and can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org