ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Teacher Leaders in 21st-century Schools

As a society, there seems to be no clear consensus on the purpose of education, which has a multiplier effect with a growing number of private schools catering to a burgeoning middle class. This comes as a contrast to the Fabian socialist ideology according to which character-building was pivotal to education. And, for character-building to be a central tenet, the need for teachers to don the role of leaders has never been felt more.

I recently stumbled upon my grandfather’s postgraduate dissertation on the workload of teachers in secondary schools in Dehradun. This 50-year-old thesis is still relevant for some of the issues we face today, that of deteriorating standards of education. However, the clarity on the purpose of the school was clear, that of nation-building. Back then, contemporary researchers and educators opined the same, that nurturing well-informed and fully developed citizens was seen as the primary focus of education, which, in turn, laid the foundation for a just society. Teachers were seen as pivotal to attaining this objective. This comes as no surprise for a time when Fabian socialist ideology was at its peak, so much so that the Third Five Year Plan had laid emphasis on the moral and ethical codes of Indian lives.

The question that stares us in the face 50 years since is: what do we expect from education and what do schools stand for? With a burgeoning middle class, coupled with a growing number of private schools catering to the demand, there seems to be no clear consensus on the purpose of education. Parents choose a school that promises their child better academic results through greater access to state of the art technology (deriving vicarious thrills of foreign campuses). On their part, these glossy schools (some offering multiple curricula, including international syllabi), backed by corporations with deep pockets, assure parents of fulfilling their dream goals, garnished with some extracurricular activities and community engagement. “Overall development,” they declare, is the raison d’être of education. Having said so, how many actually believe and focus on character-building as the centrepiece for education? Sadly, many would think of this proposition as a trade-off for academic competence; a completely misunderstood and self-defeating point.

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Updated On : 26th Sep, 2017

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