Thursday, June 12, 2014

Teachers of the future

A sudden futuristic imagination disturbed me in the morning. In year 2016, some 18 million students in around 100 countries suddenly left their colleges and universities midway because there were better options available online. It may seem absurd to ask but still, it should be asked. What is the difference between a Professor teaching in a university class and Murari Bapu giving discourses on Ramcharitmanas to hundreds of spectators in a Pandal? An 8-day session of Murari Bapu is equivalent to somewhat annual salary of a Professor. In terms of salary and audience, the difference is real but in terms of function done, the difference is not that real. If compulsion of syllabus or examination are done with, the difference comes down to nothing. If courses are taught in open mode in a university or a college or online, the practical difference comes down to who teaches really well and who interacts with students on the widest possible reach. This question has been never asked rather it has been buried deep inside syllabus, time-tables, examinations and top-down management styles of our colleges and universities. When all of this is being challenged by new modes of learning, teaching and interaction, the wall of secrecy is nearly falling. Teaching is a profession borne out of freedom to learn and freedom to teach. The irony is that systems have imprisoned this universal spirit. In another five to ten years, most of the colleges and universities would simply die if they don't overhaul their campus learning culture in a fundamental manner. A teacher needs to be reborn. This can only be the one who can teach and who know how to teach. Degree babus and copycats would face very rough days soon.

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