Today there is a general complaint against what is called ‘student indiscipline’. Student indiscipline is largely a function in mathematical term. Unless teacher functions as a real Guru respected by the public and assured of a proper competence and a worthy status in the public eye the problem of indiscipline cannot be adequately dealt with.
“Respect is commanded and not demanded” is an old saying. Hence true leadership is the approach and the same is not to be found in the teacher. He does not command respect and affection which he used to during the past. During the past political stir, the student was dragged into the field, but there was nobody to lead him in the right direction. His teacher was neglected. It is a painful truth that the teacher was allowed to suffer a social and economic set back. Hence he could not but care more for his bread than to lead the students. The teacher has been crying for a reasonable payment and he has been promised in high philosophical vocabulary from high pupils. How can you expect from a frustrated teacher to discharge his job in a satisfactory manner?
The loss of personal contact between the teacher and the taught has also been one of the causes. Undue emphasis on examinations has turned the teacher into a mere agent for preparing the pupils for examinations. As such he has no say in educational set up. Private tuition is unavoidable for him. The economic deprivation keeps abler people away from the profession. Economic difficulties have been telling upon the performance of the student also. In the past, the student community used to come from the well to do class. They never had any economic hardship. There number was too small. But at present, numbers have shot up very high. Many students are required to earn their livelihood partially or wholly throughout their school and college career. They do not have balanced mind and hence there is indiscipline.
The student suffers from bitterness and resentment of these economic difficulties. The standard of living too is too low. He often find miserable conditions around him and lives in unhealthy and congested surroundings. Over emphasis has so far been laid on the examinations. The pupil is judged by the result of the final examination which is more often a test of memories than of understanding or judgment. It encourages a tendency for a adopting unfair means as a short-cut to succeed.
As the disease of indiscipline has become chronic, it will take considerable time for a complete cure. The proper physician is the Guru who can efficiently deal with the case. But he should be well equipped and free from all difficulties which have been coming in the way of his mission. The new teacher should be a very tactful guide of the student. He should be an affectionate elder and a sincere friend. The teacher should not be aggressive; it is always against the law of nature and results in revolt. It is quite sound opinion when some say that for improvement in education, there should be improvement in the teachers’ economic and social status. They say, increasing the professional competence of teachers will solve the problem. Others lay emphasis on idealism. This is very good. Let us foster it among the teaching community. It is a step to raise the social status of primary teachers by giving them Presidential Awards in Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi. As regards Headmasters (Principals) their status also be raised by empowering them with wide powers of appointment and promotions of teachers. Take the case of Japan where the Headmasters of Primary as-well-as Secondary Schools are practically given the same scale which is no way less than the salary of any Executive Officer.
The policy of religious neutrality which, after some vicissitudes, became incumbent upon our foreign rulers, touched only Government Colleges and Institutions and did not relate, in full force, to Missionary Centres of education, Hindu, Muslim or Christians. But various causes contributed to the growth of materialistic or agnostic trends of thoughts during the middle of 19th century. The Arya Samaj, the Brahmo Samaj, the Prathana Samaj, the Theosophical Society and the great contribution of Sri Ramakrishna Parmahansa and Swami VivekaNanda helped to waken the inherent spiritual urges of our people. But when the Constitution of India was framed, it was argued in certain quarters, that in secular State, religious instructions in schools and colleges should be ruled out. The constitution is mainly concerned with ensuring strict impartiality among the various religions existing in the country. For some reason or the other, ethical and religious instructions have been practically excluded from the curricula of most educational institutions and the result is that the students have been freed from the religious and social disciplines.
What is required is to change the mental outlook of the students, to re-orientate their attitude towards life, education, teachers, society and the country. The spread of materialistic ideology has resulted in the crumbling of old values. The youth of the country have been filled with cynicism and rebelliousness. Seriousness of purpose has been outsted by frivality. These invidious tendencies were kept in check by religion. But the modern man’s nonchalance towards it has robbed him of his idealism which alone can lead him along the right path. The revival of religion is the need of the hour. Religion will restore to the students their lost spirit of idealism and sense of purpose.
The importance of the role that teachers can play in the maintenance of discipline cannot be over-emphasized. But they will be able to play their part only if they regain their leadership and are held in the same high esteem as in the past.