Pride for profession taken a hit: Bengal teachers | #teacher | #children | #kids


‘Sanctity associated with teaching getting dented by recent arrest of Minister’

‘Sanctity associated with teaching getting dented by recent arrest of Minister’

In Bengal, the term mastermoshai — of late, gender-neutral, like President — instantly conjures up the image of a stern-looking teacher — a storehouse of knowledge, commanding respect, always upright, and almost always leading a modest life. What compensates for the lack of riches is the lifelong gratitude expressed by students and the pride that comes with the profession.

The pride has now taken a hit; the sanctity associated with teaching getting dented by the recent arrest of Mr. Partha Chatterjee who, as Education Minister of West Bengal, is alleged to have presided over a scam in recruitment in schools. As more allegations pile up — that almost everything related to education in the State came with a price tag while he was at the helm — disenchantment in the teaching community is increasingly evident, with several serving teachers openly speaking out against the rot.

“I am ashamed, to say the least, about how the erstwhile Education Minister has tarnished the entire education system in West Bengal”Krishnakoli RayHeadmistress, Dhakuria Sree Ramakrishna Vidyapith for Girls, Kolkata

“I am ashamed, to say the least, about how the erstwhile Education Minister has tarnished the entire education system in West Bengal. In my entire life and almost 20 years of academic career, I have never seen a Minister helming the education department anywhere in the country get involved in something like this,” saidMs. KrishnakoliRay, headmistress of Dhakuria Sree Ramakrishna Vidyapith for Girls, in Kolkata.

“The saddest part is that this haul (recovery of nearly Rs. 50 crore from Mr. Chatterjee’s associate) has put a big question mark on the accountability of the entire system. This money has been apparently collected from job seekers who have been allotted teaching posts in schools… This is a double whammy — on the one hand a public representative has let down the entire State with his greed and lack of conscience, on the other hand he has deprived deserving youngsters from the employment they deserved,” Ms. Ray said.

Blot on the halo

These days, it is not uncommon for teachers in Kolkata to overhear sarcastic remarks thrown at their profession.

On Tuesday morning, an assistant professor, while travelling to work, found a co-passenger in the train commenting, “Can we tell from looks whether a teacher got the job because of merit or money?” The assistant professor, who did not want to be named, said: “The thing is, the co-passenger is a familiar face and knows that I am a teacher.”

This blot on the halo, and also to prove, to no one in particular, that they did not bribe their way into their jobs — that is a new burden many young teachers in the State are going to feel.

Urvi Mukhopadhyay, an associate professor of history with the West Bengal State University, said: “I come from a family of three generations of mastermoshais . Since the 19th century, mastermoshai s commanded immense respect not only as educated members of the society, but also for being the mentors of future generations. I chose this profession because of the respect attached to it. I have personally visited the humble abodes of legendary teachers, from Sukumar Sen to Manabendra Bandyopadhyay — their houses were stacked with books, their sole property.”

According to her, inspiration from these legends is what keeps her going.



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