Monday, February 1, 2010

Lost Idealism

Educational institutions are the last bastions where idealism works - atleast to some extent. But now, even that is getting eroded. Rather corroded. Here, there is a continuous struggle of man vs man, stakeholder vs stakeholder.

In the current scenario, workers are fighting for their rights to better lives on the issue of promotions which have not existed for they say decades. It is a justifiable reason to protest if it is indeed so, for man's need to move higher, in terms of monetary benefits, position....(according to Maslow's hierarchy). But in this quest, they loose sight of the surroundings, and that is where the cause becomes unjustified. Work to be done by them has come to a screeching halt for the past three weeks, causing problems in basic sanitation and maintenance. This causes inconvenience to everyone in the setup. Is the protest then justified ? Does the means justify the ends in this case ? Yes some may say, if they have resorted to this form of protest as the last option. Still, at what cost ?

But look at the case of another stakeholder. In case students go on strike and do not come for classes, they get penalised in the form of attendance. Some teachers I have seen go to the extent of disallowing them for further classes totally. I remember one colleague with whom reasoning was impossible, stopping students from returning to class for taking leave even if they were sick. She would expect them to get out of class and stand outside the room. If they left, then their condition would be worse. But the same did not apply to her. She didn't find that the same should apply to her when she went on leave and would arrange classes, only to come back and take more than 3 hours in a week. So, was this justified ? Ofcourse not, but then, she thought she had a right to do that.

Staff don't get penalized in terms of attendance, nor in terms of performance nor the monetary benefits they get. But students on the other hand, get penalized in terms of attendance, fines, and even a bad name in their teachers eyes. Why so ?

Isn't there a disparity between the way we treat stakeholders in an educational setup. Students pay the fees - so they are entitled to be taught, to avail of basic sanitation facilities. Staff(both teaching and non-teaching) offer services both technical and administrative and get remunerated for the same. So, the two sides are important stakeholders working towards the same objective and goal. Then why this disparity. Why this insensitivity to each other ? Why this thought of troubling others to get something for oneself, even though the cause may be reasonable.

Whither idealism.......

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